Friday, August 6, 2010


Hello and Welcome!

I know it has been a while, but I wanted to let you guys know about a charity event starting today to raise money for kids with cancer. WoW4Cure is a gaming marathon in which the Noobs4Hope will be playing World of Warcraft non-stop until they reach level 40.

The Charity they are promoting is CURE. Check their website for more information on CURE (it is also on the

If you want to donate money for this worthy cause hit their ChipIn (Money goes directly to CURE's account).

If you want to watch the action, here is the Ustream:

Free TV : Ustream

Free TV : Ustream

Hit the images below to link to their respective sites:

Please support this worthy cause!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Free Month of Gamefly.

Hi Guys,

Long time no write.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that Gamefly is giving a way a free month of its service.

Just click my refferal link below to redeem it.

Free Month of Gamefly!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mario Marathon 2 charity event.

Hello and welcome!

I just wanted to let you guys know about a charity event that the guys over at are putting on.  They are playing through all of the Mario games and based on the amount of money they recieve for the charity , , They will continue playing based on the amount of money they accrue.   So far they have been playing for 48 hours, and have raised $12,000 + so far.

You can catch the live web-stream of the guys playing below, or on their website:

They have a paypal link on the site that you can use to donate.

For more about childs play, check Child's Play Charity.

Check it out and donate!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Review: Too Human.

Hello and Welcome!

I know, amazing isn't it? another blog post!

I got Too Human when it was on sale a while back, with the hopes that I could play with Nate and his brother.  And that is where the drama begins...

Ah yes, the Drama.  You see, I thought that Too Human was a multi-player game.  You know, multiple players. As in, More than 2.  Yeah, that was not the case (though the initial information about the game said it would be 4 players) , leaving me to play it on my own, while the two brothers played together.
The game itself (maybe not this iteration, but the title in general) has been in development for 10 years or so, with the last 3 years being the title we have today.  Part of this delay was reported by Silicon Knights (the Developer) as difficulties with the Unreal 3 Engine.  Opting to use their own engine (and sparking a lawsuit, and counter lawsuit From Epic Games) Silicon Knights finally released the game in late 2008, as the first part of a Trilogy, maybe...
This game wants very badly to be a great game.  Unfortunately there are many technical difficulties and annoyances which prevent that greatness from shining through.  It also seems to lack the polish that one might expect from a Microsoft Game Studios title. Anyway, I am going to break it down for you in the style of old reviews:
The concept behind Too Human's game play was interesting in theory.  Rather than mash the a,b,x,y buttons to pull of attacks you use the Analog sticks.  It sounds awesome, I know.  Unfortunately it was not implemented very well and you, more often than not, are just holding the stick in the direction of the enemy.  Not very exciting.
However, it may have been more interesting if you attacks did damage more than 25 % of the time... Easily 3 out of 4 times, my attacks do NO damage, as if I am not even hitting the enemies.  Which leads to me dying, a lot.
Ah yes, dying.  You know something is wrong with your game balance, when you have to put an achievement for DYING 100 TIMES.  Seriously, WTF were they thinking.  The fact that I had barely scratched the surface of the 4th and last area, and already acquired this 'achievement' is a clear sign that the balance of this game was broken.
Other than that, the skill upgrade system is laughable, and barely worth mention.
The Enemy variety is anything but.  The only Variety  enemies have are their polarity (Ice, Poison, Fire, etc).  But aside from bosses I would not put the number of different enemy models at more than 10.
Really for me the only redeeming factor was the loot drop aspect of the game.  Being the loot whore that I am, I enjoy getting a new weapon, or a new peice of armor.  Unfortunately, again, they did not balance that part, so my only good point is barely good.  Getting a new piece of armor every 5 seconds and only 2 percent of that actually being good just isnt fun.
Man, I think there could have been a really good story here, but it is told through disjointed cutscenes and difficult to hear environmental dialog so it ends up janky and hard to follow.
THE SOUND IN THIS GAME IS CRAP.  Ok, that is not fair.  The sound effects and Music in this game are quite good.  The mixing how ever is atrocious.   My tone-deaf Luddite of a sister could mix better than that.  Why is it bad you ask?
  • The in game dialog cannot be heard over any noise other than the music.  Even when you adjust the levels.
  • Everytime you get a rare item an musical audio sample plays to let you know. THIS SAMPLE PLAYS AT 11.  It is so deafeningly loud compared to the rest of the audio, you have to turn the sound down to compensate (which further compounds the first problem)
  • It is clear they tried to create dynamic dialog from your co-horts and peons in the game, but by the time you clear a world you have heard the same corny drivel 20 times each. 
The graphics in this game are actually ok, aside from the awkward cutscenes.  The armors you get are distinct and you can tell the difference easily between the styles and the colors.
The environments are pretty repetitive, but don't look too bad.  It is mostly just bad level design.

I kept trying to convince myself that I was having fun just collecting Items in this game.  But I think I only convinced myself enough to finish the game.

Do I recommend buying this Game?  Even at $10 it is hard to recommend.  Do I recommend playing it?  Again, very hard to recommend unless you just REALLY like getting loot, and maybe are a masochist.

This game is supposed to be part of a trilogy.  I really hope that they DO make an second and third game.  Hopefully they will take the story and fix all the gameplay elements to make a good game.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

FreePlay: Phyta

Hello and Welcome.

Today I wanted to talk about a beautiful non-game called Phyta.

 Phyta is the latest creation from Cambrian Games.  On the most superficial level it is a 'game' where you control a small sun which coaxes a black vine to grow.  Using this vine you attempt to capture  golden 'angels'.  Once captured, the angels empower your sun.  This allows for your fine to grow faster, and more tendrils.  After 5 or so captured angels, you progress to the next 'level' which has a different type of angel.  Check out the video below to see how the game plays.
The ascetic of this game is so simple, yet so beautiful.  That combined with the beautiful (and repeating) guitar/violin track have had me playing this game for hours.
On a higher level, I think this game is really about desire. The vine desires the sun, and to capture the beautiful angels.  I also can't help but feel that you, as the vine, are not necessarily the good entitiy in this presentation.  It actually cursorily reminds me of Shadow of the Collosus
Anyway, I highly recommend you check the game out.  It is available to download for Windows and Linux.
And since there is no Readme or instructions with the game, I will give you a little hint:  The Vine follows your sun which is moved by moving the mouse pointer.  However, if you hold the left mouse button, the vine will grow faster, but thinner.  This is good for catching up to some of the later Angels.  Also, holding the right mouse button will cause your vine to sprout leaves.  These are good for capturing some of the later angels that can pass through thin vines.

Monday, May 18, 2009

8-bit Fatalities.

Hello and Welcome.

I just wanted to share with you an intersting art project I came accross:

This is a collection of paintings by flickr user   It is a more graphic look at all those 8-bit murders you commited as a kid.   Now, feel some remorse you evil, evil person!  Oh, and while you are wallowing in your own murderous misery, check out the full gallery.
P.S.  My personal Favorite is the Final Fantasy Black mage.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Deal of the Day: Blue Dragon.

Hello and Welcome.

Just wanted to post a quick note about a deal that I saw today.

You can get Blue Dragon for 10.99 from NewEgg. With free Shipping.

Seems like a pretty good deal, even if the game didn't get that great of a response. I already picked up my copy. :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Free Dawn of War 2 Soundtrack!

Hello and Welcome,

Just wanted to post a quick note, that Relic is giving away the Dawn of War 2 Soundtrack free.

I Downloaded it and checked it out.  It sounds pretty epic.

You can get it on Steam or from here.

Grab it while it is free.  Heck, grab the game while you are at it, it is pretty awesome.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Battlefield Heroes, and Contest.

Hello and Welcome.

Ok, We are going to have our First ever contest! Details later in the post. But first, let's talk about Battlefield:Heroes, Shall we?

Currently BF:Heroes is still in closed Beta, but if you are lucky, you can sign up and they will send you a Beta Key, eventually.

The premise behind BF:Heroes is similar to Team Fortress 2, Cartoon shooter with different classes. Pretty basic, and really fun.

It differes a bit from TF2 in that you can customize your character with different cloths, Emotes, and Widgets (bonus XP, healing items, etc). Similiarly, you can gain additional weapons with which to lay down the hurt. You also gain levels and new skills as you progress through matches and can do missions, which net you points to buy things in the BF:H store.

Unfortunately, (but intelligently by Dice/EA) all of the interesting clothing etc has to be purchased with BF points. These points equate to actual dollars in the game. Even worse, very few things are permanant, rather they all have a 7-30 day timer on them. So even if you buy that awesome Ninja/Pirate costume, you are going to have to fork over the money again in a month.

Aside from the BF point items the other items also have a timer. The smart play on Dice/EA's part, is that the more you play, the more points you earn, thus keeping your items etc.

Once this game goes live, it will be free to play, so look for it then.

Okay, now for the contest! We are going to give away a free BF:Heroes Beta Key to one lucky person! (hopefully the key works. :P)

To enter, leave a comment with your idea for the craziest, funniest, or coolest BF:H costume. There are already some great costume choices, so whatever you guys come up with will have to be good!

I will select the winner after one week (Wednesday, May 6th). Good Luck!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wow, I suck.

Ok, I Know.

I suck, I haven't posted in about 2 months.  Right after I redesigned the site.

I promise to work harder and post more for you!  Infact, you will get something today.  So stay tuned!


Monday, February 23, 2009

I missed you too.

Hello and Welcome.

Well you know I have been working on the site, yeah but what ELSE have I been doing?

I played a few games, and my thoughts on those:

Dead Space:
Really loved this game.  Great setting.  It really kept the mood throughout the game.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed:
I actually liked the Force Unleashed.  I hear some people saying they had a lot of trouble with the Star Destroyer pull, but I finished it in about 5 minutes, AND I didn't fight any of the Tie Fighters.

Prince Of Persia:
Basically a glorified cutscene.  I got through most of the game just by tapping the A button.  I did like the narrative, and how they told the story (through little conversations between the Prince and Elika).  But it was basically like watching a movie.  And I had to stop playing it because I got to a game breaking bug that would not let me proceed.
Mirror's Edge:
Oh god, I still don't know how I feel about this one.  The Mirror opposite of Prince of Persia (Get it, mirror, ha ha).  This game kicked my butt.  When I was moving, and jumping and climbing, it was one of the best experiences In games I have had in a long time.  When I stopped, well, lets just say all the happy feelings stopped too.
Chrono Trigger:
One of my Favorite RPGS EVER.  I will write more about this later.
Phantasy Star Universe:
The Spiritual followup to Phantasy Star Online.  There are a lot of things I like about this game over PSO.  But there seem to be a lot more things that are frustrating about it.  I think most of that comes from the Single player mode.  More on this later.
Phantasy Star Portable Demo:
This demo gets a special mention, because I spent a large number of hours playing it.  Same premise as PSU (Same engine as well) but on the PSP.  Its actually a sequel to PSU, but you get to make your own character.  You play through the very first part of the single player story, and can play "Multiplayer" (by yourself, like I did.) up to level 20.  The nice thing about this demo: any progress you make transfers into the retail product when it is released next month.  More demo's should do this.
Gears of War 2:
As of yet I have only played the multiplayer options, but I am really liking it so far.
Call of Duty World at War:
Meh, I prefer COD4
Rockband 2:
More of the same, but that isn't a bad thing.
Monster Hunter Portable 2:
At first I didn't really like this game, but I am really getting into it now that I am making my own armor and weapons.
Burnout Revenge:
A Bit of Classic style burnout as well.
Civilization Revolutions:
A WAY dumbed down version of CIV, but still really fun.

Read Some Books:
Making Sense of Japanese:
This is a must read for anyone studying Japanese grammar.  This book is brilliant, and funny.
Still Enjoying this series.  I now know who the Adversary is!


Love it.

Watching some shows:
Dr. Who:
This show is AWESOME.  I highly recommend it, if you have netflix, the first 3 seasons are on instant watch.
Still haven't watched any of the current season, but I am caught up till there.
BattleStar Galactica:
Again, not the current season (4.5).  I still love this show.

And one sad thing:  I lost my DS. :(

So, let me apologize, I know that wasn't the most intriguing thing to read.  Word Vomit rarely is.  I just needed to get it off my chest, OK?  Now I can actually write about some good stuff!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Upcoming Rock Band DLC

Up on the Rock Band forums, Harmonix has announced the DLC for next week and I must say that I couldn't be happier.


Drive By Truckers: 3 Dimes Down
Lucinda Williams: Can't Let Go
Neko Case: People Got a Lot of Nerve
Old 97s: Time Bomb (LIVE)
Steve Earle: Satellite Radio

Jimmy Eat World: Futures
Jimmy Eat World: Lucky Denver Mint
Jimmy Eat World: Sweetness

All tracks are masters.

$1.99 (160 Microsoft Points) per track
$8.49 (680 Microsoft Points) for Alt Country Pack
$5.49 (440 Microsoft Points) for Jimmy Eat World Pack

While, I personally couldn't care about the Alt Country Pack, more Jimmy Eat World is always a good thing, and those three songs are some of what I've been dreaming of playing on Rock Band ever since I picked up a plastic guitar.

- Nate

The New Look

Hello and welcome.

Finally some real content on this blog.  I am sure that you have been wondering what we have been up to for the last 2 months! (Admit it, you were curious.)

Well, as you can see, I have been working diligently on making the ascetic of this blog a little more pleasing.

Walk with me, I will give you the tour.

New logo:

Thought I would make an actual logo for the site.  Stylisticly it may not be the most original thing, but it definitely fits with our crude awesomeness.  Can you figure out what all the letters are from? (Don't post it in the comments, I might have a contest! With a prize!)

New Categories:
 As you can see, we now have more links to our different article types.  The original five are still around: DLC, New Release, Unplugged, Retro, and Freeplay.  And we have added a few more: Japan (For japan only, or related info), News (for uh.. News?), and WTF (for anything crazy or random we decide to share!)  Plus, check out those slick Icons I 'made'. Can you figure them all out?

Useless information gathering!  New one each week.  Don't let the simple nature of these polls decieve you.  There is a darker underlying purpose behind them.


Our 360 gamer card info.  If you want to add us, just make sure you say it was from NerdNats!


The (referral) link to my Goozex profile.   (More on that later!)  Join up through my link please!

And Twitters from each of us:

Well, that is it for now.  Next post will be about what I have been Playing/Reading these past few months.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

I'm a blog, I'm a Blog, Oh the Blog is back!

Hello and Welcome!
Hopefully you all got my awesome Reference from that title.
I know, I know. It's been too long. Busy month(s) and all.
Rest assured, We are back and with a vengeance! I have a slew of things I want to write about, plus we are changing the format.
No more "DLC Mondays" "New Release Tuesdays" etc. We will still write about those things, but we are not going to restrict ourselves to certain days and amounts. If I want to write 6 stories in a day, well I will, and if I don't for a week, well I won't.
Also, I have been working on a redesign to the look of the site. We have a new logo, and links to different topic types. Plus we have added twitter feeds and other little touches.
I will make it live this evening, so have a look!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Time for a Break.

Hello and Welcome.

I just wanted to let you guys know, that we are going to take a break for a while.  There are lots of reasons,  Work, Health, The Holidays, (too many effing games to play.)  But don't worry, We will be back soon.  This is actually kind of hard for me to do even temporarily, but I think it will be for the better.

I am working on a plan for reimagining this blog.  The format we have now is a bit too constrictive to me.  I have found that I wanted to write about a number of different things, but since they didn't fit the mold, I postponed or never wrote on them.  Plus only once a day sometimes wasnt enough (or it was too much.).

I also will be working on a much nice Ascetic (and maybe new name!)  Don't worry though, the address will the same.

Anyway, my new years resolution is to make this place fun again (for me and you).  Thanks for everyone that has read this blog in the past few months, I have definitely been suprised at the number and randomness of people who have visited!  Thanks!

See ya in a few!

[UPDATE] In the meantime, head over to Nate's Blog.  He posts on some of the same things we post here, but it is a slightly wider perspective than (mostly) video Games.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Unplugged Wednesday - Walking Dead

Hello and Welcome.

Well, I originally wanted to write about World War Z or the Zombie Survival Guide (both by Max Brooks), but I haven't read enough yet to give a good opinion on it (only to say that I love it, and it is a thinly veiled political commentary).  Instead, we are going to post a peice that Nate wrote on Walking Dead a while back.  Enjoy!


Quick, name two things that are awesome. Zombies you say? I think I heard comics from somewhere in the back. Zombies and comics actually make the perfect match. First up, because I have to make a throwaway mention to the fantastic cover art, the Marvel Zombies comics are decent. The plot is funny and the art is really good, but there is really no substance beyond that. The zombie comic I'm here to talk about is one that I've been behind for about 2 or 3 years now: The Walking Dead.

All of the best zombie stories aren't just about zombies. The zombies are just a backdrop for the artist to build a canvas to tell the story of humans and the way they respond to fear or catastrophe, and The Walking Dead is extremely good at this. Yeah, there are some really great scenes of zombies getting their heads chopped off and people getting all eaten up, but the true strength of the series is the characters.

The story revolves around Rick, who was a police officer in a small Georgia town (yay) when he was shot and fell into a coma. When Rick wakes up, the dead have risen and his hospital and town have been overrun by zombies. Rick then leaves to head to Atlanta to (hopefully) find his wife and son. What follows is a fantastically well written survival story, not just of Rick, but of the people he encounters. They are constantly facing trouble within the pages, but this rarely comes from the zombies (at least later on). The survivors are forced to learn how to create their own society in a post-apocalyptic world, and the author (Robert Kirkman) does a great job in pulling all the difficulties together. Also, seeing as this is a comic, I cannot neglect the wonderful art style. The entire series is done in beautiful black and white that perfectly matches the mood of the writing.

Since I don't have a comic shop around here, I've been getting the series as it comes out in collected trade form and I'm up through Volume 8, so that's what I'm currently talking about. The series does a great job of changing everything each few issues (I don't want to spoil everything, since I think it would be a good idea for everyone who likes zombies to go ahead and pick this up). Pretty much all I'm trying to say here is that if you like zombies, this is some of the best stuff out there (outside of the two Max Brooks books - which will be discussed at some point soon, I should think), and you should be reading it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Release Tuesday: Left 4 Dead

Ever since I heard of its existence, I have been waiting to play Left 4 Dead. When the demo finally came out a few weeks back, I logged in and played the 30 minute piece nearly 20 times all the way through on all of the difficulty levels. Needless to say, when my copy arrived last week, I peed myself.

It must be said starting out that this game is not meant to be played single player. Although the AI characters do a great job of making smart decisions and healing you (and each other) when necessary, it is nowhere near as fun to play with the computer as it is to play with friends. Friends make mistakes (sometimes on purpose), and friends know how to communicate best with you.

Outside of the horde of regular zombies that you must fight your way past as you move to the rescue station or safe house, the game introduces 5 super zombies to make your journey that much more difficult. Smokers and Hunters are similar, in that they will lurk in the dark and try to either pounce on you (Hunters) or grab you with their tongue (Smokers) at that exact moment that you weren't paying attention and deal out some damage before your buddies can rescue you. Boomers will wait just around a corner just for the chance to either vomit on you, or be close enough that when you kill them, they explode on you. Outside of this being pretty disgusting, it also draws the horde directly to you and you have to fight them off while being temporarily blinded by the green gunk all over the screen.

The final two super zombies are complete bullet sinks and require a bit of work to get past. The Tank is exactly what he sound like - huge and nigh-unstoppable. He requires that everyone in the group focus on him until he drops, because if he gets close to anyone, there is little chance that they can get away without being injured in some capacity or another. Finally, the Witch is best left undisturbed. As soon as you start to hear crying, cut your lights off and keep your eyes open. If the Witch gets disturbed by you shooting next to her or your lights flashing on her, whoever did it, is incapacitated in one hit, and if everyone isn't fast enough to take her down after that, that person is dead.

Now, all of these super zombies (except the Witch) are controllable in the Versus mode, but since I haven't had enough time to sink into that mode, I can't comment much on it yet (I've been spending my time trying to survive the story modes).

Speaking of story, although it isn't necessary at all since all you do is try to survive from point A to point B and call in the rescue, Valve has done an awesome job with telling the story just through the environment. Any time I get to a safe house, I have to hang around for a good 5 minutes to read everything that is written on the walls. Sometimes it provides some hints for gameplay (like avoiding the witches), but largely it just gives the entire world some depth, as you read about people who couldn't wait any longer for a loved one or people who have left their theories on the time it takes to turn into a zombie.

Valve is all about making quality games, and Left 4 Dead is no exception. It is the best zombie game I've ever played.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Zombie Week.

Hello and welcome.

Well, We don't really have a good update for today. As Zombies!!! isn't out yet, nor is there any DLC for Left 4 Dead, and the GTA IV Zombies thing isn't official yet.

So, Just letting you know that it is zombie week here.  Hope you are looking forward to it!

Make sure you get a lot to eat this week, cause you are gonna need it to fight the invasion!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unplugged Wednesday - Holiday Gift Guide.

Hello and Welcome.

In light of all the holiday gift guides other websites are putting together, we totally think we can do better.

So here is our list of the 10 essential gifts for your nerd (or yourself for that matter). Click the Pictures of the names to see the websites.

Tender Rondo

Tender Rondo is a game from the Merchants of Cool. Features from the game are:
-- Action-RPG based on an anime that's already popular in Japan and is set to debut on the Cartoon Network in 2009.
-- Highly sensitive, highly reluctant teen hero: Rondo's sensitive emotions create special powers, which come in handy when the evil Joy Kill Korporation sends shock troops into his village. Rondo's kidnapped neighbors and relatives are drained of their emotions, which power a doomsday machine set to destroy the planet. Not if Rondo can help it.
-- Rondo's attacks are based on human emotions: Fear attacks are the yellow button (Y), rage attacks are the red button (B), sadness attacks are the blue button (X), and envy attacks, which strip the enemy of loot and weapons, are the green button (A).
-- The music is by legendary composer Hiroaki Kokotake-san, who promised in his contract to create "music of devastating beauty and tremendous power."

Covenant Energy Sword.

Do you have an angry 13 year old Halo 3 Nerd(or are you one)? Why not take out your aggression on your parents with this life size replica of the Covenant Energy Sword? Make sure your reticule turns red before you attack!

Electronic Drum Kit...Shirt

Have you ever felt that all that gorillia chest beating you do could be used to better use? Well know it can, with your very own Drum Kit...Shirt. Who needs Rockband when you can do this on the go?

Dismember Me Zombie

Are you feeling that Left 4 Dead isn't honing your skills well enough? Are you looking for a practical approach to the methods in the Zombie Survival Guide? Then check out this anatomically correct zombie doll.

Natural Harvest Cook Book.
Wow, just wow. I am so appalled by this, I can't even be funny. Check out the link... if you are brave...

The Manga Bible
For the uninitiated, Manga is the Japanese word for comics. This is the best way to trick young readers (or any Otaku) into reading the bible. No... Really... Its just a comic book... Look, there are plagues, wars, and look this dude rises from the dead. CLEARLY zombie.
Also, if the old testament isn't your style, try the Manga Messiah

Manga Guide to Databases

The Bible not your thing? Tired of your computer Science Database class? Does Database theory got you down? Well no more with the Manga Guide to Databases. Great gift for that extreme Nerd in your family. (*ahem*).

World Of Warcraft Night Elf Ears
Have you always wanted to be a night elf, blood elf, Orc, or Tauren? Then you should totally check out these prosthetic elf ears. All joking aside, on the right person, these look awesome (with the full costume of course. ;) ).

Want to be cool and have tattoo sleeves, without all the bleeding and pain? Tattoo sleeves are the answer. Let me tell you, these work, I use them every time I go to a biker bar, just to toughen myself up a bit.

Well, that is it (sorry, only 9 items, not 10). For fun, imagine wearing all the apparel while reading the books, playing the game, and dismembering the zombie with the sword!

Good luck!


    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    New Release Tuesday - 360 NXE

    Hello and Welcome!

    Today we are going to talk about the New Xbox Experience. Ok, Ok, I know it isn't a game, but it will change how you interact with you 360 significantly.

    My Avatar

    Nate's Avatar

    The NXE is set to drop tomorrow (Nov. 19) and will completely replace the 'Blades' that you currently see.

    So, What do you get with the NXE? To me it is a combination of the Mii's from Wii, and Playstaion 3's (as of yet unreleased) Home.

    The main features are:

    Avatars - Mii like characters that represent your GamerTag. The design for the Avatars was done by Rare.

    Netflix - For those of you who didn't by the Roku Media Player, you finally get your Netflix streamed to the 360.

    Online Marketplace - Now you can buy your games for download on the Marketplace and they will start auto downloading! (exciting for me, hopefully they will have the demos as well.)

    Party Mode - Lets you connect to 7 other people and share photos, vote and voice chat, play games (and watch your avatars respond to each other)

    UPDATE: User Generated Content: With Microsoft's XNA users can now create, share and vote on user generated games! Look forward to Nerd Nats!

    UPDATE 2: Oh yeah, you can also load a portion of you Games to the HDD for faster loading.

    All in all it should be neat. We'll let you know our impressions after we play with it a bit.


    Monday, November 17, 2008

    DLC Monday - Spore: Extra Limbs!

    Hello and Welcome.

    Are you ready to get back that Arm and Leg you paid for Spore?  Well EA decided to give you 24 for free!

    Mega Man needs new arms
    These free parts are part of the 3 patch to be released since the games initial release.  Its nice to see them giving something for free.  There were also a few minor bug fixes.  You can read more about the patch here.  They also added the ability to have unique screen names for each member of your house hold (now I don't have to share my wife's!)

    Don't worry though,  EA isn't THAT nice.  They can't give you everything for free.   With the announcement of this patch, they also announced the Spore Creepy & Cute parts pack.  This game has been out for only two months and they are already releasing add-ons.   Seems they are going the same route as the Sims games.

    The parts are 'Exoskeleton' arms and legs.   They will help give you creature that nice armored or skeletal look you had to force with the in game armor, or random parts.   Check out a montage of the parts below:

    Anyway, I am off to create some new freaky creatures!  Stay tuned to my SporeCasts for more updates!


    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    Retro Thursday - MegaMan X4

    Hello and Welcome.

    This week's Retro Thursday we will talk about one of my Favorites: MegaMan X4.

    X4 was the first entry on the PlayStation and brought with it a few new conventions.  For one, X and Zero grew a little taller, and had more of a contemporary anime look to their sprites. It also added anime cut-scenes to tell key parts of the 'story'.  The most notable feature however, is the ability to play the entire game as Zero.
    X4 Opening Cinematic
    Aside from these extra features, X4 was pretty much more of the same:  8 Maverick Bosses with the same weakness systems that made MegaMan great, X's upgradeable armor, and chargeable enemy weapons.
    Despite all that, or maybe because of, this is my favorite MegaManX game.  Playing as X is fun as always, due to the ability to upgrade, but Playing the game again (or the first time) as Zero is where I got the most challenge and enjoyment.
    Zero's arsenal consists of different sword attacks gleaned from defeated Mavericks.  All of these sword attacks are (obviously) melee attacks, so you can't attack from a safe distance like X.  It makes for a challenging and rewarding combat for sure.
    X4 is available as part of the MegaMan X collection for PS2 and GameCube (it's probably less than $20 at your local game retailer).  The collection also has X1-3 and 5-6, plus two games that were released only in Japan.  I think it is MegaMan cart racing or something silly like that.
    Anyway, pick it up, woop up on Sigma with Zero.  You won't be sorry.

    Wednesday, November 12, 2008

    Unplugged Wednesday - Library Edition

    Hello and Welcome.

    Ok, so this weeks unplugged is actually the complete opposite. Its all about the Library being PLUGGED-IN.

    Ok, before I even start on this.  WTF is this poster?  Oh my god, it looks like Gandalf the Purple, the love child of C-3PO and HK-47 (KOTOR),  and Generic Pink Hair Space Pirate Girl (Or maybe U-la-la's sister...).  Oh Wizards of the coast, you positively SLAY me.

    The event is sponsored by the Wizards of the Coast and ILoveLibraries.Org.  It is set to contain a mix of Board and Video Games (Probably Magic the Gathering, and Magic Online...).

    So, How do I feel about this?  Well, as a gamer I think it is exciting that gaming has reached such mainstream attention that Libraries are starting to pay attention.

    On the other hand, as a well rounded individual I am not sure I like it.  I have always looked at my library as a quiet place I could go to study, read, or research without being distracted by my surroundings.  I can imagine someone coming into the library, seeing this event, and walking straight out of the door.

    Of course, I assume this was an inevitable (and not necessarily recent) development considering the growth of the technology age and the internet.  First it was cd's, then Graphic Novels, then DVDS, and now Video Games.  Even my local library has a WEEKLY Wii Wednesday (Other branches have it on different nights, it is a rotating event) so this shouldn't be all that surprising.

    There is another perspective to this as well.  This event will get people (and not just kids) into their libraries and see how libraries have adapted in the last 10 years.

    For a list of participating libraries, try here.

    So, get out of your mom's basement and check it out.  You might make a friend!


    New Release Tuesday - Wii Music

    Hello and Welcome.

    This week we are going to talk about why I don't play my with my Wii anymore. (what?)

    Wii Music is the latest creation by famed Mario (and Zelda, Pikmin) creator Shigeru Miyamoto. However, lately Miyamoto has been content to create stuff that only really appeals to people who did not, on a regular basis, play much if any Video games at all. These things can really only be referred to as Software for the Wii, rather than the oft used moniker "Games". I am of course referring to things like Wii Fit and Wii Music.
    Miyamoto, the Impresario of my cynicism
    Don't get me wrong, I am not saying there is not a place for these "Casual Games". I mean, who am I to challenge Nintendo's right to print money. I just think that there should be a modicum of production value put in these games.
    I tried variable ways of playing this game, and just found myself not enjoying any of it. I played by myself, improvising and Jamming out on songs left and right, but I wasn't having any fun. The main reason behind this is the HORRIBLE public domain set list (there are a few decent licensed songs.. but not many). Sure, there are a few good Nintendo classics: SMB Theme, Zelda theme. But forcing me to play Twinkle Twinkle little star 5 + times as a tutorial, and to unlock stuff in a word: Blows.

    So, Its better in mutliplayer right? WRONG. Even if you are playing with someone with a remotely good sense of rythm and music theory, you still have to rely on their abilty to complement your own freestyling. And if they don't possess any of those skills? I might as well strap the WiiMotes to my dogs forheads and let them wrestle through "Yankee Doodle".

    Ravi, losing his mind over Wii Music

    Anyway, I am going to go play some RockBand. Angry Nerd out.


    Monday, November 10, 2008

    DLC Monday: Mirror's Edge Demo

    Over the past week, I've played through the Mirror's Edge demo about four times. Honestly, I don't think I'll buy the game (but that's more due to money constraints than liking it), but it's definitely a fun demo.

    After breezing through the quick tutorial, you get to whet your appetite for parkour as you play through the first piece of the game. It's a fun ride, and it feels incredibly natural as you use the trigger buttons to bounce from wall to roof to ledge. The controls did take a moment for me to get used to, but once I started really running, it fit the game wonderfully. Once you get to the combat, I kind of felt like things fell apart. I know that you are encouraged to run rather than fight, but when you are required to encounter a baddie all I did was keep hitting the disarm button until I got it right. I'm sure there's more to it as you get better at playing the game, but that's really all I knew how to do at this point.

    Since this is only about the demo, there isn't much else to talk about. I know I'm interested in playing more, but I don't know if it's worth the $60 (although definitely worth it when a price drop hits).

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    Unplugged Wednesday: The Stand (Comic series)

    The Stand is a great book. I haven't read much Stephen King outside of The Dark Tower series, but when I read The Stand earlier this year, I found that I was missing out on a lot. However, this isn't about the original book, instead this is about the new comic book adaptation that Marvel Comics has begun to release. Sadly, since I do not have a good comic shop near me, I've only had the chance to read the first issue.

    On the whole, it's a good adaptation. The art is good and it's not nearly as wordy as the book can be at times, but as I read the issue, I kept getting the feeling that I was missing something. Not that the plot is hard to follow or anything, I just really felt like it was turning out to be The Stand Lite.

    I really think that instead of trying to retell the exact same story as the book, it would have been a bit more interesting for them to take the world that King established in the original novel and use that as a basis for starting different stories to tell. Who knows, that could be the plan down the line, but I didn't really feel like they were going to do that since the issue was basically the first few chapters of the book setting up the same group of characters for the same plotline.

    All that grumbling aside, it's still a good read. I think it will be a good way to get people to read the original novel so that they can get all the extra details. Also, I have hope that in future issues they'll add in little bits that weren't in the book (maybe add in a few side stories or something). That's my hope anyway.

    By the way, since today is the 5th of November, go read V for Vendetta tonight.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    New Release Tuesday - Fallout 3

    Hello and Welcome.

    This will be our first entry in "Fallout" week (sorry for missing yesterday...).

    So, lets talk a little bit about Fallout 3 shall we?

    First, a brief history of Fallout.  Fallout was originally developed by Black Isle studios and Interplay, whose most notable games include the Baldur's Gate series..  The rights to Fallout 3 where sold to Bethesda (makers of The Elder Scrolls Games: Morrowind, and Oblivion being the most recent.)
    The previous versions of Fallout where Isometric Turn-Based RPGS.  Fallout 3 takes the system used in Oblivion, the 1st and 3rd person perspective and twitch based action.  The new feature in Fallout 3's combat system that we didn't see in Oblivion is the V.A.T.S system.  The V.A.T.S. system allows you to spend a set amount of action points to target specific parts of your adversary's body: Head, Torso, right and left, arms and legs, as well as their weapon.  This typically ends in a the targeted body part exploding in a bloody mess.  One hilarious result of these explosions:  each piece of your enemy is searchable.  I found two pieces of armor, a gun, and some ammo in a jaw bone.  A JAW BONE.
    V.A.T.S. in action
    Other than the V.A.T.S. system, combat is inaccurate and annoying.  And don't even think about using the 3rd person view.  It is really only good for watching your character skate around D.C. and looking at his armor.  I find myself running out of ammo and switching to a crappy baseball bat, or board full of nails, which tends to do very little damage very slowly.  This means that I end up losing most of my health during each fight.  This further complicates my situation because I am always low on health items.  And the ones I DO have all increase my radiation levels significantly.
    Visually, Fallout 3 exceeds Oblivion in most aspects.  I say most because there are no lush landscapes that you would expect in a fantasy game.  However, the level of detail in each ruinous city, town, and ravaged landscape is very impressive
    The scope of this game is very ambitous.  With a total of 200 possible endings (though each only minor change from the previous) it should keep people (like me, who tends to get all or most of the endings in games like this) busy for a long time.  The endings are based on choices your character makes through out the game many with far reaching consequences, like setting off the nuclear device in the town of Megaton ( I did. ).
    There are many things in the asthetic of Fallout 3 that reminds me of some other great First Person games recently.  The black humor of all the fallout games, but specifically the radio stations and music (which I love), remind me of Bioshock.  The open areas, and mutated enemies, and general lonliness of most areas reminds me of Half Life 2.
    Though there are some negatives in Fallout 3, in general, my journey from vault 101 across the vast wastelands of post-WW3 Washington D.C. has been an enjoyable one.   If you enjoyed Oblivion, or Bioshock, you will love Fallout 3.

    Friday, October 31, 2008

    Free Play Friday: Fable 2 Webgames

    You want free stuff for your Hero in Fable 2, you say? Well that's easy, just head on over to and you can enjoy a couple quick games that will be pretty rewarding in the long run.

    The first one isn't so much a game as it is an interactive play. As you work your way through, the little puppet gets to make a few good/evil choices that affect which prizes you wind up getting. I went through and did all the good choices and got a doll and some tattoos waiting for me when I went to a specific treasure chest in-game (the one in the Guild Hall, for those wondering). Outside of the fact that you get free prizes for your Hero, the play is actually really cool and looks exactly like it belongs within the world of Fable.

    The second game, Chicken Kickin', is a pain in the ass. Maybe its just my stupid computer, but every time I try to do the game, either the meter loads funkily or I can't aim the chicken right, so I haven't won anything yet. I do know that if you can complete it (or get the target score anyway), you win a nice chicken suit and you can get the title of Chicken Chaser from the town crier for free as well. I'm going to keep trying every once in a while to get the suit from this game, but I won't put too much effort into it, it just winds up being way too frustrating I think.

    The total items you can get from the website are: a book with the Feign Attack expression, a vial of pink dye, a 3 piece chicken suit, 2 Lionhead tattoos (one for face and one for body), and one Hero Doll.

    Finally, even though you don't have to play a webgame for this one, according to Joystiq you can get the free Halo armor for your Hero that was supposed to be exclusive to the Collector's Edition of the game. Joystiq has the information on how to pick yours up here. I signed up, but it says it could take up to 10 days for it to come through, so mine hasn't arrived yet. Although, I did see it on my brother's Hero and I must say it looks pretty cool. However, my Hero will never wear it, because she just looks so awesome in her hot pants and rich woman's shirt.

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    Retro Thursday: Fable: The Lost Chapters

    The first Fable came onto the scene in 2004 and barely a year later was rereleased with extra content and an extra island/ending for the story portion of the game. When I picked it up and began my playthrough, I found an incredibly enjoyable (although sometimes flawed) action -RPG experience.

    The thing that really pushed the game along for me was the fact that the story was completely engaging. I loved the fact that you got to start out as a child (albeit not for too long), and then got to trace the child's journey through training and then work your way up to become the Hero of Albion. The big draw of the good/evil choice scenario was cool enough, but when you get to the main point of the game, all you have to do is make one choice that really effects what road you walk down to the end. I (like usual) went through the first time being a goody-two-shoes, but once I had completed the storyline, I went back and had some fun at the brothels just long enough to get back to neutral territory. It also helped that I would beat my wife until she would divorce me, then remarry her.

    The battle system worked well enough, although I don't think I ever used a ranged weapon during my travels. Magic was definitely a plus to keep around, but I would never use, because I didn't want the white glowy all over me. I know it made sense to put that in as a consequence for using all that power, but I always wished that I had been able to use it the whole game and not worry about how nasty I'd look.

    I also really loved the customization of hair and clothes. Being able to dress my dude up and walk through Bowerstone and see all the ladies fall for his manly awesomeness.... priceless. Again, the only gripe with this is that certain clothes added to your good/evilness, and I kind of wish it hadn't because I would want to wear the badassy assassin clothes, but I didn't want it to take away from my goodness. It's a small complaint, but I definitely felt it while playing.

    Although I never felt that the game ever had everything working perfectly (I would always run into a stupid combat glitch or get stuck on a wall), it was definitely a wonderful play and completely set up a nice framework for Fable 2, which takes everything to the next level extremely well.

    Wednesday, October 29, 2008

    Unplugged Wednesday - Fables

    Hello and Welcome.

    Our third entry in Fable week is actually not related to the Fable series of games.  Today we are going to talk about the Vertigo Comic: Fables.

    I have always been a big fan of alternate interpretations of classic stories.  Gregory MacGuire's Wicked series, The Looking Glass Wars (Alice in Wonderland), and even Stephen King's Dark Tower series to an extent.

    Fables is exactly that.  It is the story of all the people and creatures of legend living in New York city (for the Human Fables) and upstate New York on the "Farm" (for those less than human Fables).

    The Fables are in NYC because they were exiled from their lands by the "Adversary" as he systematically took over their lands with his evil army.  The human fable community is run by the Deputy Mayor, Snow White and her trusty sheriff Bigby "The Big Bad Wolf" who thanks to a glamour, has a human form.  Snow White, and the whole community, deal with any number of situations over the course of the books:  Murders, Revolutions, etc.

    As far as the art goes, it is very detailed and vibrant at times, but still has a somewhat dated look (though I think that is the DC/Image style).  The stories within each arch are very interesting and deal with "Real" problems in the "Mundy" (their name for normal "Mundane" humans) world.  For example,  Rose Red (Snow White's forgotten sister) slept with Prince Charming (SW's husband) and now they are divorced.

    The stories are also often humorous.  One of my Favorites:
    Goldilocks to Papa Bear: "Do you think I share your son's bed only because is happens to be 'Just Right'"?
    Papa Bear: "No, it's because papa's l'il boo bear is hung like a --"

    Anyway, I definitely recommend Fables, if you are in to the alternate version types of stories.

    And if you are REALLY into Fables, you might check out the spin-offs (I haven't):  Jack of Fables (no good Jack of the BeanStalk story), and 1001 Nights of Snowfall: a prequel to Fables.


    Tuesday, October 28, 2008

    New Release Tuesday: Fable 2

    Hello and Welcome.

    For our second entry in Fable week we are going to talk about the newly released Fable 2.

    Before I get started I just want to give you a list of the things I have done so far:

    • Worked as a Blacksmith, Woodcutter, And Bartender, and Bounty Hunter

    • Courted and Married "Jen the Barmaid"  who is described as "Good, Straight, Raunchy, and Unchaste"
    • Bought my first house and made it our Marital home.
    • Attempted to consummate my marriage by having Protected Sex with Jen (come on, she is a "Raunchy, Unchaste" BARMAID),  She didn't like that.
    • Tried again, no protection, she went for that.
    • She immediately got pregnant, and I immediately got an STD.  My character is now a poster child for Safe sex.
    • "Accidentally" lightninged the 5 random people that walked into my home while I was looking at my baby.  The baby and wife got lightninged too.  Oops.
    • Kicked 6 chickens.
    • dyed my clothes and hair with "Red Letter Dye"
    • Posed for multiple statues.
    • Purchased numerous Shops and a few houses, and rented them all out.

    Anyway, I loved the original Fable.  It was one of the gateway games I used to get my wife to play WOW. So I was obviously excited about Fable 2.

    So, what is new about Fable 2?  For one it is significantly larger than its predecessor.  Peter Molyneux has been quoted as saying it is about 10 times as large as the original.  You now have the ability to choose your gender, something that Molyneux desperately wanted in the original.  Within that, as a female character you can become pregnant (and impregnate as a male, obviously) and have children who grow throughout the game. 

    Another new addition to your 'family' is the dog.  The dog can be taught a number of skills (mostly tricks and expressions like your character), but the most notable skills are treasure finding, and combat.

    In the previous Fable, your character would take quests to earn renown and gold.  In Fable 2, quests only net you renown.  To get gold, you must take one of the various jobs: Bartender, Woodcutter, Blacksmith, Assassin, Slaver, Slave Liberator, or Bounty hunter.

    You may also purchase and rent real estate and shops.  With each piece of property, you can change the rent (or rates in a shops case) by a certain percentage.  You can also decorate your houses, etc, with finer furniture to make the basic rate (and selling price) higher.  Higher rates make you more corrupt, where as lower rates make you more pure.  Each piece of property you own pays you the specified rate every 5 minutes of real world time, even when your game is turned off.  Subsequently, your family(ies) deduct a certain amount of your income for household upkeep.

    In the previous Fable, your character's apperance morphed as he progressed in age as well as based on whether he performed Good or Evil deeds.  In Fable 2, these features and others contribute to your appearance:

    • Good or Evil
    • Pure or Corrupt
    • Wealth & Poverty
    • Slim or Fat
    • Young or Old
    The hero's Skill, Will, and Strength attributes play also affect your appearance.  Strength makes the character more muscular, skill affects height, and magic gives the hero glowing blue veins.  Also, any combination of  the above extremes can be combined,  you can have a Good, yet corrupt Fat Cat, or a Pure, evil pauper.

    The main reason that I was excited for Fable 2 was the concept of Offline, and Online Co-op.  I was excited to play this game with my wife, and with my friends.

    Lionhead was unable to complete the online portion before going to print, however, a patch was available on Day 1 of launch to enable this feature.

    Unfortunately, the Multiplayer still sucks.  Both locally and online.  I was really excited to have my hero traipse around in my Wife's world, as well as my friends causing havo... I mean joy, to all of their inhabitants... But no, I have to be one of 6 preset "Henchmen" (good, neutral, evil/Male, female).  Sure, I can import my Hero's abilities and experience as well as take home a portion of the gold and experience I recieve in my friends game.  But that is not enough.  Fable is a game of virtually limitless customization, but I can't show that off.  Bad form Lionhead, bad form.

    There have also been a number of game breaking bugs, but I won't go into detail here.

    These things aren't enough to destroy, or even tarnish past a certain part, my love for this game.  It is still a great game, I just hope they get these bugs fixed (before I find them) and enhance the Multiplayer.

    Well, I am off to adventure in Albion.

    :: Rude Gesture::


    Monday, October 27, 2008

    DLC Monday: Pub Games.

    Hello and Welcome.

    Our first entry in Fable week will focus on the XBLA game:  Fable: Pub Games.

    Pub Games was essentially a way to rack up gold in Fable 2 before the game came out.  It also offered 15 items that could be one from the tournaments in the game.  
    There are 3 different games if Pub Games:  Keystone, Fortune's Tower, and Spinner box.
    Each of these games offers numerous variations on the games and stakes as well as 5 tournaments per game, corresponding to your players star level.  The difference in a tournament game is you are betting against other "Players" and not just the house.

    Keystone is essentially a combination of Roulette and Craps.  You place primary bets on the "Arch Stones" around the top of the game prior to the game starting.  Before each dice roll you place inside bets on the Board, similar to the way you would place bets in Craps.

    And that is what this game is: Craps.   Just like real Roulette or Craps, your odds of winning are painfully low.  I hate this game....

    Anyway, the Prizes you win from the 5 levels of tournaments are:
    • Plaits Hairstyle Card
    • Dog Book: Backflip
    • High Rollers Coat
    • Potion of Will
    • Championship Pistol
    Fortune's Tower
     Fortune's Tower is essentially a type of solitaire (and probably exists in one of those 300 solitaire games collections...). After you make your bets, cards are placed one row at a time, starting with the face down "Tower" card and incrementing one card at a time for each subsequent row. Once a row is placed by the dealer, you have the option of taking the sum of that rows cards as your winnings. Sounds easy right? Well, if a card lines up with any card of the same number on the previous line the game ends and you loose your money.  Each deck has 4 "Hero" cards that can negate this effect if they are dealt in a row.  Also, the Tower Card will automatically be used the first time this happens.  If you make it to the last row without using your Tower card (hero cards are fine) you win the jackpot, which is the sum of ALL cards on the Table.

    This game is by far my favorite because you actually have a chance at winning if you play it smart.

    Ok, the five tournament items for Fortune's Tower are:
    • Deepest Dark Chocolate
    • Sleepmaster 3000 (its a bed, duh)
    • Potion of Strength
    • A Face Tatoo
    • Championship Cutlass.
    Spinner Box is slots.  'nuff said.
    The five tourney items are:
    • Apple Pie
    • Hat, Headband, and Mustache (its a book.)
    • Body Tatoo
    • Potion of Skill
    • Mysterious Ring
    Other than achievement points (like the 0 gamer-score "Fabled Financier") and some items there is not really any point to pub games ( you can play all these games in Fable 2) at this point.  You ESPECIALLY should not get Pub Games if you are planning on paying the 800 Microsoft Points ($10).  It came as a preorder bonus for Fable 2 (the only reason I have it. ;) )  and is definitely not worth $10 bucks...  I recommend hitting up your local Gamestop to see if they have any of the preorder cards left over(mine had like 15).

    Other than that,  the concept of pub games is an interesting one.  The fact that a publisher would allow you to amass wealth in a game (as well as items)  BEFORE it is released is a bold concept (especially considering it shipped with numerous bugs that allowed you to cheat your way to wealth).  I guess it is the wave of the DLC future.