The Giant Bomb Community Is Awesome And You Should Join It

If you're not a member of this community, you should change that right now. You're going to connect with some awesome people and have real discussions, not flame-wars and trolling. These people are serious about having fun and making Giant Bomb a friendly place. There are no stupid questions here. From the forums, to blogs, to the community spotlight, live events and more, everyone pitches in to make Giant Bomb the gaming heaven it is. As as you browse Giant Bomb, it'll be clear you should be here. Here are a few of may favorite features you should definitely check out:

Forums

I encourage you to sign up and dive right in. Engage, voice your opinion, and make some new friends. Everyone is friendly, willing to help out, and as long as you're not rude, you'll find the best forum experience around. One thing though: Don't forget to search before you make a new post. ;)

Community Spotlight

Wanna know what's going on currently? This topic is usually pinned to the top of the General Discussion forum and gives you the low down on what's going on in the community. Podcasts, gaming nights, game friends lists, best of the blogs, etc. This will help you get a good handle on come great content and activities put out by the site and community.

Quick Looks

What's better than a game review? A "quick look" of raw, uncut game-play! Quick (being a relative term) looks last anywhere between twenty minutes to more than an hour long. You'll get a good look at the game in question, so much so you'll probably never read a traditional review again! Not to mention the fact that they are absolutely hilarious at time. For evidence of this, check out TurboMan's Youtube channel, xpantherx. He puts out compilations of the funniest moments from Giant Bomb quick looks. Seriously, they're freaking hilarious.

Editable Wiki

Giant Bomb is your site. You can edit/add almost anything to Giant Bomb (so long as it isn't stolen/plagiarized and is accurate) and contribute to the wealth of gaming information available here. See a misspelling, missing developer information, or want to add a description about a game feature? You can add that.

Quests

Play a game while you read about games. These quests can be found at the list at the top of your profile (example). Some are time-specific so you may not be able to get all of them, but a lot of the quests introduce you to the features of the site and force you to engage the community. You can even see what quests other people have completed as well. This is one of the coolest features I've ever seen a site implement.

Giant Bombcast

If you don't listen to podcasts, this will get you started. Between two and three hours long, some of the best jokes come out of these recorded discussions. Download the newest episode to your player of choice or stream it online. You won't regret your time spent with the crew.

These are just a few reasons why I love this site. There's even a premium subscription you can subscribe to that offers tons of great subscriber-only features and supports the site directly.

Already a Giant Bomb Member?

Pat yourself on the back. You're awesome.

TODO: Add section on TNT and Endurance Runs

35 Comments

Does Game Advertising Affect You More Than You Think?

Since I can remember, I've been a gamer. Starting with the NES and have played my way through the current crop of consoles. I never really struggled with a gaming "addiction" or anything like that. I knew when it was time for work and time for playing. I would get a few games a year. Usually birthdays and Christmas, sometimes from straight A's and such. I would play the snot out of those games and loved every second of it. I'd pick up some Nintendo Power mags around Christmas time for making my wishlist (they had gift buying guides almost every year) and started to use the internet once it became a more common thing.

Then, I got older and got a job.

I was about 19 or 20 and the PS2 was still in it's heyday, roughly 2003-2004. I really started to follow gaming websites and even reading reviews for games I wasn't even interested in. Since I had all this extra disposable income, I started buying games on my own; and buying, and buying, and buying. The problem was that I was buying so many games and I wasn't even playing them very much. Of course, I had less time to myself now that I had a job but I was buying so many more games than I truly had time to play.

The advertising from game trailers and even from reviews to an extent would sell me on games so much that I had to have that game. I'd build up this expectation of the game in my mind and I knew for sure it would fulfill this expectation I had. They never did and long before I'd beat it, the next "hot thing" would be getting all the preview coverage and advertisements. It was just a big cycle and I kept falling for it which kept me from enjoying most anything I would purchase.

In 2006, I purchased a 360 after seeing a friend play Oblivion on it and the hooks were in even deeper. Luckily for me, there weren't very many games on the 360 that interested me so I happily played Oblivion for over 100+ hours. During that time, I had stopped reading gaming website reviews, previews and the like. It almost felt like when I was kid, just coming home and playing the one game that I really wanted to play with my brain not bugging me in the background, trying to convince me there was a better game out there right now and you have to have it.

After I finished Oblivion, the cycle started over again. By this time, the 360 had become the NXE with more ads thrown in my face now. I started really reading gaming websites again and got hooked into buying all over again.

The 360 got redone again and ads are now even more prevalent than they were before. I didn't think anything of it. I didn't think it affected me in the least bit. At this point, I had stemmed my buying impulse and got on a budget which helped curb my appetite immensely. I still craved that "new experience" though, all the time. Whenever I was away from my Xbox, I would be dreaming of playing the games I owned. Every time I turned it on though, I was dreaming of all the games I didn't have.

There's something wrong with that.

I wanted to know why I felt this way so much. I couldn't ever figure it out until this past Christmas. For my wife and I's anniversary, she bought me Skyrim. I knew I only wanted to play Skyrim, so when I turned on my Xbox, I set it to play the disc in the tray instead of going to the Dashboard. I was the happiest gamer on the planet that entire month. I was completely satisfied just having fun with Skyrim. So much so, I took up other hobbies and didn't feel like the world was going to end if I didn't buy a new game or keep up with what was going on in the gaming industry.

For Christmas I bought my wife a PS3 and some of the Ratchet and Clank games; her favorite series. Of course, I was allowed to play as well and bought myself some PS3 games with Christmas money I'd received. Playing the PS3, I had the same experience as I had on the 360 when I told it to play the game in the tray. The PS3 interface doesn't show any ads unless you go to the tabs that naturally would show ads for games. It was clean, neat, and virtually ad free. I loved it!

It finally dawned on me. All those advertisements and reviews were what was causing me to be unhappy with what I was buying. Hindsight is 20/20 and I saw so many circumstances where I should have figured it out, but at least I understand how my mind reacts to this stuff.

I started reading less gaming websites, kept my Xbox to play the disc in the tray, and only browsing for information about games when I had money to spend. In February, I bought Arkham City for 360 and had so much fun just playing it and it alone until I was done. Then it was back to Skyrim. I found the same held true for PC gaming as well. I'm now an avid Steam user and I set my startup window to be the Library page; one of the best decisions I've ever made as a gamer.

For me, advertisements cause a problem. I love that Sony and Valve give me the option to see ads, mainly when I visit their storefront. I don't visit their storefront unless I've got money to spend. I don't hate Microsoft, but I don't want to see your dashboard anymore. I just want to play awesome games that I spent good money on.

I encourage everybody with 360's to set their system to startup the disc in the tray instead of the dashboard for awhile. See if advertising affects you more than you think.

7 Comments

All This Kinect Talk Got Me Thinking About Hardcore Gaming

What if we completely ditch the idea of only using the Kinect controller or the Xbox 360 controller?  What is wrong with using both?  Certain games are only going to work well with a physical controller and certain games will do very well using a motion camera controller.  I believe using both controllers in a game is possible and could actually make a really fun diversion or immerse into the game even better.  I thought of a couple of examples, which may or may not have been brought up before.
 

Using Kinect for Diversions or Minor Functions

 Thinking in terms of a real world example: playing Fable.  I haven't played much Fable, so I'm not sure if you can do this or not, but let's pretend you can mix potions and items in Fable.  Since not every one would have Kinect, you would still go to the menu and select two objects and press A to combine.  Same way we've always done.  What if an option was allowed to put down the controller and have items displayed on the ground in front of you.  Then you would use your hands to move the onscreen hands to grab the different ingredients, place them in a bowl or bottle and grind or shake the ingredients to mix them up and actually create your new potions and combined items?  I would personally have a bit of fun with that.
 

Using Kinect in Tandem with Game Actions

 Pretending Metal Gear Solid 4 was on the 360 (as I know many of us wish this was true), you back up against a wall so you can look around the corner.  What if instead of pressing the "lean" button, you just leaned you're body/head to the left to make Snake take a quick peek?  This kind of plays to the old habit many of us had as kids where we'd try to dodge and jump higher by leaning left, right and ducking while playing the game.  Take that idea and apply it in ways that make sense like Metal Gear Solid.  Another example could be summons in an RPG.  An elaborate arm motion makes a summon happen. 
 
These are two quick, simple examples but it got me thinking that Kinect can actually work with hardcore gaming if we ditch the idea of solely using one controller or the other.  For all I know, it may not work in the real world but it gives me hope that Kinect can be more than Kinectimals.
1 Comments

Dead Rising 2's New Save System Will Probably Still Tick Me Off

   Kotaku link about Dead Rising 2's save system.
 
  I am severely disappointed.  The only changes made are that you can now have multiple save files and there are now more places to save your game.   Still no auto save, or temporary save.
 
The news of how the save system works in DR2 makes it and instant "try before buy" instead of a "Day 1" purchase for me.  When I played Dead Rising, I didn't get pissed off because I'd die and lose an hour's progress, that was fine.  I could cope with that.  It was "I need to go to bed, I have to work in the morning" type of progress loss that pissed me off.  If I wasn't in an area with an accessible bathroom to save, I had to walk the long way across the mall just to get to one of the save points.   It made me feel like I was wasting my time.  So I could only play Dead Rising when I had at least 2 - 3 hours to spare, which is hard to come by for a working adult with a family to take care of.   
 
The least they could have done was implement a "temporary save" type functionality that allows people to quit out of the game when they need to without losing progress; The temp save would disappear when it was reloaded so you can't use it as a "quick save".   
 
I know for a lot of you, this is a non-issue and think nothing of having to replay parts of the game is no big deal.  I agree with you except that it's not the game that beat me, it's the save system that beat me.  The challenge should come from the zombie horde not the system used to save a game.
 
I would love to play Dead Rising 2 but until I know exactly how easy it will be to save and quit if I have to, without losing all the game time I put in, I am staying the hell away.

9 Comments

New Xbox 360 Slim GET!

Getting The 360 Slim

I got lucky (not really, had a $100 reserve put on it) and got the last 360 Slim (according to Gamestop) in a 25 mile radius from my house!  I was very excited by the announcement of the new console and the fact that it would have built in wifi and a much larger hard drive.  I know for a lot of newer 360 owners, the benefits of the new 360 doesn't make up for spending another $300 dollars on a new console which makes perfect sense.  For me, however, I still have a launch 360 (which surprisingly never died) that is out of warranty and is probably on it's last legs.  I had saved up $97 dollars for repairs just in case.  I was pretty much just waiting for this thing to die.  I learned last Thursday that Gamestop is offering a trade in deal on old 360's when buying new Slim 360's.  This deal is actually quite generous and allowed me to walk away with a new 360 Slim without paying a single dime more than I'd already saved.   
 

Trade In Details

Here's what I traded in and what I was paid for.
  • Xbox 360 system with one wired/wireless controller - $100
  • Wireless controller - $25
  • 120 GB harddrive - $40
  • 64mg Memory Card - $10
  • Wired headset (the one that came with my 360 originally) - $5
  • Data Transfer Cable (got this when I bought my 120gb hard drive) - $7.50
  • Super Mario Galaxy (currently has a trade in promotion) - $25
 
That brings me to a total of $212.50.  Now this is where it gets interesting.  I was figuring that tax on $300 would still put me over by quite a big margin and I'd have to shell out more cash I didn't really have.  Well since I traded in items to get that $212.50, that is all NON TAXABLE.  I was only taxed on $87.49, which is what the cash transaction was after all my trade in was counted in.  This made for $8.18 in tax (9.350% MO state tax) which brings the total to $95.67.  I had placed $97 dollars on my reserve so I was returned $1.33 in cash.
 
I didn't really want to get rid of my extra controller and Super Mario Galaxy but both of them haven't been touched in over a year.  Now that Galaxy 2 is out, I probably won't go back to Galaxy 1 anyway.  I feel the deal worked out well in my favor.
 

First Impression

Gamestop let me transfer my 120GB hdd content before leaving the store (which is a good thing since I was leaving the hard drive and the transfer cable I had anyway).  That thing draws fingerprints like an art student draws henna tattoos all over themselves but dang is that thing shiny.  I tried to take a picture of the side casing on my phone and you couldn't tell what was the 360 and what was a reflection.  I could have probably put my contacts in like it was a mirror. 
 
It's also ridiculously quiet.  I put my ear to the system and I could still only barely hear it.  The only reason I knew it was on was the power button and the heat coming out of the vents.  The heat coming out is much hotter than I expected it to be, but the system itself was still pretty cool to the touch.  The Slim is light but not as light as I would have hoped.  However, I feel like I can hold it with one hand without fear of dropping it.  The hard drive being inside the machine (inside the base of the system) shaves a lot of room and weight off.  It also gives the system a much cleaner profile.  Keeping it shiny looks relatively easy as well.  A quick swipe with a microfiber cloth for fingerprints and one of those Swiffer duster's should do the trick.
 
The capacitive touch buttons are very nice.  Since I always felt like the power and eject buttons on the original 360 were kind of loose fitting and cheap, the capacitive touch buttons are a nice upgrade.  The system feels sturdier and doesn't feel as though it could break at any time.
 
I was able to spend roughly an hour with the system (on lunch break), so I hope to have some more info for you guys in a couple of days.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
4 Comments

READY TO FRIDAY: On A Couch Edition

FRIDAY


Get ready to FRIDAY.  Topher Cantler is ready.

Friday is the best day of the week because Friday is interchangeable.  Do not contain Friday to a series of six letters!  If your Friday has moved from it's usual address, you must seek it's guidance! 

Start your FRIDAY the right way


On a couch!  This parody of I'm on a Boat by Andy Samberg has been my flavor of the week.
  


Hilarious.

FRIDAY.
1 Comments

Picked up Punch-Out!! Today!

I'm really excited to play it later tonight!  The last time I played a Punch-Out game was about 8 years ago.  Too bad it doesn't have any leaderboard of sorts...  :( 

8 Comments

Setup My 360 For TV AND Monitor!

Awhile ago, I had setup my 360 to share my computer monitor with my PC with a kvm switch and 360 vga cables but because of the way I had my furniture arranged, I felt cut off from my entire "pad" and relegated the 360 back to the TV (32" standard def).  I moved shortly after that and again my PC was a little too cut off from my TV (small room so I like to put all electronic entertainment in one spot) so I kept the 360 o the TV.

I recently rearranged my room which brought my PC much closer to my TV and the idea to use my Monitor for my 360 dawned on me again.  However my fianée is also pretty tech savvy, so I can't hog the computer all the time and on the same token, we're both movie nuts (with a netflix subscription) so the 360 has to also be able to change pretty easily to the TV.  Trying to watch movies on my computer monitor is kinda blah seeing as It's 19" versus a 32" TV.

The idea I came up with was so simple, I'm surprised it hadn't dawned on me before.  Set it up like before but keep both 360 Audio/Video cables setup and just switch the connector on the 360 itself to determine which device to output to!  It's great simply because my fianée and I don't feel like we're keeping the other person from doing what they really want to do just because someone is using the TV or PC.

*UPDATE*

Got some images for ya'll:
L to R:  Full setup, TV and console setup, Computer desk, PC, KVM switch.



6 Comments

Games I plan to better my grade.

Now that this achievement system is here, these are the games I plan on going back to (and finally getting around to playing)

GameCurrent Grade
 Viking: The Battle for Asgard
 N/A
 The Club
 N/A
 Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
 N/A
Quake IV
D
Kameo: Elements of Power
D
Joust
D
Forza Motorsport 2
D
Gun
D
Burnout Paradise
D
Tenchu: Shadow Assault
D
Every Extend Extra Extreme
D
Castle Crashers
D
Banjo & Kazooie Nuts & Bolts
D
Lost Planet
D
Gauntlet
C
TMNT 1989
C
Aegis Wing
C
Geometry Wars 2
C
Gears of War 2
C
Skate
C
Wik & The Fable of Souls
B
Crackdown
B
Pinball FX
B
Braid
A

I got a lot of games (new and old) i just kinda left on the shelf... for shame for shame... I blame my ps2 and it's addictive rpgs and way of the samurai games ^_^

What games are you going to try and get your grade up in?
11 Comments
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