Fallout: New Vegas - Old World Blues. Get ready for a Venture!

In the latest downloadable game for Fallout: New Vegas - Old World Blues, the player will be neck deep in a pulp Mad Scientist setting. From the trailer, the player will be meeting a group of scientist who for some reason, transferred their brains into floating robots? On the way to the location known as Big Mt. the player will have their hands full with mechanized foes including robo-scorpions and even bigger robo-scorpions! 



James in the game

Among the mad scientist, there is one in particular whose voice actor knows about being a scientist and the robots who love him. In the part of Dr. O is James Urbaniak whose most popular role as Dr. Venture on the Venture Bros. lets him know the price of being a brilliant scientist and having to pay for it on several occassions. Between the
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show and the game, there are a lot of similarities: Robots, quirky characters, men of science who get into dangerous situations. It also helps that both game and show take inspiration from old science fiction from the  50's. Having James Urbaniak in the game as a floating brain in a jar seems fitting with the possibility that this could easily happen to Dr. Venture in the show. With a familiar character as James Urbaniak it should easily transition both fans of the show and gamers to the new DLC. Hopefully there's a quest to save "Rusty Venture."

Not James' first Videogame role (NSFW)

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This won't be Mr. Urbaniaks first vocal appearance in Videogames. His first roles were actually minor characters and a little bit scary in a game that covers subtlety with repeated blows to the head with a hammer. In Manhunt, he plays a gang member for the Innocentz who in the first minute of this clip gets a pretty nasty necktie.  
In a surprise reappearance, Urbaniak returns for Manhunt 2 to play a member of a redneck gang called the Bloodhound and at this point, his characters should really start
  Farmer Ted
 Farmer Ted
looking into protecting their necks. It's pretty funny when the character in the game says "boys" because it reminds me of Venture Bros. where Dr. Venture is always disciplining his boys. Start at 2:00. 
Mr. Urbaniak's new role in Old World Blues may or may not be the same as Dr. Venture but his previous voice work show that he can adapt and change. I hope to look forward to more videogame roles in James Urbaniaks future. Season 4 of Venture Bros. is out now on Blu-ray and Old World Blues is out now on the Playstation Store, Xbox Live Marketplace and the PC.


The Secret World Trailer: I know a British man like that.

A new trailer for The Secret World popped up and giving a new game a look is always my duty.   

  A very detailed look at a bar and we see a character drinking. So far this is really classy type of a bar and just a bloke taking it easy. For a brief moment, I'm thinking that he looks like Liam Neeson and then his cigarette lights by itself. Okay, so this game is about magic. Right when the guy in the trailer starts to make his way into the bathroom, I starting to see a resemblance with another cocky, disheveled, smoker, and Supernatural User. And just as he saddles up to the urinal, the guy next to him turns into a demon. Oh shit, that's John Constantine! 
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That's not the case as I would have thought, as the guy from the trailer and The Secret World is called Alex McCall. On their Website, there's a character wheel and his background and attitude are almost identical to Constandtine. But The Secret world is about more than just one "Cynical and Sarcastic" British guy. The game is a huge MMO dealing with factions of groups like the Illuminati, Templars, and Dragon who battle demons across the world. I have seen snippets of this game and get interested all over again every time I hear of it. They are also the ones who put out this trailer in 2009. I'll personally look more into this game.

Robin the third in black and white

The Pre-Order incentive I thought I didn't want

 When Arkham Asylum came out in 2009, the DLC was more of a entertaining bonus that didn't stand in the way of the experience of playing the single player or the challenge stages. The PS3 got the exclusive content of a virtual batcave for PSN Home users and could swap out Batman for the Joker in the challenge rooms. The Virtual space is really dark and dull when the Bat is not around but playing as the Joker in the challenge areas is a lot of fun. All the key gameplay of Batman (stealth, takedowns, counters), turned goofy with the Joker. With a surprising bit of authority with the one bullet he can shoot. 
The Gamestop Pre-Order of Dem Bones was a level where Batman is still under Scarecrow's hallucinogens and fights an undending supply of skeleton enemies. 
Now with Batman: Arkham City coming out, the news of Robin as a playable character with a pre-order from Best Buy, will the boy wonder really worth paying for?  He is the sidekick in a game where fans (me included) have been waiting to see the main character kick some ass again. But as when I first heard the news and said "why bother," I'm starting to see things in a different light.

Considering given Robin a chance

 Rocksteady the developers behind Arkham City can do no wrong. That may be the wrong phrasing, but I'm just saying that Arkham Asylum is a very fun game and I've been keeping my ears open for all sequel news ever since. Every thing I have heard of the Arkham City just makes want to get this game as soon as it comes out with a larger explorable city, new everything, and side mission with Zsaz and the Riddler. When the news that Catwoman would be a playable character, it seem to me to be an "Ashly from RE4" kind of level, but after seeing the character trailer...it made really want to play with her. She crawls along the ceiling, uses her whip to swing along buildings like in the show and POUNCES ON THAT GUY!
  The characters that you do play as like the Joker and will play as like Catwoman are the same template as Batman but they are all unique. Playing around as the joker with the great Mark Hamill cackling his laugh and shocking people with his joy buzzer and kicking enemies in the ass was fun! Just watching the Catwoman trailer embodies Selina kyles lithe movements and use of her gadgets. Her personal gadgets being the whip. I have a strong feeling Robin won't be a carbon copy of Batman, even though he is Batman's protege. Maybe Tim Drake will be more Atheletic or Parkour-ish like Chris O'Donell in Batman Forever. Speaking of which... 

Why do I want this to be an homage to Batman Forever?

Robin Arkham City
Robin Arkham City
 Robin Batman Forever
Robin Batman Forever

  The two enemies (beside the penguin, zsaz, Hugo Strange, and the warden because I'm not fixating on them!) are Two-face and The Riddler! We just need Dr. Chase Meridian and "Two, count 'em, Two hundred sticks of TNT!"

J. K. Simmons: The Movie

You may know him in many roles, but there is one personality that exudes from all of them. "What are you doing. Whatever it is, forget it and do this."  This man does not care what your opinions are and has 10 better things you should be doing.

In his new role as Aperture Science's very vocal founder and CEO, J. K. Simmons delivers a straight forward but comical performance guiding test subjects through experimental trials. But this is not the first time he has played a role telling others what to do. Simmons has played a Newspaper editor, President, and Farmers Insurance Professor with the same "moving on" attitude.

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This man is good in what he does and with the back story's provided by his characters why not just make that a movie. Proffesor does mad experiments in his classroom with wild inventions, creates a company and then becomes president. From the Cave Johnson to the president in Command and Conquer , you got a guy who went from the

famous " lemon" speech to "you want to live, vote for me."

That set-up may be an improbable dream but J. K. Simmons comedic performance displayed in the parts he's been in  shows a possibility for a National Lampoon or Dreamworks movie.


Cartoon Network P.T.E: Voice peeves and a substitute

Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion sounded like a kiddie title to me. A fighting game in the style of Smash Bros. scaled down to release alongside the 3DS. I wasn't interested in the game but I decided to see the character unveils on Gametrailers to hear some familiar voices. I guess I was expecting to hear the same voice actors who played these characters like Phil Lamar (Hermes Conrad on Futurama) as Samurai Jack, or Richard Horvitz (Invader Zim) as Billy, but there are substitutes for almost all of them. 2 out of the 3 Powerpuff Girls are replacements (I don't why having bubbles is a consolation). 
I might be making a big deal out of nothing but I'm the kind of guy that notices when Don Cheadle replaced Terrence Howard in Iron Man 2. It's strikes a chord with me when I finally realized some people really claim a role. Quick, who makes a good Batman actor and has reprised his role for so many years?
Also, there was a Powerpuff game that was really entertaining on Newgrounds that led me to the webcomic Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi by Bleedman that was also fun read. The  webcomic has a comic book version of the Powerpuff Girls with most of the cast of Cartoon Network.

If Bleedman's game was more developed it could have probably a contender to this game.

GDC: From a Blue Wizard's Perspective

       When you don't have the capacity to go to an event like GDC, what do you do? If you're like me, you sigh and go gaming website's to see what you're missing. As I was going through my news feed, one of my friends needed help on the days of March 2nd and 3rd for a "gaming event." Surely enough my friend was talking about GDC and I just jumped at the chance to help out.
        The job was to hand out free game codes for Arrowhead Game Studios, PC Action-Adventure game, Magicka. On the day I went I got to meet the team working on Magicka and talked Johan Pilestedt. He was really fun and excited to talk about the game, and as I haven't played the game yet, I got to learn and get really interested in their title.
       Me as the "Blue Wizard"

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and another partcipant dressed as the "Green Wizard" got our robes and our stack of codes and proceeded to walk down to the Moscone center where GDC was being held and got glances at all the way there. On Wednesday me and the other were looking for spots where we could hand out the codes near the entrances but it seemed we had competition from a heavy metal show, a Homefront truck letting players try out the game and giving away tacos, and half naked girls giving away...something. The day had been raining all day, but incredibly the robes we were giving were really warm and kept us from getting wet. 
        The next day was a different story as it got really HOT! This poor wizard was doing all he could from sneaking off to get a drink a water, but really how inconspicuous could be? There wasn't a rock show on that day but I did get a lot of fan's of the game and people taken our picture. Another thing I was able to see up close and personal were all the celebrities! Well, gaming industry folk. There were folks from Giantbomb, Gamesradar, Lisa Foiles and AJGlasser from Gamepro. I hope they weren't scared off by the blue wizard trying to give them stuff but I bet they get that all the time. 
        I hadn't been able to go inside, but I did get to meet and chat with a developement staff, hand out free game codes, and got to dress as a wizard. I got to see the passion other fans had as they came up to me and spilled their interest of the game, ways they could make it better, or just take photos of/with me. It was better than staying at home.

The Rundown: Adventures in Vents

  A cramped crawl through a dark tunnel is not the intriguing highlight of a great game. Taking over a character in a videogame unleashes the players ability to traverse jungles and navigate the tight corridors of First Person Shooters. It's never a sign of relief when on occasion, the player has to crouch down and slowly make their way through a constricted vent instead of what could have easily been another door. In these segments the player deals with restricted movements, poor visibility and lack of tension because the action takes place outside of the sardine can. The games on this list are a few exceptions to this rule and can make vents an exciting part of the game play and story.  

Silent Hill 4: The Room

Silent Hill can be interpreted as a hell where people with checkered past deal with their sins by physically confronting them or a town where cultish rituals took place and a demonic presence has taken over, luring in certain individuals for its evil intentions. Either way had these decisions be based on real life, the cast of Silent Hill have made some of the dumbest decisions ever. No matter how important the item might be sticking your hand into a dirty toilet deserves rethinking.

 The character of Henry is confused. He's trapped in his apartment with no way out and no one can hear him when he calls out to them as they pass his peephole. When a hole appears in his bathroom it seems like a weird but useful way out. It seems like a bad decision when he enters the mysterious hole,   but it only gets worse when it looks like you're crawling out of a well from Ju-on.   



Batman: Arkham Asylum

One of the allure's of Batman is that he can vanish no matter where he is. Who would imagine that the burly caped crusader would shrink himself down to fit into a tiny ventilation shaft? For some reason the ventilation system in Arkham Asylum are big enough for batman to crouch in. They are also big enough to lose a small child or a really big dog. But seriously who brings pets and kids to a criminal mental institution.

As exciting as it is to see Batman sneak through vents, pop out and knock out a inmate - it is way more fun to see Batman grapple with a grate. When he's being sneaky, his exiting and entering animation really show his care not to make a noise and set the grate aside. But when there's no one around, Batman's true feelings for grates come out. He RIPS them off the hinges with his bare hands and kicks them right the fuck out.

         I am Vengeance...
 I am Vengeance...

         ...I am the Night...
 ...I am the Night...

         ...I am Batman!
 ...I am Batman!

Spiderman (ps1)

Among Spider-Man's abilities of super strength, Spider Sense, and web swinging - I forgot that he is really good at being sneaky. Besides looking cool when sticking to walls, he uses his power of sticking to climb buildings and enter from unexpected places. And he also does his iconic hanging upside down when trying to survey a room.

The first level of this game, Spiderman is crawling through the ventilation system and exits out of the banks ceiling. Nobody sees him and he's pouncing on foes with ease. It may not be much of a detail but it does show how good at stealth he is. The real excitement comes from the end of the game where Dr. Octopus is fused with a symbiote, becoming Monster Ock  and chases Spiderman. The last level takes place in a giant exhaust vent and Spiderman has to swing, zip line and run because the space is so small.   



Aliens vs. Predator (The Alien)

As the scariest creature in the Aliens movies, its lack of presence on-board the Nostromo creates the most scary and tense atmosphere in the movie. The scariest moment in Alien is when the crew is watching a blip close in on their friend as he crawls through a vent. He is in a tight, dark vent and starts panicking until his flamethrower cast a light on an attacking Alien. In this game you play the Alien.

The vents become another avenue for the Alien as he slides along the walls and has perfect vision without the need of a flashlight. The power and stealth that come with being a Xenomorph are at your disposal and that means crawling on walls and slithering through vents onto unsuspecting victims. Vent starts at 2:35.



Mirror's Edge

I didn't want to add First Person Shooters because there's almost no need to crouch. Crouching equates to "There's only one way through and that is to trudge under that gate or through that vent." Going through vents is slow and boring. That is why Mirror's Edge vent's are unique because Mirror's Edge is unlike most FPS.

Not only can Faith go throughout the whole game without shooting, every action is so immersive, you actually have to look away if you miss a jump. Her experiences are dependent on her arm and leg placements. If you jump to a ledge and you're feet aren't in front of you, you're either going to grab ledge or air.

As the protagonist, Faith, runs and jumps over beams and scaffolds, the vents are no less fun. With a continuous sprint Faith is able to slide into or jump like a cat into a vent if its above her. Considering these vents are in a skyscraper, its fortunate Faith is energetic to jump up to a section of vent or fall onto a lower path without breaking her legs.   Vent starts at 5:25


Metal Gear Solid: Tactical Stealth Espionage

The infiltration of Shadow Moses can best be summed up as the most cinematic vents in gaming. As Solid Snake emerges at the front of the Helipad and Liquid flies away, Snake and Colonel Cambell discuss the best way to enter the compound is through the vents! Before Snake even reaches the DARPA Chief and does a cool drop, he comes across so many things. On the bottom vent snake see's rats with little Exclamation marks on their heads. He has to hold his breath as he submerges into a part of the vent that’s under water. On the Top vent Snake is hasn't even been halfway through when someone calls him. He's in a tight area in enemy territory and talks with "McDonald Miller" where his conversation probably echoed for anybody to hear.

 Right after you talk with Liqui…I mean, Miller, there is a cutscene of soldiers filling in Snake on where the DARPA Chief is and other base events. And this isn't the only cutscene you get while lying in a vent. When Snake is in the detention level and climbs into a vent, if he takes the first left and looks down the grate, he'll see Diarrhea Johnny on the toilet talking about the new girl. Right before the DARPA room, Snake encounters a female soldier doing exercises. If you enter the vent each time, she'll be doing a new exercise and the next three times she'll be in…her…underwear!   


The crawling sections are interesting to see with the sound of Snake shuffling his knees and elbows along the metal tube. Being able to see far ahead of you to see rises and falls in the shaft and seeing the rooms your passing through the grates.

There are a lot of exciting moments that happen in the Playstation debut of Metal Gear Solid (ex: Fighting a gigantic robot!), but the opening section really showcased being a soldier hiding from guards and taking the slowest inconspicuous route. The fact that it's chock full of memorable moments makes a boring game segment into an exciting one.

 It's hard to see but he has a gun and a cigarette. I ended my demo all the time like this.
 It's hard to see but he has a gun and a cigarette. I ended my demo all the time like this.


Special Consideration - Dead Space: Extraction

Extraction is a FPS and considering I wanted to avoid games like these, there is a long level set in a vent.  And this is a Dead Space title, so there is tons of slow crawls with aliens popping out of nowhere.


Silent Hill: Downpour - The town is everything you need.

In issue 214 of Game Informer, Vatra Games explain how their take on Silent Hill will be more focused on Silent Hill the town instead of previous characters and the events that took place with the native cult group. They explain how throughout the Silent Hill games, the only thing that's been consistent is the town.

This could be a great return to the psychological aspect of the Silent Hill series. The first, third and fourth game were tied to the town's history involving the cult. The first dealt with the cult resurrecting their god with the use of a girl Allesa, who is also the daughter the main character is looking called Cheryl. He enters the town and it transforms from vacant to hellish with monsters running around. The third had the little girl grow up and had to deal with going back to the town and deal with the cult's surviving members. The fourth has a character who is trapped in an apartment that used to be occupied by a child who grew up in Silent Hill's cult group and puts his voodoo knowledge on the room.

The game's in the series all deal with the town's cult and the demons they unleashed except for Silent Hill 2. The game excels on its own because it changes what the town is and what the main character is experiencing. The man known as James Sunderland goes to Silent Hill because a letter from his wife says so. The dilemma is that his wife is dead. He goes through town encountering people and monsters until he discovers the truth he has been trying to hide. Silent Hill 2 has traces of the cult history but the innovation this game has to offer is that the town is James personal hell. It's not a matter of physical pain, but of internal strife. There are theories that the monster's each represent a insight to his guilt. The nurses are his lust for women and the Pyramid Head is his frustrated libido as it is the only masculine character. Some of the people James meet don't seem to see the same things he does. Even among the unique endings you can see the main character taking his delirium into his own hands. Does he continue being in denial? Commit suicide? Move on?

I'm not saying the cult's practices and corrupting a town isn't interesting, but finding out that all the horrors the player and the character are witnessing are actually in the characters head is a lot more shocking. Maybe even not knowing if the characters he meet are real or not.

 In Silent Hill: Downpour, there will be more puzzle elements and Murphy the main character can only carry one weapon at a time and injuries will show in his body. There will be decisions that shape the rest of the game, much like how doing something specific in the previous titles changed the ending.  Vatra games revealed in the preview that Murphy will have no connection to the previous characters, so I'm hoping to see what Murphy learns about the town. Or Himself.


What if Enslaved had been about Tarzan?

  Let me cut off the links to Journey to the west that might have made sense first; The cloud and Pigsy. The story didn't need to be based on a journey to the west. Trip could have easily said "I need to journey East" and it could have been the same game. Removing the cloud is easy as it could have elongated the plat forming bit. Maybe even add in a few rope swinging bits. Pigsy is actually the hardest part to cut for this concept as he is the most awesome part about Enslaved. Trip just needs to have a friend of the family that encapsulates porcine behavior and he could easily fit right in.

Now story, plot, and setting don't need a change so this is mostly on the inspiration for Monkey. Both Tarzan and Monkey grow up to defend themselves when their parents are killed early in their childhoods. They have characteristics of apes with swinging and climbing and they learn to speak new languages with the people they meet. 

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Every time I see Tarzan he has a spear which makes a lot more sense when Monkey stabs robots. The collapsible part is still an innovation of technology. Tarzan meets Jane and he's there to protect her. Trip can still Enslave Monkey since it's actually part of the overall story. Trip is more a Jane than a Tripitaka, for one thing they are both females and second they get stranded with a guy who lives in the "jungle." It even makes girl meets guy more sentimental. To my amusement I would have loved to have seen Monkey do the Tarzan yell instead of "Hey."

  Distracting Mechs and calling for Elephants!
 Distracting Mechs and calling for Elephants!
  Go to 2:00.

Redbox - Part II

The wait isn't completely over, but I did find a few Redboxes in my city that are renting games. The closest one, by bus, is at a grocery store that I never visit. I was excited to see that the few games that they had were actually worth renting. The selection is close to what they're displaying at their site, which I am pleased with because I really want to play Enslaved and I've heard a lot of talk that you can finish that game in a day. The unappealing idea of visiting this store is my only option at the moment because the Redbox a few blocks from my house is just getting games in stock. The only game they have however is New Carnival Games Wii.