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It's been a long time since I've written anything worth calling a blog post. What cheaper way to ease back into it than to make some E3 2013 predictions? It's so easy even I could do it!

This is going to be one of the biggest E3's of all time. Two major consoles will launch this year and the stakes are higher than ever. Sony and Microsoft will be blowing out their budgets to squeeze in anything they can to declare as an exclusive.

Nintendo should not be dismissed. The Wii U will seem very competitively priced compared to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox One at launch. Developers have had the most time with the Wii U and by November the console will have many games available to regain sales strength.

While this will be one of the most important E3's ever, it will also be the last of its kind. While Denis Dyack's predicted "one console future" doesn't seem to be coming true, he's right in the fact that future consoles are more similar to each other than ever. How a console looks is not too important now, but it will be one of the only distinguishable differences in future platforms.

Speaking of the future, let's predict it.


Halo 5 will be given a 2014 game exclusively for the Xbox One. Purchasing Crackdown 3 will give players access to the multiplayer beta, which will run during April 2014.

More Halo! Microsoft will shuffle off a Halo 2 remake to another developer. It will be a launch title for the Xbox One.

Mass Effect

A new Mass Effect trilogy will be announced for all new consoles and PC. EA will announce some sort of anime film or series as a prequel to the new trilogy because that's the trendy thing to do.

Smash Bros.

Nintendo will show Rayman as new character for Super Smash Bros. 4. The 3DS version of the game will support the Circle Pad Pro and have an exclusive story mode and character: Mega Man. Mega Man can be exported to the Wii U version.

Wii U

Nintendo are recalling all Wii U basic consoles to preload the latest firmware and include an incentive to make purchases on the eShop. Pikmin 3 will be dated for September, Mario Kart for October and Super Mario in November. A few weeks before new consoles release, Nintendo will drop the price of all Wii U SKUs.

Plants vs. Zombies 2

Though the game will eventually come to everything, Nintendo will show a trailer for an upcoming 3DS version.

The Last Guardian

No, of course this won't be a launch title for the PS4! Even if Sony announced it I still wouldn't believe it would make that date. Instead, The Last Guardian is coming to the PS4 with the broad announced date of 2014.

PlayStation 4

Sony will announce the North American release date for the PS4. The PS4 will release on October 29 to coincide with the Battlefield 4 launch, giving them some timed exclusivity. Speaking of which, the first map pack for Battlefield 4 will release one week earlier on PS4 and PS3.

There we go. I think I've made much more sane predictions in the weeks leading up to now but these are all fresh ideas. Now to see how wrong I was.



Level 3 Podcast: Brought To You By Level 5!

The podcast is getting older, slower and it's voice gives out several times for the first half, but the Level 3 podcast is still standing tall, ready to be delivered straight to your dome.

Featuring your host Darth_Homer from inside a library, and myself on location at The elektrixxx Estate we overcome the odds and wind up with another podcast you can almost be proud of!

We try our best to converse about what we've been playing, a Capcom film, a Stranglehold film, Sing Hero, Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion, a Professor Layton trilogy, THE CHAMP: John Cena and more!

Download one unit and inject into each ear as soon as possible:

No Caption Provided

This fine game passed the time in between breaks

The Odd Couple is back, complete with the theme song!


Drum Villain II

The first of two important packages I'm expecting had arrived in the mail.

No Caption Provided

I received my replacement Guitar Hero: World Tour drum kit. I had heard of this happening in forums and was glad the same had happened to me. The box came back with more than the drums I sent back. Extras included cymbals, microphone, drum sticks, bass pedal and drum stand. It's great that they didn't take that stuff out, however there were some noticeable visible differences between what I received and what I had originally bought at retail.

If you've just recently purchased Guitar Hero: World Tour you may not even have known, but if you purchased the full bundle at launch you will see for yourself what the current sets look like right now with the following images. The hardware on the left is my hardware from launch and on the right is the brand new stuff.

No Caption Provided

The headset jack is no longer a seamless black. It looks like they're just prying open 360 controllers now.

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The cymbals no longer have a fancy print on them. They're just smooth.

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On the underside of the cymbals, the plastic is no longer aligned with the rubber.

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There is a manufacturing template mark on the bass pedal. The bass pedal hinge itself is actually looser than the launch pedal, which makes it lean more to the left or right slightly.

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Even the printed logo on the sticks isn't as large or as sharp as previously.

I think everyone would agree, and maybe Red Octane would probably admit that this is a cost and time saving measure. It may look slightly different to the original set, but now it's much more reliable. I don't really have a problem with the changes, but if you have a launch World Tour drum kit, your set is just a little rarer.

In the end, what matters most is that this remixed drum kit is in PERFECT working order... better than perfect in fact...

No Caption Provided

Now my drum fills are extra filling.


Second Life

Okay, so my Xbox 360 finally crapped itself, and it's about damn time.

No, it wasn't the ye olde ring of death but my video output was totally tripping out before giving out entirely. Observe:

Today's achievement clean up must've tipped it over the edge
Today's achievement clean up must've tipped it over the edge

The Psychedelic Xbox Experience
The Psychedelic Xbox Experience

The end was nigh, and my life with the Xbox 360 flashed before my eyes...

Playing Gears Of War in 1080p for the first time...

Buying my first XBLA title, Pac-Man Championship Edition...

Unlocking 1000G in Burnout Paradise, and 200G in Uno, which were my first retail and arcade games with all achievements unlocked...

And then... what?


I don't know why, but all of a sudden it works fine again. I had talked to "Jim" from India for nothing, because everything is rocknrolla again. I guess all's well that ends well. This experience was not aimless though; I did learn a few things. It's harder than it seems to force the Red Ring Of Death, and I learned how to remove the faceplate.

I was meant to miss the release of the Halo Wars demo and the Burnout Paradise DLC, but a 360 death at this point would still have been in good timing. My Guitar Hero: World Tour drum kit is out for replacement anyway, so what better time to be without the box? Besides, the backup plan wasn't really going to cut it...

And to think, I was going to buy Animal Crossing tomorrow! Bah!
And to think, I was going to buy Animal Crossing tomorrow! Bah!

The things we say in desperation.


Level 3 Podcast Featuring... ME!

On location at a bar in a back shed 20 kilometres from town, I skip breakfast and brace myself through 35 degree celsius heat for my worldwide podcast debut!

Join me and host DarthHomer in two different states in Australia for a new awesome episode of the Level 3 Podcast.

Amongst my burping throughout this week's show we chat about what we've been playing, Guitar Hero, Red Ant's closure, a Mass Effect re-release, PS3 exclusivity, Final Fantasy XIII's release date, The 1UP Network and more!

Get your podcast fill right here:

And I think the Guitar Hero mic worked out quite well.



Drum Villain

Guitar Hero: World Tour. Rock Band. Drum kit supremacy is a varying opinion among Australian consumers, with their decisions being swayed by price, availability and hardware choices such as an extra drum, cymbals, drum size, and more minor discretions.

I've made my opinion and experience of the World Tour kit known within forum posts, private messages and blog comments, but I cannot keep lying any longer.

I've been keeping secrets from you all.

I'd been praising the Guitar Hero: World Tour drum kit since it's release, when this whole time my own kit has been riddled with problems; most of which I have never disclosed, until now. For the first time, I will give my negative experience with the drums of Guitar Hero: World Tour and now, I give you eight reasons to hate:

#1 TOC - TOC - TOC - TOC - TOC

Straight out of the box my orange cymbal was not sensitive enough. The problem would not be fixed until my MIDI cable arrived in the mail. In the mean time I had to hit orange extremely hard, which ended up giving me muscle pains from playing for too long, as well as making gameplay unpleasant to listen to.

#2 Problem Getting It Up

I don't lift the cymbal height at all. If I move them any higher than the lowest it makes too much of a rattling noise when you hit it. Again, another issue from a brand new kit.

#3 Unwired For Sound

On one drunken pre New Years Eve party some mistakes were made which led to the wire for orange being ripped apart.

I couldn't send my kit off at the time because I needed it for New Year's Eve, which was in-between two other important parties. My only option was to solder new wire on it myself.

It works fine now; looks ugly though!

#4 Velcro Independence

After an extended gaming session I proceeded to pack up my drum kit. When I lifted the pedal off the floor, the Velcro didn't co-operate! The Velcro had ripped right off the bottom of the pedal, and after just sticking it back on a couple of times I wound up using super glue to fix the problem.

#5 The Kangaroo Pedal

I didn't have the problem at my house with a moving bass pedal because the rug that I sit my kit on sticks with the Velcro very well, but at my friend's house the pedal was in a new location after every track. Eventually we set up a rug just so that we could play drums properly at his house.

#6 Crashed Cymbal

Eventually my Yellow cymbal began having issues and MIDI cable tuning couldn't fix the oversensitivity of the cymbal. It registered a hit when the orange was struck, and requires a sensitivity tune that was so low it was unreliable for gameplay.

I had to get it replaced.

#7 Pain In The bAss

If you hit the bass pedal too hard (and maybe even if you don't) the plastic cover that the pedal touches splits and lifts up. It makes a clicking noise from the plastic, and eventually you have no choice but to peel it off.

Peeling the plastic off can also bring a sensitivity issue from the glue. It would register a second hit when you lifted the pedal up.

#8 Self-Uncovering

And finally, the plastic outside which houses the buttons and battery compartment is loose on one side. It may be contributing to further rattling.

The thing about most of these faults was that Rock Band could still be played despite these issues. Before I fixed the orange wire I could still play Rock Band, and when I sent the yellow cymbal away for replacement I put the orange in it's place and could continue playing. Most sensitivity problems that plagued Guitar Hero were non-issues in Rock Band.

But you know what, even after all this, I would STILL get the World Tour kit if I were to purchase it now. I cannot deny that I prefer the bigger pads, cymbal pads, bass pedal that's free to placed where I want, quieter pads and the fact that it's not from a 2007 game. What I remind myself regarding the Rock Band drum kit is that the drum noise, drum size, lack of sensitivity detection and being less one drum for an untrue Guitar Hero experience cannot be repaired of replaced.

Take full advantage of your warranty, before it's too late.


MicroComments #5

dandb on GB

On a recent Giant Bomb update email, a recognisable user appeared the featured blogs.


This guy used to post just as embarrasing material on GameSpot AU.

To no surprise, he's sporting a Banjo-Kazooie avatar, and some familiar forum posts!



I jokingly added him to my Xbox LIVE friend's list and praised his work on the GameSpot AU forum a while ago, but reading his blog and forum posts reminded me of how much pain he brings from facepalms.

The FailSpot

I tried my best to stomach the first episode of The HotSpot for 2009, but it was painfully BORING.

I thought I had been listening to it for nearly an hour. I looked at the timer and it was at 24 minutes!

Does anyone still listen to the show? This episode runs for over two hours. I don't think anyone with taste can listen to this.

Luckily we now have The OzSpot on a weekly basis to fill the gap that The HotSpot has left since Vinny Caravella left.

The 1UPaypal Network

As a fan of the 1UP podcasts and the 1UP Show, I was devastated to read about the release of nearly all the employees that were a part of all the great content.

Many of the ex-staffers are working on new (fan funded) things which bear similarity to their previous work, like Rebel FM and an unnamed video project, but I want to preserve the past before UGO realises that they don't need it.

It's going to take a while because I have download limits, but over the next two or three months I plan on saving every episode of their podcasts and every 1UP Show. It's expected to exceed over 50GB, but it will be totally worth it.

Pink On The Inside And Outside

I think I'm starting to develop a liking to this anime chick that's on GameSpot user Turbo-Evil's avatar and sig.

I never paid extra attention to his avatar and signature until he featured the lady in figure form on his Pick-up Of The Year post.

Sometimes when he posts I look at his avatar for up to ten seconds at a time.

Moka Latte? Mokaccino? What's her name? I hope Youtube and some torrents can answer all these questions.

Always Use A Clean Pad

I had been thinking of a good way to clean my Guitar Hero: World Tour drum kit for a while now.

I don't cover it or anything like that, so it always collects dust, which is hard to remove from the rubber pads.

My new way of cleaning it is to get a roll of masking tape and lay it across the pads, then pull it off and repeat the process on a new area. It actually works quite good.

It's like you're waxing your kit.


Daggi Noodles

When was the last time you ate Maggi 2 Minute Noodles? Did you like them? Well if you've had one of these new packets over the past few months you've probably started hating them. Observe:

Left = BAD  |  Right = GOOD!
Left = BAD | Right = GOOD!

To the right you see the previous packaging for 2 Minute Noodles. That packaging had changed a few times over the years, but the classic great taste remained; One that hasn't really changed for as long as I can remember.

What you see on the left is a WMD.

The flavouring tastes and smells bad, the new vegetable packet smells really bad and even after cooking the noodles properly they're still hard. The new packet claims it's "extra Delicious" and a "Better Choice" but I think they increase the risk of tongue cancer.

These new noodle packs are radiated, just like your food in Fallout 3.

A friend of mine regularly buys low fat milk. I once accidently referred to it as "low life" milk, with hilarious results. Since then it's been what I call all similar low fat products, including these new noodles. Eating smaller portions or avoiding snacks is a much better alternative than submitting yourself to these low fat cyanide meals.

I urge anyone out there who likes Maggi 2 Minute Noodles to go out and find the old style packet. If you can find those 5-packs get them immediately! When you run out of those, switch to those Xtra Saucy whatever they're called brand noodles, because they are the wave of the future.

Everyone probably already took the good ones on Boxing Day.


MicroComments #4

Normally my non-gaming topics go at the end, but how about I stick the garbage in the front?

Yeah, well I'm gonna do it anyway.

Hot For Teacher(s)

My job (which just concluded for the holidays) involved installing computers at public schools around the Central Coast and Hunter regions of New South Wales, Australia.

I've noticed a trend which has spiked since this time last year. That trend is beautiful Kindergarden teachers!

Where are these hotties coming from? Why did these teachers wait until now to emerge?

There was one particular school in which every female employee was attractive. Even the older office lady was quite the looker!

Maybe this should be used as a promotion for going to school. I still go!...

I have now realised that I have done practically nothing but go to school all my life. How depressing. Will I ever get a real job?

R* Trax

I recently purchased Midnight Club: Los Angeles. Most aspects of the game are good so far, but one thing that is a complete downer for me is the soundtrack. It makes the game feel like a Need For Speed game, which is certainly not what I'm looking for in a racing game.

At least N.E.R.D isn't in a soundtrack FOR ONCE.

I've dropped in my personal playlist that I use in Burnout Paradise and now use it in this game, so I guess everything works out. Metallica makes me drive better.

The Game That Never Comes

Guitar Hero: Metallica is my most anticipated title for 2009, and with some of the setlist being revealed I can say that I'm very pleased so far.

Quite honestly, I'd buy the game if "Wherever I may Roam" were the only track in the game. It certainly is in there, among many more significant tracks.

I urge everyone out there to put down their Street Fighters, Sonics and other junk and play something proper. Damn proper.

Rock Scam

In THIS interview Axl Rose talks about the possibility of Chinese Democracy making it to Rock Band as downloadable content. Of course with Shackler's Revenge already on Rock Band 2 this is just another tick on my conspiracy.

I might be on to their plan, and it's a pretty good one.

Some of their downloadable albums are missing a track, which just so happens to be in Rock Band 2. If you still only have the first Rock Band, you're getting screwed on the album DLC!

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters and Megadeth all have DLC albums from which one track is on RB2, and if Chinese Democracy releases for Rock Band, you can add Guns N' Roses to the list.

Of course this isn't a big deal at all and hardly a scam, but merely an observation. This is just an issue for me personally because Rock Band 2 hasn't released in Australia.

The real scam here is the tentative AU$50 price tag on the AC/DC Track Pack!

Maybe we can use this method to guess upcoming content?...

Billy Idol compilation confirmed!



Offcuts #1

A lot of the time I'll never post things because of quality issues, writer's block, poor topic ideas or simply not having enough time to finish things that eventually become too old to continue.

I don't like having my work being wasted, so why don't I just wrap up the half-full glasses into one neat little package?... I dunno either. We'll see how it goes for a first run.

I'll add extra notes within []'s if needed.

From "MicroComments #4"

Mega Death

I'd never played any of the Mega Man series but with a personal demand for an old school platformer I wanted to give Mega Man 9 a go.

I've decided not to buy it. It's totally difficult. In fact I only got past the first hole in the ground on the first level ONCE.

Apart from that, I don't like the graphics.

It's nothing to do with the mostly 8-bit graphics, it's more to do with the lack of widescreen and sharpness. It even teases me by having sharp graphics on the Leaderboards screen, but not during gameplay.

Turning off Legacy Mode should have included 16:9 support and upscaling to cater for all.

Wii Space

Nintendo finally gave some sort of idea of what they're gonna do about storage space, but it seems I'm the only one who doesn't have a problem with the way it is now.

Maybe if there was something to get in the first place, then Wii'd have a problem.

Reloaded On The Revolution

Nintendo haters may have new ammo regarding the "Let's Play On Wii" announcement, but I'm all for having GameCube titles updated and released specifically for Wii.

I haven't played any GameCube titles in a while, so this is a good chance to come crawling back to them with enhanced features. I was always put off by the controls in the Metroid Prime series until MP3: Corruption, which had an excellent control scheme. If they remade Super Mario Sunshine or Zelda: The Wind Waker with widescreen and progressive scan I'd get into those again too.

Nintendo DSi Dunno

I had a little think about whether the DSi is something I'd really want.

This all goes back to the reason I didn't get a DS lite in the first place. If I'm out of the house, I'm either busy or drunk. If I'm at home I have two consoles to... console me.

Nintendo Conference Games Reveal List

Does anyone else reckon that all these titles have been overrated?

A Punch Out! sequel? Random JRPG's?

I feel bad about it because I'm not feeling any love for ANY of the new titles shown. I don't know why, but nothing from the video package interested me.

From "The Ultimate RPG" (Working Title)

Many people like having all their actions mean something in games. Whether it be statistic tracking in games like Fable II and Grand Theft Auto IV or gaining Experience Points.

In the past, keeping track of everything was generally limited to RPG's. For me, I liked knowing that everything I did actually meant something.

Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Resistance 2, Battlefield: Bad Company and more all give you "XP" for shooting people and carrying out objectives.

Your gamerscore is the ultimate RPG. It tracks a score of all your games [INCOMPLETE]

From "Nintendo" (Working Title)

Price of Virtual Console games is too much. It takes titles out of the "Impulse buy" category and into the "I'll have to think about it" category.

Emulation is poor and offers now new features. At least in the US you can run things in 480p. We don't even have that option for nearly all titles.

Games like Alex Kidd In Miracle World and Street Fighter II originally had 16:9 resolutions [NEVER RESEARCHED]. Back in the day this was probably done to sidestep graphical limitations, but it can be taken advantage of today with widescreen displays. Most untouched XBLA titles feature an option to adjust the screen size.

While on the Virtual Console, not only are we subjected to a letterboxed screen on the above mentioned titles,[INCOMPLETE]

I think Nintendo stuff on my offcuts will be common.


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