Archives for March 2008

RSS your Xbox 360 Gamertag

I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get any nerdier than this:

How to Get an RSS Feed for your XBOX 360 Gamertag

Of course, I couldn’t help myself — I had to try it out: I aint yer Pa’s Gamertag Feed.


“You are who you choose to be.”

I’ve only known of three movies that cause me to tear up at the end almost every time I see them. I’m not ashamed to admit that one of them is animated. As far as I’m concerned Brad Bird’s The Iron Giant is nothing short of brilliant.

I introduced this wonderful movie to my two sons tonight and it was a great experience. At first, they didn’t know what to expect and fear reigned through the first half of the movie. But just like their ol’ man the emotions of the giant and the quirkiness of the movie started to win them over.

Then the giant died. How do you explain sacrifice to a five year old and a 2.5 year old? I really have no idea. However, one thing that they did realize is that using guns in the wrong way is bad. Our oldest had been running around the house over the last month pointing at random people and and yelling, “BANG! Your dead!” He didn’t understand the concept of death, and we didn’t want him flippantly thinking it’s OK to shoot things all the time.

We have a moratorium on certain things in our house while the boys are awake. This mainly includes violence of all forms in the areas of games and television. It just doesn’t happen. I think it’s worked for us. Actually, I think it’s worked for me. I don’t relate well to violence. It’s not that it makes me violent. It’s just that it agitates me. It changes my attitude. It changes the way I view things. That’s not good for a person who’s the head of a household and responsible for raising two boys (especially in an increasingly acceptable, violent world for younger ages—there’s always been violence.)

In short, in generally affects me for the worst.

Occasionally, I’ll make room for Half-Life or a quick FPS walkthrough. However, the last FPS I’ve completed was Half-Life 2—it’s episodes and Portal variant—a long time ago (Call of Duty 4 and Metroid Prime 3 came close). I think I’ve just learned to pass up on games with a sense of immediacy, especially in terms of violence.

If you’ve got to have that violent rush, I say take a break for a while. Find a different genre to play. See if it changes the way you act; who you are. As for me and my boys, we will take it slow and keep playing racing games.

The other day, while traveling down the highway my son asked me to ram into a rig we were passing. Maybe we won’t play any Burnout for a while either.

April Releases

I missed the last couple of months of new releases due to illness and laziness (the same thing?) but I’m back at it with another month of video game releases, with a couple of doozies.

Xbox 360 banner
Week of April 1st
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Game of the Year – Maybe it’s time to finally pick this one up.

Week of April 21st
NBA Ballers: Chosen One – The whole “NBA Ballers this year, NBA Street next year” thing never made sense to me. I’ll be skipping NBA Ballers, as I really liked the last version of Street (whatever it was called).

Week of April 28th
Grand Theft Auto IV – I wasn’t a huge fan of GTA:San Andreas, but I’m very interested in the next-gen iteration of Grand Theft Auto. I think I’ll pick this one up for sure.

Wii banner
Week of April 1st

Week of April 7th
MiniCopter: Adventure Flight
Baroque – Baroque? Is this a sequel to Eternal Sonata or something? It’s an Atlus game, which always intrigues me.

Week of April 14th
Dream Pinball 3D
Okami – Another intriguing game. I know Okami for the PS2 was well received, so this will be at least a rental for me.
Emergency Mayhem

Week of April 21st
Mario Kart Wii – Another must-buy in the Buttonmashing household. It’s Nintendo and I am powerless to resist.
Target Terror
Wild Earth: African Safari
Battle of the Bands

Week of April 28th
Castle of Shikigami III
Blast Works: Build, Trade & Destroy

Nintendo DS banner
Week of April 7th
Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled
Corvette Evolution GT

Week of April 14th
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time – Another Pokemon, already?
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness – And seriously! Can we just make one version of a Pokemon game once? Please?
Rondo of Swords
Teenage Zombies
Major League Baseball 2K8 Fantasy All-Stars

Week of April 21st
The World Ends With You
Dream Pinball 3D
River King Mystic Valley
High School Musical 2: Work This Out!
Cory in the House

Week of April 28th
Brain Voyage
Toy Shop
Tamagotchi Cornershop 3

PC banner
Week of April 7th
Assassin’s Creed: Director’s Cut Edition
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation & CSI: Dark Motives
Half-Life 2: Episode Pack
Team Fortress 2
Scrabble Journey

Week of April 21st
Sword of the Stars: Collector’s Edition

PS3 banner
Week of April 14th
Gran Turismo: 5 Prologue Forty bucks sure seems pricey for a demo. I’m just saying.

Week of April 21st
NBA Ballers: Chosen One
Monster Madness
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Game of the Year

Week of April 28th
Grand Theft Auto IV

PSP banner
Week of April 7th
World Championship Cards
SNK Arcade Classics Vol 1

Week of April 28th
Iron Man

So that’s a pretty decent month, all things considered. You’ll want to stock up, too because, we’ll be heading for a pretty bleak summer. Which will be a perfect opportunity for everyone to get out of the house and soak up some rays!

I think I’ll pick up Mario Kart (because I’m a Nintendo whore and I can’t help myself) and Grand Theft Auto IV. Pretty interesting contrast there, wouldn’t you agree? Blue shells or baseball bats, what’s your weapon of choice?

Are you planning on picking anything up this month?

Monday Madness?

It’s Monday and it’s time to get mad. Well, not really. It’s great to be hydrated and back in the land of the living. wash your hands and don’t eat poop.

First, the University of Michigan has created the COM-BAT. What is it? It’s a six inch robotic spy plane shapes like a, well, you know, a bat. Pics and coolness.

I like LEGOs. I like Assassin’s Creed. Chocolate and peanut butter. Take a leap of faith.

Please try the demo to Trials 2. I bet you’ll buy the game. If anything, watch the video. It’s…neat. Physics.

Spirit, the Mars Rover left to die before it’s time? I don’t think many will disagree that these rovers were probably some of the greatest engineering ever done by and for NASA. Godspeed, Spirit.

Finally, a car maker does something cool for the gamer crowd. The Pontiac G8 meets Spy Hunter. I love the Peter Gunn theme.

What we’re playing (Weekend Edition)

It’s the weekend and it’s time to get geared up for a great weekend of gaming! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these so I’ve got some catching up to do. I know Nat hasn’t been feeling well, so I’ll let him fill us in on what he’s been playing whenever he feels like it.

As for me, I’ve been pretty busy. After reading Nat’s (and everyone else’s) attempts to actually finish a few games, I took it to heart and placed a self-imposed rule that I had to finish something, anything, before I picked up a new game. I really wanted to get Burnout Paradise, so I gave it the college try and decided to wrap up some loose ends.

Even though you never really “finish” Pokemon Diamond, per se, there is an end to the game, which after consulting GameFAQs once or twice, I finally made it to. I found and finally finished off the last bad guys. It was fairly easy and quite anticlimatic. But it is the first Pokemon game I’ve “finished” so there’s that. I think my Pokedex was more than half full which flies in the face of the mantra of collect them all, but I’m only human. I’m not waiting around for a convenient Friday just to catch a pocket monster.

I also managed to finish the single player campaign in Halo 3 (On Heroic, mind you). I hated the sphincter level, but the last level was most enjoyable. A true homage to the Halo series. The ending was infinity times better than Halo 2’s ending.

Halo 3

Yes it was.

But now I’m done with those two games. Sure, I still play Halo 3 multiplayer like it’s my job, but I doubt I’ll be doing the single player much more except to find the skulls. Maybe I’ll do co-op with someone to get the achievements, but that’s about it.

So here’s what I’m playing:

Burnout ParadiseBurnout Paradise: I’m a few months behind the curve on this one, but I am loving Burnout Paradise. Burnout’s trademark speed and pedal-to-the-metal is still there, with the added open world. I haven’t stopped grinning since I started playing this one. I haven’t played with anyone online yet, but I can definitely see that being a blast. I miss crash mode but showtime mode is a decent replacement.

Super Mario Galaxy and NSMB: Again, I’m a few months behind the curve with SMG, but I can’t get enough of this. A little while ago, my 3 year-old started watching me play NSMB on the DS and wanted to try it. He isn’t bad (for a 3 y/o) and he really likes the Mario character. My daughter loves Princess Peach (duh) so our new past time is to play Super Mario Galaxy. This is another one of those games that are just plain fun. The platforming has been taken to another level with the galaxy concept. I love it. Being able to have my daughter join in the fun with the other Wii-mote is perfect. I’ve gathered 22 stars so far and I don’t want to stop any time soon.

I’ve also been playing a handful of web-based flash games (a few I’m too ashamed to admit to playing, others I’m saving for future blog posts) all in the name of “research”. And of course I can’t go to bed until I get in a game of Spider Solitaire and Tetris.

This weekend I’ll be playing Burnout and SMG, and hopefully getting back to my Mass Effect save. Should be a busy weekend.

NAT: I’ve been playing the “stay hydrated and gain my weight back” game (PSA: wash your hands). Actually, two nights ago, I finally took the cellophane off my copy of Mass Effect. My initial impression is that it’s cinematic. Even though we purchased Brawl, we must be the only home in America that’s just not sucked in by it. We’ve played it a total of two nights. My son has been keeping me busy with a few racing games: Cars, Cars:Maternational, Forza 2, and a couple of the Burnouts. However, mostly, I’ve been playing Bully: Scholarship Edition. It’s been a hoot. Last night, I popped Geometry Wars Galaxies into the Wii and now I have an itch to play a lot of that. This may seem like a lot of titles, but for me, it’s only been 5-15 minutes at a time.

What are you playing?