Archives for June 2010

July Releases

It’s July, usually the month of NCAA Football and not a whole lot else.

Xbox 360 banner

Week of July 5th
Crackdown 2 – Of course, there is this one title coming out, you might have heard of it, Crackdown 2? So far, I haven’t been overly impressed. The chatter on Twitter isn’t exactly positive either. I think this will be a Gamefly rental for me. I reserve the right to change my mind on this one.

Week of July 12th
NCAA Football 11 – Recently I haven’t been able to help myself and I have picked up NCAA for the past three years. If all the good vibes I’ve been hearing about this year’s offering are true, it will probably four years in a row. And within three months I’ll be disenchanted with all the nitpicky issues I have with the game and I’ll move on.

Week of July 19th
Little League World Series 2010– PASS

Week of July 26th
Clash of the Titans
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift

Wii banner

Week of July 5th
Tournament of Legends
Big Beach Sports 2
The Cages: Pro Style Batting Practice
Titanic Mysteries
Despicable Me: The Game

Week of July 12th
Wii Calvin Tucker’s Redneck Racing– Ahhh, Rednecks — the last cultural group it’s okay to mock and belittle.

Week of July 19th
Little League World Series Double Play
Trackmania

Week of July 26th
PDC World Championship Darts 2010– UGH with the Dart Games again! What is up with these games? Are they fun? Someone explain this to me!
Chuck E Cheese’s Party Games– Chuck E Cheese? Really?!
Arc Rise Fantasia

Nintendo DS banner

Week of July 5th
Despicable Me: The Game: Minion Mayhem
Titanic Mysteries
Mahjong: Journey Quest for Tikal

Week of July 12th
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky– Dragon Quest on the DS. Who can resist?
River City Sports Challenge– Okay, River City + Sports. Who can resist that?!
Chuck E Cheese’s Party Games– BUZZKILL! Chuck E Cheese game sighted.
The Bachelor: The Videogame– This game can’t possibly be rated Teen, right?
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Week of July 19th
7 Wonders 2
Samantha Swift DS Collection
Trackmania

Week of July 26th
Super Speed Machines
Harvest Moon: Grand Bazaar– You knew it was coming: my thoughts on Harvest Moon.
Farm Frenzy: Animal Country

PC banner

Week of July 5th
Kate Brooks: The Secret Legacy Windows

Week of July 12th
Hunting Unlimited 2011
Farm Frenzy Harvest – 6 Game Premium Pack

Week of July 19th
Lionheart: King’s Crusade
Jekyll and Hyde

Week of July 26th
Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty– Is it even conceivable to release a PC game this month? This is the most anticipated game EVER. EV-ERR. This game is going to melt down the internet.
Alcatraz– Day one sales of Alcatraz: 1.
Wolfschanze 2– This name sounds highly inappropriate.

PS3 banner

Week of July 12th
NCAA Football 11

Week of July 19th
Little League World Series 2010

Week of July 26th
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift
Clash of the Titans

PSP banner

Week of July 5th
Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable
The Warriors
Despicable Me: The Game

Week of July 19th

Week of July 26th

What are you picking up?

(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)

We’ve both said things you’re going to regret [Portal 2]

While some here are eagerly anticipating the latest Japanese-ambiguous game, some anticipate more zombies, some anticipate reaching for something in 2010–this. This. This is my anticipated game for 2011.

I love how he tries to hack into the device. Head on over to the site if you don’t see the video in your RSS reader.

Video Game Power Rankings #8

Just as it was tough to really get a grasp on the world of video games following an E3, it’s equally tough to get a grip on what’s going on out there the week after E3, because is a giant regurgitation of the previous week. That being said, we will try and cope. It’s going to be a little scatter-shot this week but here’s the Power Rankings for the week that was.

1. (-) Dead Rising 2 – So we start out the rankings with devastating news: Dead Rising 2 has been delayed. NOOOOOO!!! I guess this isn’t terrible news. This is going to be a busy summer/fall for games, so waiting for Dead Rising 2 is fine. Of course, there’s that little Bungie game coming out around the same time, so we’ll see how that affects things. It should affect my buying it on Day One.

2. (-) E3 No-shows – E3 2010 is in the bag and only makes one appearance on the power rankings but there were some games that were absent. Was there anything you were hoping to see that wasn’t there?

3. (-) Are Games Art? – We return to this topic not because Roger Ebert has said something recently, but because a new book, Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter. The reviews are mostly positive and this is a book I’ll be adding to my reading list. The topic examined here isn’t only “are games art?,” but also “for games to be considered art, we need better video game criticism.” Blogs were going in that direction, but now those moments are harder and harder to find.

4. (-) Crackdown 2 Demo – The Crackdown 2 Demo hit Xbox Live. I downloaded it, played my 30 minutes (I didn’t bother with the trick to get unlimited demo time) and then I was done. If this wasn’t a sequel, but a brand new game, I think I would have played the demo and moved on, probably not going on to pick up the full game. Bill Harris didn’t care for it, either. The Crackdown Franchise (as it were) has built up a lot of emotional goodwill with me, but if the reviews start coming out negatively, I will definitely wait to pick this one up.

5. (-) Transformers War for Cybertron – On the other end of that spectrum, the Transformers game (which also had a demo recently) is garnering a lot of word of mouth and momentum.

6. (-) Slayer Pinball – Never have so many non-gamers lost their collective minds for a game since Slayer Pinball on the iPad. (On a side note, after a mention on the Gamers with Jobs podcast, I looked into the niche of “Virtual Pinball Machines.” I’ll stick with Metroid Prime Pinball and be happy, but for these guys, this stuff is SERIOUS)

7. (-) Ni no Kuni – If Slayer Pinball got non-gamers hot and bothered, Ni no Kuni got Japanophiles equally so. (Plus it has a DS version!) Pretty.

8. (-) Retro Electronics – Yes, this has been a slow week. Nevertheless, these redesigned electronics as retro 70’s devices is still pretty cool.

9. (-) BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRHHHHHRRRRRRRHHHH – Make the vuvuzelas stop, daddy!

10. (-) Apologies – I can’t get the vuvuzelas out of my head. I apologize in advance.

In My Hands

Saw that Best Buy had Blur going for forty bucks and that Activision was offering twenty bucks off and I couldn’t pass up a good deal.

Weekend Gaming

After my little experiment, I am revitalized, gaming-wise, for the foreseeable future. So I plan to get some good, solid gaming in this weekend. I recently purchased all the in-game content for Mass Effect 2, so I’ve distanced myself a little from the finale of the game but I’m okay with that. I have been having a blast with the game and I’m in no hurry to finish it. That being said, I’m getting antsy to find out how things do end, so I will be making the most of this weekend playing ME2.

I’ve also had a bit of a renaissance playing multiplayer games with our small little group of gamers, so I’ll probably get a little Halo 3 or Modern Warfare 2 in. Or maybe some more Borderlands? Won’t you join us?

What will you be playing this weekend?

Next Generation can wait

Xbox 360 SlimI’ve always worried that the five-year cycle of consoles was going to rear its ugly head soon. Maybe, I thought, it might turn out to be six or seven years, but it was coming. Either way, I’m not ready for the next generation. It definitely looks like we’ve got some time, especially after Chris Lewis, Microsoft’s executive VP of Interactive Entertainment in Europe said, “What you’ve seen is with this new sleek design and Kinect for Xbox 360 we’ve got at least another five years of this generation…”

Music to my ears. Especially when I end up trading in my old, 20 gig Xbox 360 in for a new Slim 360.

Video Game Power Rankings #7

This week’s rankings are going to be a little tougher to do, as there is such a deluge of information to digest during E3 that I usually give up a day or two into the process and just let the wave of information pour over me. Sometimes, dramatic releases and announcements are made. Other times, we’ve heard it all before. But that won’t stop us.

1 & 2. (-) Nintendo – I know it’s pointless to declare a “winner” to E3, but let’s do it for the sake of the argument. Nintendo wins the 2010 E3, for whatever that means. The new Zelda, the combination of Twilight Princess/Wind Waker I’m just not sure it’s going to work. The look of Wind Waker worked because it wasn’t in 3D. It was cartoony and we (at least I) loved it for it.

And then there’s (2) the 3DS, already boasting an impressive launch library. Everything I’ve read and heard has said that the 3DS has to be seen and experienced to believe. After hearing the Giant Bomb guys talking about the Face Ace tech demo for the 3DS, I am already in with both feet for it. You throw in Kid Icarus, a favorite of mine growing up and we’re more or less at the point where Nintendo can do no wrong. Hence, #1 in the VGPR.

3 & 4. (8) Kinect – So if we went off the weird Cirque de Soleil presentation, this wouldn’t have even charted. But everything that they showed after that actually impressed me quite a bit. But a caveat there: what they showed with the Kinect is not gaming, per se. It’s going to sell a lot of 360’s and it’s going to change gaming, but it still isn’t gaming.

Maybe we’re looking at a new “thing”. It’s not gaming, it’s doing. I think Your Shape: Fitness Evolved may make Wii Fit look like old-fashioned jumping jacks. If it gets people off the couch (which it practically forces) then the hundreds of Kinect mini-games are going to be popular. Add into that all the dancing games (something we’ll touch on more later) and I think we’ll be seeing a shift in games. Just as Just Dance was wildly popular with the Wii playing set, games like Dance Central are going to become very popular very quickly.

And that doesn’t even touch on all (4) the real games that were announced or shown-off for the 360. Throw in a whole Red-Ring proof new console, and Microsoft had quite the showing.

5. (-) Sony – I don’t know where to start with Sony. My notes were pretty simple: MOVE MOVE MOVE. Then it was 3D and buy a new TV. Not really sure how that’s going to work out. As Josh points out, it’s clear that Sony has the advantage of simpler compatibility with older games. I was and remain mostly underwhelmed. Getting Steamworks on the PS3, though, could be huge.

6. (- ) Michael Jackson: The Game – This past weekend, the wife and I watched Michael Jackson: This Is It, the last documentary about the King of Pop. He may have been strange (understatement much?) but he was unbelievably talented and unimaginably popular. I may be going out on a huge limb here, but the Michael Jackson: The Game game (ugh, typing that over and over is going to get old) could possibly be bigger than Beatles Rock Band. I know The Beatles have worldwide appeal, but I would say that Michael Jackson’s fame eclipses theirs. Couple that with the popularity of dance games in Asia and MJ’s popularity in those countries and we could have a cultural phenomena. And that’s not even discussing the DLC possibilities. I’m sure Ubisoft has dollar signs for eyeballs already.

7. (-) Epic Mickey – Another thing we watched over the weekend was some old-school Mickey Mouse cartoons, back when Mickey Mouse was a hero, not some moronic CGI freak with a weird house. With someone like Warren Spector at the helm, it’s hard to think that Epic Mickey will be anything but great.

8. (-) The Grinder – This, for me, was the surprise of the show. I was a huge fan of the Hunter: The Reckoning series, so as soon as I saw the banner at the top of this post at Joystiq, I knew that joy was contained therein. And I was right! If this next-generation version of the old hack-slash is any good, I’m up for it. All in the spirit of mindless fun. I don’t need any high-brow story and deep, nuanced characters. Just give me a 2011 version of Gauntlet that isn’t actually Gauntlet, and I’m good.

9. (-) Star Wars: The Old Republic – I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: whoever is doing the Star Wars: The Old Republic trailers should just be making CGI Star Wars movies. I have been mostly out of the MMO game for a few years now, but The Old Republic may pull me back in.

10. (-) This Website – Buttonmashing dot com turned six years old last week. I have to get in a plug for that this week. Thanks for all the readers and commenters over the years.

I know I glossed over tons of stuff at E3. What tickled your fancy?

Toy Story 3 The Video Game

Toy Story 3 The Video Game is accessible for all ages, a good use of Pixar assets (from all their films), and almost spot on in its delivery. Woody is Woody, and Buzz is Buzz. The boys and I have put five combined hours into it already. Toy Box mode? Brilliant.

Experimentation

It may be showing through the lack of posts and uninspired content from me, but lately I have been in a gaming funk. The avatar is willing, but the brain is tired.

So I came up with a little gaming experiment: I decided to play a little bit of every game I currently have in my 360 library (I would love to add a bunch of my new games, but IGN’s Collection Lists aren’t working). I’m ashamed to admit I actually own multiple games that, up until this past weekend, I hadn’t even played. Ever.

Having finished Splinter Cell: Conviction, I wanted to hold an audition to see what game grabbed my attention. What would I play next? Yes, I am very close to finishing Mass Effect 2, and I will be finishing that, but I also want to get back to some other games I had previously started. Or maybe find a hidden gem I hadn’t started yet.

Not my collection, but whoa.

I noticed that after I had made it through the stack that three or four games rose to the top. First and foremost, I couldn’t stop thinking of how much I wanted to get back to playing Borderlands. I don’t know if it was the little numbers bouncing out of the bad guys as I shot them in the face or if it was the never-ending lootfest, but I want to play it and never stop. The other game I wanted to play more of was the Mercenaries side-game (it doesn’t feel right to call it a mini-game) of Resident Evil 5. I am an unabashed Mercenaries lover.

Of the games I hadn’t previously played, I was most taken in by Half Life 2 (of the Orange Box) and Dead Space. It’s a shame it’s taken me this long actually get around to these games, they both seem like they are going to be fun. I was even surprised to find a lot of people playing Team Fortress 2 on the 360, as I previously thought it was dead there.

I know there are a lot of new games I could be playing right now, including crowd favorite Red Dead Redemption. And I will make my way through that game. Plus, there are a few games in the near future I’ll be sinking my teeth into. But for now, I’ve got quite the collection sitting in front of me, waiting to be played.

OnLive Going Live

On June 17th.

Sign up, if that’s going to be your thing. (Personally, I’m good, thanks)