SG’s Arcade: Enter the Game Room

Take a Trip Back to Gaming’s Golden Age! 

Being a child of the 70s and 80s I had fond memories of arcades and the early video game console scene.  I think that is one of the main reasons I am very excited for the Xbox 360 launch of Game Room tomorrow. 

Growing up in a rural environment my visits to arcades and opportunities to play video or pinball games were few and far between.  Each time that I had an opportunity and a spare quarter (which when you are a kid can be sparingly at best) I could be found plugging it into some arcade cabinet and getting minutes or (and depending the game) seconds of satisfaction!  I cherished these moments, often going to extreme measures and great distances to even have a moment to cherish, but these early days of gaming formed my love of gaming that is stronger than ever over thirty years after the fact.  

So the games of my yesteryear will be front and foremost with Microsoft’s newest gaming platform, the Game Room.  I am excited to once again experience favourites from my past, or to try games that I always wanted to for the first time.  Some gamers and pundits have been sour on this initiative saying that it is too expensive for old games.  I say the present 240 point per game price tag is very acceptable for a game experience, considering the additional work and features that they have built around these games. 

Tomorrow after work you will find me hanging out in SUPERGHOST’s arcade.  While it may not be overly impressive day one, you can expect it to be the place to be as time goes on.  Make sure your joystick wrist is in good shape because the challenges for old school gaming supremacy starts tomorrow!  You can put your initials on that! | Game Room - Game Detail Page     
Source: SUPERGHOST's Haunted House of Xbox    
Twitter: @superghost              


Rolling Start: Forza 3 Drifting and Blur Beta

Rooooolllinng Staaaaaaart!!!! (Daytona USA for Life!, Look it up kids) 

Much like I have expanded my Zombie Action News blog into the Survival Horror genre with ‘Scare Tactics’, I am now pushing my video game racing blog posts beyond Forza and into other racers.   ‘Rolling Start’ is now my catch-all video game racing blog post that will appear when I have some racing game news or stories I would like to share.   In this, my first edition, I will recount my success on obtaining a certain drift achievement in Forza Motorsport 3, my impending Blur beta key, and a little introduction on one of my new favourite Zune Marketplace TV shows. 


Drift Lap
Earn over 100,000 points in a single lap.

Gamerscore = 5    Acquired 6/3/2010 

Achievement Unlocked – Drift Lap:  I had previously made several attempts to gain this achievement to no avail.  I did have a feeling though that my Ford Focus RS would be the car to take me there.  The only thing was that I did not think that this front-wheel drive car had the hp to make my drifts score high enough to get the total of 100,000 points that I needed. 

So yesterday I decided that another attempt needed to be made, this time though I auto-tuned my car into the ‘B’ Class to give it the power it would need to keep those tires spinning after the fact.  My first lap was somewhat of a failure, only garnering me 87,000 points, but it did allow me the practice I needed to get the feel for the new upgrades I applied to the car.  So next up was lap 2, and I was not going to be denied. 

Right from the get go I could feel that with each corner I was producing more points.  At the half-way point I was already at 50,000 with nothing but down hill in front of me.  The picture above was taken near the end of my run, but I almost got ahead of myself as I was able to produce just enough points to get the achievement.  I have only a handful of achievements yet to earn in Forza 3, all surrounding the season mode.  So I hope to earn the rest over the next few months. Stay tuned for that. 

A Bizarre Turn of Events:
   I thought I had sworn off Bizarre Creations.  I have been a staunch supporter of their brand since the days of Metropolis Street Racer on the Sega Dreamcast until the release PGR4 a couple of years back.  When BC was picked up by Activision, lost the PGR brand, and then was off to make a ‘Mario Kart’ style of racer, I figured they had jumped the shark so to speak, and I would move onto bigger and better things. 

Sometimes for me my interest can turn on a dime, and with the recent buzz about the Blur beta, I suddenly have found myself back on the BC train!  At present I am waiting for my code to enter into the beta (thanks to twitter-friend @thewesker).  I actually once again find myself excited for an arcade racer.  I know if anyone can pull this off it is the team at BC.  And with features like twitter integration, challenges, and massive multiplayer racing, it is no wonder Blur has my attention.  Stay tuned for some of my Blur impressions in an upcoming post. 

Top Show, Top Gear:
   My brother introduced me to this show and I now I am a die-hard fan!  If you like cars and like being entertained you will love Top Gear.  Heck, I wager that even if you did not like cars you would still love it (I made my wife watch…she loved it).  It is hard to explain why it is so good, I just recommend that you go to your Zune Marketplace and download an episode and see for yourself.  Even the culture barrier is shattered as both North Americans and Europeans will find common ground and common laughs during an episode. 

And that is all for now.  Be sure to check in on my Storefront in Forza Motorsport 3 (Gamertag SUPERGHOST of course).  While there please be sure to view and rate my photos as well as do a little shopping.  Check out my latest creation above for my 2010 FIAT Abarth 500 esseesse.  Get it while it is hot! On the web, check out my Profile Page at  Until next time, don’t let off the accelerator! 

Home Page | Forza Motorsport     
Source: SUPERGHOST's Haunted House of Xbox    
Twitter: @superghost              


Scare Tactics - Episode #2: Featuring Deadly Premonition

It Wasn’t Wrapped in Plastic 

Part of being scared certainly is the ‘surprise’ factor.  Episode Two of Scare Tactics is what I would consider a ‘surprise’ edition as that I did not know up until the last hour that I would be writing this post.  This edition looks at two budget conscious and curious additions of survival-horror games to my Xbox 360, Ignition Entertainment’s Deadly Premonition and Atari’s Alone in the Dark. 

Did Not See Deadly Premonition Coming:
I follow former ‘man –god’ and current Director of Business Development at Ignition Entertainment, Shane Bettenhausen, via his twitter feed as I do many other industry types.  I did see several mentions of Deadly Premonition, but sometimes I skim the feed so quickly I do not get all the detail I need.  So when I saw Shane tweeting about this game I automatically assumed that it was another Wii game as I was under the impression that it was all they were doing. 

Last night my brother joined my Xbox LIVE party late at night and started raving about this new game, Deadly Premonition.  Using key descriptors like Twin Peaks-like, open-world, survival-horror, and most importantly, $25 price tag, I was quickly sold on this game and knew I had to have it!  Now that I was sold on acquiring this game my next hurdle would be to actually find this game in stores.  Knowing how GameStop/EB operates, I knew this game would be short-ordered, with perhaps one or two copies to be made available per store.  But if I have been in the dark about this game, more than most would be as well.  So this morning my search ended as quickly as it began, I snagged the last copy of this niche title from my local EB Games. 

Now that I have it, I look forward to playing it.  I am going to go into it cold, not reading any previews or reviews to cloud my judgement.  All I have to go on is the brief description given by my brother and the back of the game’s box which I am looking at right now.  It certainly looks and sounds to be very interesting.  The one glaring negative that was expressed to me by my brother was that the game’s graphics lacks much to be desired.  But recent plays and purchases of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and Silent Hill Origins has already prepped me for less than perfect graphical fidelity.  So tonight I will journey to Greenvale to investigate the town’s deadly secrets.  Wish me luck! 

Third Time ‘In The Dark’ is the Charm?:
Another unusual pickup for me this week was the re-acquiring of Alone in the Dark for the Xbox 360.  I have had a long history with this game without actually ever playing it.  At first I had i pre-ordered and ready to go when I got scared off by poor reviews.  Now normally I don’t let reviewers dictate my gaming picks, but when money is tight and choices between games have to be made, Alone in the Dark was voted off my island. 

My next encounter with Alone in the Dark came when I purchased a discounted version of the game (complete with a AitD T-shirt) for $18.  I actually got as far as putting this disk into my console and dabbling for a few minutes, but that was as far as I would get.  It wasn’t meant to be as later traded the game off in a massive purge of my 360 collection. 

Finally, this week I was picking up some Microsoft points at my local EB when I saw AitD sitting on the shelf with a $4 price tag.  I will buy any Xbox 360 game for under $5, even if it is just for the possibility to acquire a nice game case.  So I once again have the game in my possession (as well as the game’s soundtrack which was included with the game), I am unsure when I will try to play it again, but since it was so cheap I am sure I will never trade it in, so it is with me for good.  I have always had an interest in the game.  Perhaps it would be a good warm-up for Remedy’s Alan Wake which is set to arrive this May. 

So in conclusion, it looks like al signs point to Alan Wake.  Like Deadly Premonition, Alan Wake has been compared to Twin Peaks.  As for Alone in the Dark, its episodic styling's and fire/light combat have oft drawn comparison to the upcoming Alan Wake.  Rest assured I will be focusing on Alan Wake as its release draws closer.  For now, just be sure to check under your bed and close the closet door before going to sleep!

Deadly Premonition 
Source: SUPERGHOST's Haunted House of Xbox    
Twitter: @superghost          


Xbox LIVE on Classic Xbox No More…

An End of an Era  

On April 15 of this year the Xbox LIVE service, which has been a part of the classic Xbox console since 2002, will no longer operate on it’s founding console as Microsoft pushes its online service forward to greener pastures.  I cannot help but feel somewhat saddened that I will be unable to revisit some of the great gaming experiences that the original Xbox had to offer.  Now personally I rarely went back to the original scene, but I did like knowing that if I wanted to, that I could. 

Now that in a few short weeks I will no longer be able to go there, I have been taking the time today to gather some of the downloadable content from some of my favourite games.  Now it has been going fairly smoothly except for a couple of bumps in the road.  One has been the constant console updates, the other was the false impression that all the DLC was free.  Because of that assumption I am now the not-so-proud re-owner of DLC packs for PGR2 and Links 2004 to the tune of $30 real-life dollars (groan). 

Fortunately not all the downloadable content is pay, in fact most of it is free.  So Over the last few hours I have been grabbing content while I still can.  If you still have some Xbox games kicking around but have not visited them in a while, in particular back-compatible games on your 360, now would be a good time to get what you can while you can.  Here is a list of what I have been grabbing or I recommend you take the time to grab: 

Halo 2: I do have the Multiplayer Map Pack disk so that has not been a DLC priority.  But if you do not have the disk, grab those classic maps. 

Splinter Cell (Series): Co-op and multiplayer maps from Chaos Theory and Pandora Tomorrow plus the missions from the first Splinter Cell are available now.  Why still download?  You can still set up a system-link co-op game for instance, plus the Splinter Cell DLC missions are actually pretty good. 

Ghost Recon / Rainbow Six (Series):  Lots of DLC maps and co-op gameplay.  I loved these old-gen Clancy-games. Classics! 

Amped 2:  Still the best Snowboarding video game ever created has a mountain available as DLC. 
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: If you are enjoying your Mass Effect 2 right now, you may want to check this precursor to the Mass Effect series in its entirety.    

Phantom Dust: Yes, Phantom Dust 

There is plenty more games out there that you can keep alive with split-screen and system link, but be careful of packs that still carry charges.  For me, the above are the essentials.  What games do you want to preserve DLC from the last gen?  I would like to here your input.  As the sun sets on Xbox LIVE for the vintage Xbox, lets not let it go quietly into the night.


Source: SUPERGHOST's Haunted House of Xbox    
Twitter: @superghost        


Scare Tactics - Episode #1: Featuring Silent Hill Origins

For Games That Go ‘Bump’ in the Night!  

Previously in my blog I would post on Zombie games with ‘ Zombie Action News’.  Since I have a strong interest in Horror-themed games I thought I would expand my scope beyond the Zombie menace and branch out into ‘Survival Horror’ games as well as others that will fit the into this genre. 

For as long as I can remember I have always been a fan of ‘scary’ games.  in the 90s we saw the rise of the ‘Survival Horror’ genre with the arrival of Resident Evil franchise.  Soon after we saw the sophistication of the genre with the more cerebral Silent Hill games.  Now many games and series of games have come, gone, or hung around in this space, but certainly Resident Evil and Silent Hill are the biggest names on this block.  For my first edition of ‘Scare Tactics’ I will some of my recent goings-on with each of these two franchises.  Stick around for some old news and personal perspectives on the survival of horror games if you dare:  


Origin of the Species:
I recently posted about my adventures in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, the most recent of Silent Hill titles.  I have had a strong desire, if I ever can find the time, to play through the entire catalogue of Silent Hill games.  Over the past several months I have been acquiring all the games, some of which I already had, some on eBay, others waiting for the price to be right.  Regarding Silent Hill Origins, I thought I would need to buy a PSP in order to play it, something this weekend I was strongly considering.  I liked the idea of having a portion of the series playable on the go (Silent Hill, Shattered memories, and Origins). 

On vacation this past weekend I was in a used game store in Calgary when I noticed Silent Hill Origins on the shelf for the PS2.  I have been so out of the loop regarding Playstation releases that I did not even realize the game arrived on the PS2 as well.  I picked it up and now I believe I have all of the core releases in the franchise.  The only thing with ‘Origins’ is that I know nothing about it.  I had heard in passing that the game is not particularly good.  I will be the first to admit that most Silent Hill games suffer from control issues.  Nevertheless, I am excited for this addition to my collection. 




Back to the Mansion: 
The 2009 Tokyo Game Show gave word that new downloadable scenarios would be made available For Resident Evil 5 in early 2010. "Lost in Nightmares" is essentially the prologue to RE5 as you play the alluded to adventure of Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine infiltrating the Spencer Estate in 2006 which clearly resembles the mansion from RE1.  The next episode, "Desperate Escape",  allows you to play as Josh Stone and Jill Valentine post Jill’s liberation as they race to assist Chris and Sheva in their quest.  We will also get to see for the first time in next-gen, Rebecca Chambers and Barry Burton, as they make their respective return to the series in the Mercenaries reunion.  

Personally I am looking forward to the “Lost in Nightmares” Chapter as I was very intrigued by that flashback in RE5.  Also, word on the street is that it plays like a next-gen version of the original mansion.  My favourite parts of the Resident Evil franchise take place in the original mansion and the streets of Racoon City in RE2 and RE3.  Like Silent Hill, I too would love to run the table of Resident Evil games, again time is the factor that most stands in my way. 

The completes my first edition of Scare Tactics.  In the next instalment I plan on getting up to speed with Dead Rising 2, BioShock 2, and Alan Wake. Until then make sure to check under your bed and close the closet door before going to sleep!


Source: SUPERGHOST's Haunted House of Xbox    
Twitter: @superghost    


Massively Effective: Mass Effect 2 and the Cerberus Network

2010, The year we play a great game! 


Missing in Action: Save your crew from an overwhelming attack

Gamerscore = 5   Acquired 26/1/2010 

One of the question I have about Mass Effect 2 is how they are going to keep it the game journalist minds 10 months down the road when ‘Game of the Year’ voting rears its ugly head.  I am only a dozen hours into the game, but you only really need to see the first hour of the game to acknowledge that Mass Effect 2 is not only heads and shoulders above its predecessor, but that it is one of the finest games of this generation.  By blending genres BioWare has created the unthinkable, a hardcore RPG that anyone can play.  

I could write thousands of words comparing the two Mass Effect games, the improvements and changes that were made, the graphics, the sound, everything that makes this package special.  What I think perhaps the most important change/addition to the new title is the inclusion of the in game news feed/DLC delivery system, the Cerberus Network.  

The Cerberus Network is very important in several ways.  Firstly it almost ensures that BioWare/EA will see money when a used copy of the game is purchased.  In order to enable the Cerberus Network you need to input a one-time use code that is included in every new copy of the game.  If you buy used you eill have to shell out 1,200 MS points to have access to this portal.  I am sure some gamers will find this upsetting, but developers are always looking for new ways to have gamers buy new copies of the game.  


Secondly, the Cerberus Network is the realization of a promise BioWare made prior to the release of Mass Effect 1.  Some years back we were told that new and interesting chapters of downloadable content will be made available for Mass Effect, bridging the gap between the sequels and keeping gamers engaged with the property.  We are all too aware of how that worked out.  In the years between games, BioWare was only able to squeeze out two content packs, one of which was more of a game mode that a add-on.  I have heard several reasons from project director Casey Hudson why that was the case, but that is the past, what is done is done.  The Cerberus Network has already added two DLC packs and promises much more in the future including vehicle missions.  The regularly updated news feed from around the Galaxy contributes to the games’ flavour.  These things will keep me checking back with the game over the following months.  

Mass Effect 2 is designed to keep us coming back for more.  With so many choices to be made and ways to play the game, plus the ability to port over the decisions from the first Mass Effect and take all that data beyond into Mass Effect 3, BioWare is creating an RPG dynasty the likes of which we have never seen.  It even has me wanting to once again go back into ME1 so that I can play both games all over again, and I am not even close to being done my first ME2 playthrough!  So when 2010 draws to a close I believe BioWare has set a stage so that we all will not forget ME2 when comes to choosing the Game of the Year.  In fact, we will probably be playing an all-new mission from the Cerberus Network.

BioWare | Mass Effect 2

Source: SUPERGHOST's Haunted House of Xbox    
Twitter: @superghost


Silent Hill - Shattered Memories: You Are Always on My Mind…

Not Your Father’s Silent Hill 

I had originally planed a grand write up for Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, but when I try to go on I find I have to much to say, the completion of the game still to fresh in my mind.  So I am going to try and keep this simple on point.  I put my playing of Silent Hill: Homecoming on hold for a bit in favour of the fresh experience that Shattered Memories had promised.  I wasn’t expecting just how much a departure it would be from the Silent Hill games we have come to know and love , but it is a departure in all the right ways.

Developer Climax streamlined the Silent Hill experience by replacing the tedious combat, item collection, and open-door hunt with a chase/escape mechanic, a cell phone/camera collection system, and a very straight forward world exploration which relies heavily on the story to propel you forward.  While some of these changes may seem counter to the core Silent Hill experience of the past, they are refreshing, allowing players to enjoy the Silent Hill universe in an entirely different way.  I personally liked the lack of combat.  Being a coward in real life, my first inclination would be to run for my life, just like you have to in this game.

Two of the other big changes, the therapist sessions and the world shifting to ice rather than rust add significantly to the experience.  At first I didn’t think I would like the shift to the ice world, but in the context of the game it works very well.  Playing this game in the dead of winter just adds to my appreciation for it.  Your in-game session with the therapist creates a very unique twist to the game you play.  If you play through this part of the game honestly as ‘yourself’, you will be surprised how it impacts the game as well as the ending.  I was quite surprised with how personal the game’s ending was for me.

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, as I have said before, is one of those rare games that just will not let you put it down.  You just want to see what is around the next corner.  This game also represents game music legend, Akira Yamaoka’s last work on the game series as he has since left Konami.  I don’t think Silent Hill games will be the same without him.  He has been there from the beginning and his signature haunting melodies have put the series on the map.

Replayablity for me with this game may be an issue.  Now this game has all the different endings which Silent Hill games have traditionally had, but if you play this game true to yourself, it has that one-shot special feeling that I don’t think you could recapture on further playthroughs.  On the other hand I really want to play through it one more time because I now that I have seen the end I would like to see the game through with knowing eyes.

In conclusion I would like to leave you with this thought.  Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is the most ‘real’ game in the series, more of a psychological thriller than a survival horror game. I will leave you with that. Enjoy your trip to Silent Hill!

Silent Hill | Shattered Memories

Source: SUPERGHOST's Haunted House of Xbox 
Twitter: @superghost


Xbox LIVE’s 1 vs 100: Mobbed!

Speed Kills! 

Yesterday evening ‘Twitter’ reminded me that it was a Live show in 1 vs 100 last night on Xbox LIVE.  As I had nothing going on at that time I decided to dive into a game for fun.  Well little did I know that my rapid-fire question answering finally earned me a spot in The Mob!  Finally, after the Beta and several months of Season 2 I finally made it to ‘The Show’!

Well that glory was short lived as on the second question, my lightning-fast reflexes and perhaps a bit of nerves had me answering the question incorrectly, even though I knew the correct answer.  I continued to play, answering all the questions correctly and finally eliminating ‘The One’.  The Mob won, but unfortunately due to my itchy trigger finger I walked away empty-handed.

It was exciting couple of minutes though, I had often wondered if I would be able to make my way into The Mob.  The funny/sad part was my 6 year old son got so upset when I lost out that he began to cry.   Oh well, there is always next season!  At the end of day I did score 200 Gamerscore out of 1 vs 100 this season, not a bad haul for a free game. | 1 vs 100 for Xbox LIVE    

Source: SUPERGHOST's Haunted House of Xbox 
Twitter: @superghost


Mission Accomplished: Borderlands – The Zombie Isle of Dr. Ned

If there is one thing I hate…its a ZOMBIE! 

Ned's Undead, Baby
Killed Ned. Again.

Gamerscore = 49    Acquired 17/1/2010

My DLC completion parade continues this weekend.  First I completed Fallout 3’s Broken Steel, now I have completed Borderland’s The Zombie Isle of Dr. Ned.

One of the least appreciated components of Borderlands, in my opinion, is the amount of humour in the game.  Though the Zombie Isle is the ‘darkest’ of the area on Pandora, it is countered with a light heartedness with it characters and its writing,  Some of the ECHO recordings and dialogue are just classic!  You will never listen to sound of popcorn popping the same way again.  Personally I also really enjoyed the Scooby-Doo references towards the end as well as the start and ending narrations.

At the end of this play through I am sitting in I believe a Level 42-43, so I still have my share of work to get to ‘Ding’ level 50.  Next up, Madd Moxie’s Underground Riot and who knows what else Gearbox has planned for DLC down the road.  All I know is that you can count me in!

Source: SUPERGHOST's Haunted House of Xbox  
Twitter: @superghost


Mission Accomplished: Fallout 3 – Broken Steel

I Dared, and I Won!

Who Dares Wins
Completed "Who Dares Wins"

Gamerscore = 30    Acquired 16/1/2010

In my last post I discussed my commitment to complete the Broken Steel storyline this weekend.  Last night I put the hammer down, even with a detour under the Capitol Building dome, I completed my quest.  In the end I made my way to Adams Air Force Base to drive a stake into the Enclave threat for good!

All good things do not have to come to an end, as I said before, I still have some achievements and quests that require my attention, I will save those as a prelude to my quests in New Vegas.  For now I will have more Western RPG magic in the form of Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age Origins.

I know my posts are going to sound like a broken record but I will miss my time with Fallout, but if I just stayed with it I would never get to any other game.  As grim and desolate the post-apocalyptic world of Fallout is, I am still drawn to it like a moth to a flame.  Great work Bethesda!

Fallout: Welcome to the Official Site 
Source: SUPERGHOST's Haunted House of Xbox 
Twitter: @superghost