Archives for July 2007

Baby Buttonmasher #3!

Our newest little buttomasher has arrived:

Baby Boy Rice

I don’t know if I ever actually mentioned that Mrs. Buttonmasher was expecting, but our little boy was born this morning! He doesn’t have a name yet, but he’s still cute as ever. Mom and son are doing great!

He’ll be mashing buttons in no time!

Televising video games?

Surprisingly, the first time I heard that CBS was going to air video games as “sports” was last night when I read Zonk’s post on games.slashdot. I figured it would be a shame for me to miss them, seeing how this would make some excellent blog material. Something to really rag on! Spike TV’s Video Game Awards all over again! I couldn’t wait to begin the snark.

The snark never came! I must say, I was actually impressed with how CBS presented the show and handled the overall production. Everything that Spike did wrong (garish music and sets, celebs that mailed in their appearances, backhanded jabs at gamers)? CBS did it right — it was about the games and the gamers. They took the high road. It wasn’t about making fun of the hobby we love or mocking the “geek lifestyle.” It seemed like they recognized it for what it was — video games are something people get a lot of joy out of. Even the people hosting the shows weren’t completely clueless.

Of course, everything wasn’t perfect. When they did the Fight Night 3 competition, they interviewed one of the participants in between rounds, which came off as really lame. Every once and a while a backhanded comment would slip, but for the most part they seemed to be taking things seriously.

One of the biggest complaints people use when they hear about televising video games is, “I like to play video games, I don’t want to watch them on TV.” I may be in the minority here, but I’ve always enjoyed watching others play games. This goes way back to the days I’d go over my friends house to “play” the old D&D SSI games like Pool of Radiance. I put “play” in quotes, because it mostly consisted of him playing and me watching. I really enjoyed that and still do, even now. That may explain why I enjoyed more than others might.

While I don’t think televising video games will ever reach the level of any type of sports broadcast (even “Xtreme Sports”), it’s a step in the right direction. It was fun to see people compete in games that weren’t First Person Shooters. The World of Warcraft 3v3 match was interesting, especially since I haven’t played WoW myself. Overall I give it a thumbs up.

Did you happen to watch it? I’d love hear what others thought of it.

Game Review – All-Pro Football 2K8 [360] – By Dark Reyule

apfamazonTHE GIST: License? We don’t need no stinkin’ license! Visual Concepts and 2K Sports make their triumphant return to the gridiron with All-Pro Football 2K8 featuring over 240 of the best to ever hug the pigskin, innovative gameplay elements, and immersive realism. Some thought that the 2K brand of football games died when EA secured (read: took away your options as a consumer) the NFL and NFLPA licenses… well, it’s time to think again. 2K Football is back, better than ever, and stands today as the best football game I have ever played.

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Share your NCAA 08 Videos with your friends!

Ok, so I’ve been pretty harsh to EA lately, so I figured I should give a little back. Sure, their online presence with NCAA 08 leaves a little to be desired, but they’re trying. They’re even doing things right. So I decided to put up a little how-to on sharing your uploaded videos of NCAA 08 with your friends. Hit the jump to read on.
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Minor milestone

After awakening “The Immortal” in Prince of Persia I reached a minor milestone — I hit 5000 Gamerscore points.

(Pay no attention to the fact that my co-blogger Dark Reyule has 20k.)

EA makes me cry

This is getting ridiculous. I mocked EA earlier because they weren’t able to deliver on the on-line community promises. Turns out the data was handled by a third party, and their systems were fried. My bad. They still could have put up a notice about that.

So easportsworld.com is now accessible and so is my NCAA 08 profile. Funny thing is, I still can’t find a way to share my uploaded videos with friends. I don’t even know how to send them a link to my EA Sports World profile. It’s ridiculous. Unfortunately, it gets worse.

I went over to their forums, hoping that someone else was able to figure it out. Surely I’m not the only one who wants to do this. Besides the fact that the forums are populated by 13 years olds who love to use the Caps Lock key, the forums were completely worthless. No one had a straight answer to the question, “How do I sure my uploaded videos?” Simply worthless. So nothing could be worth less than that, right?

Wrong. The forum search is atrocious. I did a simple forum search for “share uploaded video”. “No search results for “share uploaded video”. You should try a less restrictive search.” was the result. Fair enough. I try “uploaded video link” nothing. “Video Link”, “Profile Link” and “I sure wish I could send my friend a link to my cool video” all failed to produce any search results. Deflated, I simply tried to search for “NCAA” hoping that something would result. This is what I got:

EA Search SUCKS!

Did I mean NASA?! No! Why the hell would I be searching for NASA on EA’s NCAA 08 forum? The name of the flipping forum is NCAA 08! Is search that hard for one of the biggest electronic entertainment companies? I can use NCAA 08’s recruiting system to search for a 5-star QB that is 6’2″ and from Ohio and I can’t do a simple text search on their site?

I’m speechless.

Frustrations GALORE

Electronic Art’s EA Sports World site sucks. Plain and simple — it sucks. Don’t bother clicking that link, because IT WON’T FREAKING LOAD.

I have been trying, rather unsuccessfully for the past 24 hours, to log in to EA’s NCAA 08 community site so I can watch a highlight video I uploaded to the site last night. I just want to show it to a couple friends. It’s really no big thing, the video. Just the thought of sharing a short video clip from I game I had just played was very cool. I was super excited about showing it to the readers of my other site, too. They would appreciate it, as Buckeye fans, as it was an interception I made as Ohio State against Michigan, returning it for a touchdown. It was a thing of beauty. But I can’t show it to anyone because EA’s site is such garbage.

I imagine their servers are getting absolutely slammed right now, as NCAA is only a couple days old and everyone is excited about this new feature, but the fact that their site is completely inaccesible is just sad. They had to be expecting a huge response to these additions and added more servers to up their capacity. This isn’t even their flagship enterprise. Sure, there are a ton of NCAA fans, but there will be way more players playing Madden when it drops next month. If their servers are down now, they will literally discorporate when the hordes of Maddenites start punishing them. It’s going to be ugly.

How could they not be ready for this onslaught? I hope they get things working soon. Like by tomorrow, so I can show my friends my NCAA interception skills.

In my hands…

NCAA 2008The college football season starts right now!

(actually, it starts in about an hour, after dinner and the kids are bathed. So almost now)

Update: Okay, I’ve been able to put a couple hours in so far. One huge glaring problem I have is the absence of the “Create-a-school.” I was aware that this feature was left out of NCAA 07 but I thought it surely would have been left in the game. Disappointing! No University of North Royalton Bears Dynasty this year. (I should have known better, of course. This is EA we’re talking about. It will be “in the game” next year.) That means I’ll probably take over as the Kent State coach and take them to the national championship. I wanted to stay in Ohio and have a 1-star team, so that’s my only option.

Outside of that issue — ME LIKEY. I’ll have a more comprehensive review/post up after I get a few hours with the Dynasty mode in.

Where were these camps when I was a kid?

Video Game Merit BadgeI went to Boy Scout camp every summer as a kid. We did fun stuff like build fires, sleep under the stars, and play German Spotlight. I also got to enjoy being homesick to the point of tears (my first year only, honest!), being a hemo-buffet to every mosquito in northern Ohio, and getting poison ivy in places better left unsaid.

At no point in my childhood did I ever get to go to somewhere cool like Cybercamps. Where was this stuff when I was a kid? (h/t Educational Games Blog)

Actually, I think roughing it in the woods was a pretty good time.

Fun with Paper

In a market of growth such as videogames (making more money than movies last year), Nintendo has continued to innovate over the last twenty years. In almost every console Nintendo has made (yes, even the Virtual Boy) there has been something that they have done that has pushed the envelope in either hardware or software.

The Nintendo 64 wasn’t a really innovative console unless you can count the rumble pack, but one One of the things Nintendo did was shine in the software department. Goldeneye 64 brought multiplayter FPS gaming to the console masses long before Halo, Zelda: Orcania of Time brought excellent story elements and adventure design just before Final Fantasy VII, and Paper Mario brought a unique twist to the RPG genre.

By combining little bits of side-scrolling, RPG, and adventure gameplay and including the world’s most beloved video game character, Nintendo created what may be one of the most unique games from the N64 era. Oh, and did I mention that the beloved character, Mario, was flat? Yes, all the characters were 2D in a 3D world.

Where does that bring us you may ask? Simple. Nintendo has fulfilled fan’s wishes the world over by releasing the game on the Wii’s Virtual Console.

Let me let you in on a little secret. I’ve played almost every console, but I’ve never played an N64 game. Not a single one. However, I have played the other two Paper Mario games to great length and I don’t expect to be disappointed with this one. I consider them to be the best games on their respective consoles. Here’s hoping I don’t get cut.

Sorry, I’ve been away for a while. I spent last week preparing for a day long job interview of which I nailed this last Sunday. It looks like my family will be relocating in a month. Hoo-rah.