Is Vanquish a Video Card in Disguise?

I'm a big fan of motherboard and video card box art, and every time I see the artwork for Vanquish, all I can think is "Man, that would look even sweeter fading away in the window of a crappy computer parts store that really must just be a front for dog fighting or gambling or something." 
 

59 Comments

A very special thanks!

I just wanted to give a special shout out and thanks to my very generous friends over at Engine Sound for giving me access to a bunch of their music and cues. So if you're looking for some composers to score your next TV series or movie, or engineers to record your next album, you know where to go. I'll also use this time to pimp their band, Tammany Hall NYC. If anybody out there is interested in picking up some of their music you can check it out over at Amazon. Some of my personal favorites? To The Woman and Suddenly Not Alone.

Finally, here's a video I cut with them a looooooong time ago, but it still cracks me up. The lead singer, Steve, totally made all those puppets himself, which is both awesome and very strange...

  




20 Comments

Layton creeps me out...

I've been playing through Professor Layton recently and there's something about him that scares the crap out of me. I'm not quite sure what it is, so I've visualized what I imagine to be the events directly prior to the start of the game:



Anyone else get this vibe? Dark room, Layton has been drinking again...Luke sitting in the corner of his room, rocking back and forth hoping tonight the Professor won't make him solve another "puzzle"...
46 Comments

Vinny's Top Ten of 2008

This is one of the first years that I felt completely overwhelmed in terms of finding time to play the games I wanted. It might be due to the fact that I still had leftovers from 2007 or maybe was just that there were so many excellent, long games out this year. While I tried to get to the credits on everything, I still have a stack of 2008's finest that I need to complete. It's a pretty safe bet that every game on this list is something I could not put down until I had finished it. It's true that I believe even bad games have moments of brilliance and should not be totally dismissed, but that doesn't mean all games are equal. The items that made my list this year each did an amazing job keeping me entertained until the end.

10. Condemned 2: Bloodshot
I'm not really into ridiculously violent games and I don't enjoy being gross for the sake of being gross. That said, I become totally immersed in the gritty, jagged world of Condemned 2: Bloodshot. I think the most fun aspect was that the main character, Ethan Thomas, had become such an integrated part of this dark and terrible place. Playing through as somebody so filled with rage in a world that was all about rage felt right. I got the sense that in order to survive this place I had to play by its rules, and that meant Ethan wasn't about to sit and talk things out. The physical combat was about as visceral and painful-looking as I would care to see, but it also made every encounter that much more memorable.

9. Fable II
I really liked the original Fable, but there were very particular things that I thought could have been handled better. Luckily for me, Lionhead addressed almost every issue I had with the original in its sequel, Fable 2. The combat, choices, and story progression were all refined to give players the most enjoyment out of the rich world of Albion. I found the dark humor to be one of the most captivating things about the game, and was always amused by the small twists and tweaks that gave the storybook setting some real bite.

8. Bionic Commando Rearmed
This was probably my most anticipated game of the year and it absolutely delivered. Everything about the remake was so perfect that it seemed to please all of us Bionic Commando fans, and that is no small feat. The great remixed music, the visuals and the small but thoughtful additions all contribute to making this the new high-water mark for a classic revival.

7. Street Fighter II Turbo  HD Remix
The online competition in Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix had my blood pumping harder than any other game this year. It's been a long time since I found myself swearing at other players, with the headset muted of course, over matches that were just too close to call. I'm definitely not the greatest Street Fighter player out there, but getting back into HD Remix not only reminded me why I spent so many hours playing SFII, but also made we want to do it all over again. Now that's crazy.

6. Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
The thing I liked most about Nuts & Bolts was the ability to create vehicles that had to perform a very particular task. Many games allow you to create content, but not all of them give you such a creative and satisfying payoff for your troubles. The unlockable upgrades and ability to view the insane creations of other users kept me chasing Jiggies for more hours than I care to admit.

5. Braid
Braid was one of the most memorable game experiences for me in 2008. The game was set up in a way that really kept you using your brain, while actually giving you some fun gameplay. The unfolding narrative had you continuously trying to guess how things were fitting together in the story while also trying to wrap your head around devilish puzzles. Braid is one of those games that everybody should at least try, as there's really nothing else like it.

4. Gears of War 2
If you were to ask me what I wanted from a new Gears of War game it would simply be more Gears of War. Gears of War 2 took everything I liked about the original and added an actual, cohesive narrative to the experience. The story fleshes out the fiction in a way that makes me interested in how this whole conflict is going to resolve. The storytelling is also done in a way that wraps around the gameplay so that you're constantly completing small objectives that continue to move the story along. Gears 2 is a great example of a game that I could not put down until I had finished it...twice.

3. Metal Gear Solid 4
In terms of presentation, this game has to take the cake. The visuals are some of the best out there and the creative use of the camera makes for some of the most striking scenes to date. It's hard not to think back on the greatest gaming moments of 2008 without MGS4 coming up multiple times. While the standard gameplay has been tweaked enough to make it satisfying and enjoyable, the real fun is going through the more scripted and creative scenarios that are peppered throughout the lengthy title.

2. Grand Theft Auto IV
Life isn't always fair and sometimes we are forced into situations where there is no clear, right answer. Grand Theft Auto IV embraces this and makes for some of the most compelling narrative in any game out there. The world is alive, chaotic and is not going to cut you a break just because you're the main character. While you're playing as Niko you constantly feel like you're trying to move him from a bad situation to a slightly less bad one. The characters you meet along the way are all flawed in their own way, and present plenty of interesting and diverse interactions, that can be both entertaining and moving. The gameplay is the best in the Grand Theft Auto series and the environments have never seemed more alive. I found GTA IV to be one of those games that had so many excellent moments in it that I spent almost as much time talking about it as playing it.

1. Dead Space
I didn't know too much about Dead Space before I actually sat down and played it. Needless to say, I became instantly absorbed, mostly because the entire experience is so damn tight. There's nothing I would change about the game and it's a product that I would have been proud to work on. The satisfying combat, detailed atmosphere and the way the game never took you out of the action all contributed to this one being at the top of my list for 2008. In my humble opinion, this is as close to playing that "perfect" game in 2008 as I was going to come.

Oh, and Burst Limit. THHHHHHHHHTTTTTPPPHTT! Happy New Year!

26 Comments

Giant Wall of Answers!

Ok, so my wall has a bunch of questions and comments that have been neglected for far too long! I'm sure many of you forgot what you even wrote, but I didn't! Also, I get to make a sweet table. So, let's cut to the chase, shall we?

UserResponse
CoonceStoked that I'm here too!
MagnumThanks!
byrjun
Thanks, go Denmark!
HibiscusExplosion
Hi!
DougBuffone
Hey Doug, great to see you too. Hope all is going well!
TEAMHOLT
Them dragon balls are...yeah...see that movie trailer?
GoranP
Right back at ya!
Demilich
How come I never see you drift? Also, I'm usually holding the camera.
Metal_Gear_Sunny
word
EleFlameMax
Thanks buddy!
Angel_Gamer
Thanks, and it is!
Creciente
Thank you sir.
Cartman
Much thanks.
Win
Thanks.
Gamer4Iife
Thanks, and not really. I definitely enjoy the universe though.
coletrain
yeah, not a bad little game.
thomasvdh
Thanks.
Shwan
Ha, my seat is very comfortable and relaxing.
SuperJoe
;)
FoolInjection
Haha, yeah. Glad people are checking it out.
Dan
This could be true.
JosephBarron
Thanks a lot.
spoa
Thank you Mr. Spoa!
Linkyshinks
haha, thank you. nicely put.
IOUOneGalaxy127
Strong Island!
Dissolve
oh...I could send you some links...
MikeFightNight
Genetically different.
MKLOL
Thanks a bunch.
systech
haha, I think I was just slow on the adding...
PartTimeNinja
Thanks!
turambar35
Ha, thanks. You should see how much i DON'T know!
frankthelizard
Thanks, will do.
Cali_Style
Not much, just answering some wall posts.
MasterSplinter
Done!
Leewow
Thanks. Hope you enjoy it!
al
Thanks.
Mago
You're welcome! Thanks for the request.
Hoppondeez420
Thanks, I'll second that!
MrKadaver
Thanks sir!
TheToecutter
Neither do I!
Kohe321
Ha! Thanks, think I have to be in the guild though...
Sweep
Have done, keep up the good work!
GamespotNoMore
Me too!
Fat_Bot
Yeah, I might actually go buy Shogo from that today...
MacGyver
I really should and I definitely want to.
SuperMooseman
Thanks a bunch.
WizzyKid
Ha, thanks.
patrick
yes
Claude
Not THAT far away...
ElBlaze
Yeah, oddly. Actually I love Maes and always thought he could be my anime self.
MattBodega
Ha, that was a fun topic
prencher
haha, thanks
Kohe321
Months later, I still don't get it.
ObsideonDarman
Ha, there always will be until the end of time...or Japan.
Lava
It's true!
TopCat
It would be amazing press.
Mr_Pink
oh...as long as it is late in the battle. Remember me a hero!
Joseppie
Ha, I can't even remember what this is about...
DiGiTaL_SiN
Definitely true.
TheGamerFix
will do!
AttackedCamo
I personally love that movie, so yes.
patrick
Whoppers.
dollarshock
Hah, perfect!
Duffy
ha, the wall responds!
DiGiTaL_SiN
molto grazie!
Mgsfreak
haha, no thank you!
SaucySala
Awwh, thanks man!
natsfan7
Hi!
Bertmasta
I say add away and see what happens. The more info the better.
thefjk
Sure!
cuzintheboss
Ehhhh...not as big a fan.
DaMiTrOn
Ha, thanks. I know all too well about driving in Queens...sadly.
Barge221
Yes.
MattBodega
Hah, yes.
Kieran_Smith5
Not much, realizing this may take a long time.
Marco
Boom.
ethan
Haha, I agree and would comply if presented with the opportunity.
martinallan
Thanks Martin, I kind of know you now!
mordamir
Me too, thanks.
GagJ
Thanks, seems like ages ago.
BenBoos
Thanks, me too.
Shade
Thanks.
Levi
Freebie!
Blair
Many, many thanks.
AboveNBeyond3
Thank you.
Br3adfan
ha, thanks!
SM2099
Ha, maybe I'll hit the Fullmetal Alchemist pages someday...
I_smell
Haha, sadly no game credit!
BloodStaindWings
Thanks Dave and they are definitely evil...
LiK
Ha, yeah. He's just so friendly looking.
DeathStar
You're welcome, thanks for the request.
Vinchenzo
Ha, so you're the one with the "-ie"!
Joker
Not a lot, still answering replies from July...
Zeromus1337
Thanks.
MacGyver
Thank you.
SilhouetteX
Ha, wooooo! Thanks.
Peter
It's gotta still be 4:27 somewhere...
Cowman
Ha, thanks. Hope you're still in the present...
Kenshin
Noooo!
Kazona
Hah, thanks.
Sarazar
You da man!
Bureksasutlijom
We made it!
mac512k
Gotta do some more, for sure.
Argus
Objectivists!
EPGPX
It's true, I was.
DazbotAthertron
ha, sure!
Kournelle
Woot!
dudacles
it's up!
Android22
Someday I ask a favor of you...
Pop
They have their place.
Ryu
Over 9,000!
IOUOneGalaxy127
Hah, will do!
Crispy
I think it's crap!
imayellowfellow
Oh...did I win?
kingmasters
yeah, and he's amazing!
SoSerious
He's the man and so we look pretty.
MacGyver
Holla!
AlexIsStillAThreat
Ha, can't remember, but thanks.
capitanm1
Trends always come back...
Laughlin_12
Raynor
UrFaceIzDum
Hey man, hope all is going well!
Mattzz10
Thanks, me too!
thrashr20
Ha, my apartment is too small...
RockSteady
Thanks for having a ThunderCats icon.
MattBodega
Thanks, it's not a terrible one.
squallws
Thanks.
EpicSteve
Even still?!
Gump
Ha, no, just Italian.
Metal_Mills
Thanks.
Alaska_Gamer
Thanks, hope it worked out well.
zyn
Thanks.
MOLE
Nah, I like an underdog
Sanj
Ha, thanks. Also, CHU!
MattBodega
Oh, I did sir. I did.
hide
That game is out now! I might play it today.
SaucySala
Final Cut Pro.
Shimmy
Ha, I do it for the fans.
MKO619
Not sure.
Gump
I can do the Fandango.
MattBodega
Ha, I know, that was crazy.
clovy
Is that game out yet?
potzergaeren
ha, thank you. I'll prep my emotional, last witicism.
PabloDiablo
Oh, no no. Brad has a very strong opinion.
camwilson
"Don't like farm equipment? Don't eat!"
RomeoInc
I can get down with a good hoe.
Galiant
Ha, and I still haven't
SonicBomb
Hey SonicBomb!
HandsomeDead
Ha, thanks. It's concept art for Jim Raynor.
SamChamploo
Yup, finished the entire run. Great series.
Aarny
Now I have to kill you.
ThomasP
Ha, actually, now that you mention it...
Jeff
AHHHH! The logic!
skywing
HEY SKYWING!
mrfluke
Thanks, I was bummed it wasn't a touch better. I like that series a lot.
RHCPfan24
It was fun and that is a great coast.
Pierce
Yeah. I use Final Cut Pro and After Effects for the motion graphics stuff.
Alcamin
Thanks, drop in whenever!
DazbotAthertron
Hmm, I could eat more...
Thordain
Yes.
mrfluke
Ha, it's true. It's true.
Rourkey
Undertow is a great, great album.
Pleasureizmine
No, U!
Player1
Ha, thanks. That's very nice.
Jeffsekai
Hi Hi
kingmasters
Yup, done now though.
elektrixxx
Ha, that's all Dave.
AttackedCamo
Yup, I was totally there. That was a cool event.
Cribba
Frank Adams does the best Rambo. Period.
daniel_beck_90
Thanks.
Evolution
Not much, this is taking a long time though...
JeffsekaiThank you.
Gump
Oh boy...
mrfluke
Ha, I don't want to go out of business either, but thanks for the support.

Thanks again to everyone, sorry for the delay in the responses. I'll hit my inbox soon enough...

That took a long time to do. Let's go play some Dead Space, shall we?

--Vinny


36 Comments

Braid Conspiracy Theory...Spoilers?

I wouldn't read this if you haven't finished it...

I just finished Braid...and all that "story in reverse" stuff and thought, well, why Tim?

Then I thought, maybe it's backwards for MIT? There are tons of physicists there. So I did some googling for MIT guys that had worked on the Manhattan Project and found some interesting stuff.

This one person, Phillip Morrison, and some good "Braid style" things going...

Not only did he work on the bomb, but was had some pretty interesting feelings about it:

"His firsthand experience of the entire cycle of creation and apocalypse "stamped him for life," Dr. Kosta Tsipis, an M.I.T. physicist and arms control expert, said in an interview yesterday."
He also had a series on PBS called, oddly enough, "The Ring of Truth"

So there you go, maybe Braid is all about yearning and drive at the expense of reason. Maybe it uses the physicists who made the atomic bomb as examples of this, or maybe that atomic bomb stuff is totally unrelated. Who knows? I like to think the "princess" is nothing specific but just a metaphor for that idealized thing we all want but rarely exists outside of our own perception.

What say you Jonathan Blow?



29 Comments

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Demo

Ok, installing it now. I'm a little excited...is that weird? Well, here goes...I'll try and post some impressions of the aftermath concerning this amazing event.

**EDIT**

Well, I just played a bunch of matches and I definitely enjoyed it. I thought Naruto's basic attack using his clones was really weird at first, I just wanted to kick or punch a dude, not use his Jutsu. After I got a hang of the controls and the Jutsu combo/toggling, I started to get into it. I'm really surprised at how well the camera works and the speed of the whole thing is actually pretty amazing. I will say I did my fair share of button mashing (it literally says COMBO = MASH BUTTON). I don't think I was able to really feel like I was performing different combos by my own actions, it was kind of the same deal with Burst Limit.

Of course the Ultimate Attacks are the big visual eye candy here and they are pretty spectactular.

The awakenings are also pretty cool, though I didn't get to spend too much time in them before I decimated my opponent. Good stuff.

I'm interested to see what the free roaming content will be like and if there will be some actual narrative. So far though, if it's more than just a fighting game, I could get into it. It won't be long before somebody nails this whole cartoon/anime-can-equal-great-game thing...I hope.


48 Comments

E3 2008 Day 02 - Surprise Me

Below are some of my quick impressions, mostly about two of the most interesting things we got two see on day 02 of E3.

Fallout 3
Late in the day I got to really take a better look at Fallout 3, and I've gone from dismissive to eager. Seeing the game demoed at the Microsoft Press Conference, I definitely came away feeling that it had inherited all the things that made Oblivion feel a bit slipshod. Now that I've been able to see the earlier portions of the game, I think I realize the investment a player will have to make in regards to his character, and therefore, the rewards he'll feel in the later game. We were lucky enough to be able to start three simultaneous Fallout 3 sessions during our time at Bestheda. By the time we were done there, Jeff had devastated the local doctor and his clinic, Ryan was trying to disarm an old nuclear bomb and I think Brad was hunting rats. We were only there for a short time, but it was enough to see that this game has the potential to not only envelop the player in its atmosphere, but also give him  plenty of opportunities to feel like he's making his own way in the world. Also, I was extremely glad to see that the “nasty” dialogue options seem to have the kind of bite and humor that I loved from games like Planescape and the original KOTOR. It's only an initial impression and things could definitely sour, but as a Fallout fan, this is the first time I've been truly excited about Fallout 3.


Dead Space
We also got to monkey around in Dead Space. You know, it's that futuristic third-person with the projected HUD elements and much severing of alien limbs. After seeing how tightly the whole aesthetic and implementation of the universe are wound together, this game seems right up my alley. I love a really focused third-person shooter that just overflows with little details, and so far Dead Space seems to be just that. The character design is great, things animate well and the weapons seem like enough of a departure from your standard rifles and shotguns to keep things fresh. It's a wonderful surprise, and something I wasn't even looking for when we left for E3.

So there you have just two of the many great games we were able to actually play on day 02. I could go on about Dark Void and my time with SF4, but suffice it to say, I had huge grin on the entire time.








28 Comments