Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Mole: Bill Cowher, Supermodel

The first sign of the Apocolypse is upon us - Pittsburgh Steelers coach Sgt. mean Bill Cowher is now a model. Thankfully, he's keeping all of his clothes on.

On Wednesday, EA Sports announced that the Super Bowl winning coach will be the cover boy for the new football game "NFL Head Coach" to be released June 20th.

I'm not sure which sounds worse, a game based on coaching or looking at one of the most hideous coaches in the NFL every time I go to put my game disc in.

Lets see... a game where your primary duties include pacing a sideline, yelling (and in Cowhers case, spitting while yelling), and watching film for 12 hours a day while ignoring your wife and kids for personal glory. I know the NFL is the country's number one sport but can a game based on being a head coach really be that enthralling? What's next, "NHL Coach"? "NBA Coach", "Little League T-Ball Coach"?

I have some better ideas. There's definetely a market for a "Crazy Tennis Dad" or "Obsessive Compulsive Figure Skating Mom" so why not make those as well.

To be honest, I'm sure this game will be alot better than I think. Its made by EA and those guys know what they're doing. At least I hope they do this time.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Mole

Here are the latest rumors and trends.

Take that Apple! - According to a report in The Mercury News, Microsoft is working on a portable hand held that plays games, music and video that will be released some time in 2007. The team creating the new device is made up of a number of members who worked on the Xbox 360. Details are scant (to non-existent) but it looks like Microsoft is looking to compete with Sony, Nintendo and Apple - especially since Apple is working on the iGame (check earlier posts).

Hubba Hubba - Laura Croft makes her return April 11th with the release of "Tomb Raider Legend" on Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2 and the PC. This is the seventh title in the series that started in 1996.

Zelda Returnz - Late last week Nintendo announced a new Zelda game for the DS, "Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass". The game is set to be released later this year.

It's About Time - Microsoft recently announced it has finally significantly increased its production of Xbox 360 consoles. Up two to three times as many consoles will now be produced. Microsoft has also announced additional content, achievements and maps (through Xbox Live) in "Call of Duty 2", "Kameo", "Project Gotham Racing 3" and "Perfect Dark Zero".

It appears that now that the PS3 release date has been announced, Microsoft wants to get as big a head start in the next-gen gaming war as they can.

Friday, March 24, 2006 there anybody in there...just nod if you can here me...are there any gamers home?

I'm still looking to get a group of local gamers (and by local, I mean anybody who reads this blog) together for some online play. I'm always on the look out for some friendly competition or some people to help me gang up on the helpless masses. I play on an Xbox 360, so I'm limited to people who have Xbox Live. I do have a PS2 but I don't have online service for it. If you're interested, send me a friend invite. My gamer tag is coloradojoe. Below is a list of games that I play online, some more frequently than others.

Xbox - Halo, Knights of the Old Republic, but mostly Halo 2 (please don't send a clan invite, I'm already an overlord in my son's clan)

Xbox 360 - Project Gotham Racing 3, Call of Duty 2, Fight Night Round 3, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, Perfect Dark Zero

P.S. Even if you don't play the same games I have listed, or if you play online with a DS or PS2, list your info in the comments section of this post. Hopefully some other gamers will see it and link up with you.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Best. Top 5. Ever.

The Simpsons, one of the greatest TV shows ever, has spawned a number of video games. Playing as one of pop cultures biggest icons started in 1991 with The Simpsons arcade game by Konami. If you've ever been to an arcade (or a Chuck E. Cheese) you're sure to have seen it. For the most part, Simpsons games have varied from craptacular ("Krustys Super Fun House") to passable ("The Simpsons: Hit and Run").

So with this poor gaming history, why would anyone want to play a Simpsons based game? Because they offer some of the funniest quotes in TV history and guys are quote machines. We're like parrots and we want to hear those famous Simpsons catch phrases if we're going to invest in their game. Just in case Matt Groening is reading this, here are the quotes I'd most like to hear in the next Simpsons game. Let me know your favorites.

Top 5 Homer Simpson Quotes I'd Like to See in the Next Simpsons Video Game

1. I believe children are the future... unless we stop them now!

2. Now that happy moment between the time the lie is told and when it is found out.

3. Stealing? How could you?! Haven’t you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain What’s-his-name? We live in a society of laws. Why do you think I took you to all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well, I didn’t hear anybody laughin’, did you?

4. Good things don't end in 'eum,' they end in 'mania'...or 'teria'.

5. You tried and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Mole

I can't think of any more euphemisms for the latest gaming news so from now on any new gaming rumors will be under the heading "The Mole". Try not to think of that horrible D-list celebrity reality show when you see it.

Turn that Xbox 360 into a home version VH1 - Last Thursday Microsoft announced an agreement with Epic records that makes music videos available to Xbox 360 owners. Every month for the next year, 12 "up and coming artists" will be featured, one new artist each month. This month British singer Natasha Bedingfield (who is taking America by storm according to Microsoft) is the artist of the month. There are no fees for this new feature.

Stan Lee and the Master Chief team up - Bungie and Marvel comics have joined forces to develop a 128 page "Halo" novel (essentially a very long comic book) to be released July of this year. Expect the Master Chief cookbook, "My favorite recipes, Covenant style" to be released later this year.

Surprise! PS3 release delayed until early November - In a move surprising no one, Sony announced the Playstation 3 has been pushed back to an early November release instead of this Spring. Sony also announced their online service, tentatively called the Playstation Network Platform, will have features almost identical to Xbox Live. Surprisingly, Sony stated their base online service will be free. No details were given if there would be a premium service that will require a fee.

Sony PSP price slashing - Sony announced the PSP will drop in price from $250 to $200 at the end of March. I'm sure hoping you didn't buy one recently. The company also announced plans for two new PSP peripherals to be available before the end of the year - a camera and a USB GPS receiver that will work with certain games. Sounds pretty cool.

I told you so! - This morning Microsoft announced it has made its Xbox Live Server Platform available to game developers and publishers. This will allow them more creative control of their titles features available online. Now developers can make changes and add new modes to the online experience. This can also lead to new content and even possibly (here's the 'I told you so' part) entire games being downloaded from Xbox Live. Not that I'm bragging (yes I am) but I called this months ago. See, I know what I'm talking about. At least half of the time.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with Cheats

Time for this weeks set of cheat codes, this time from the very popular PSP game "Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories".

UP, X, X, DOWN, LEFT, X, X, RIGHT - Weapon set 3
L1, R1, TRIANGLE, L1, R1, CIRCLE, L1, R1 - Money Cheat ($250,000)
L1, R1, CIRCLE, L1, R1, X, L1, R1 - Full Armor (Blue Bar)
L1, R1, X, L1, R1, SQUARE, L1, R1 - Full Health (Red Bar)
CIRCLE, X, DOWN, CIRCLE, X, UP, L1, L1 - Cars Drive On Water
L1, L1, LEFT, L1, L1, RIGHT, TRIANGLE, CIRCLE - Spawn Rhino
L1, L1, LEFT, L1, L1, RIGHT, CIRCLE, X - Faster Clock
L1, L1, LEFT, L1, L1, RIGHT, X, SQUARE - Destroy All Cars
L1, L1, R1, L1, L1, R1, LEFT, SQUARE - Peds Riot
L1, L1, R1, L1, L1, R1, UP, TRIANGLE - Peds Attack You
R1, R1, L1, R1, R1, L1, RIGHT, CIRCLE - Peds Have Weapons
L1, UP, LEFT, R1, TRIANGLE, CIRCLE, DOWN, X - Perfect Traction
DOWN, DOWN, DOWN, CIRCLE, CIRCLE, X, L1, R1 - Bobble Head World
DOWN, DOWN, DOWN, X, X, SQUARE, R1, L1 - Upside Down Gameplay
CIRCLE, RIGHT, X, UP, RIGHT, X, L1, SQUARE - Change Bike Tire Size
TRIANGLE, R1, L1, DOWN, DOWN, R1, R1, TRIANGLE - All Vehicles Chrome Plated
UP, UP, UP, TRIANGLE, TRIANGLE, CIRCLE, L1, R1 - Unlock multiplayer skins

Thursday, March 16, 2006

An offer you can't refuse

I'm as giddy as a boy on Christmas morning, The Godfather video game will be released March 21st on the PS2, Xbox and PC. It will be released later this year on the Xbox 360 and the Sony PSP. The game should be great!

This of course makes me ask the question - what other movies would make great video games. Here are my top 5 suggestions. Share some of your ideas.

1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail - Take on the Black Knight ("Its just a fleshwound!"), defeat the dreaded killer rabbit and storm Castle Aaaargh.

2. Caddyshack - This would be a great golf sim. A mix of "Tiger Woods" and "Hot Shots" golf. Sound effects could include "nananananana" when you put and "Its in the hole!" when you make a hole in one.

3. Princess Bride - Giants, monsters, miracles, a six fingered man - whats not to like about this? You could play the game as three characters. Swordsman Inigo, giant Fezzig and the man in black, Wesley.

4. Pulp Fiction - This would be a strange shooter with a goofy storyline. Kind of like a very twisted "Max Payne". An rated M game to be sure.

5. Hoosiers - A basketball sim with motivational clips from Gene Hackman taken from the movie would be great. Cut Ollie from the team and let Jimmy Chitwood single handedly beat every opponent you face.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Nose to the Grindstone

I have no idea how the phrase "nose to the grindstone" came about. It sounds painful. Either way, here's the newest news from the gaming world that my network of spies have to offer.

Rockstar announces...table tennis? - The bad boys of the gaming industry, Rockstar have announced a Table Tennis game for the Xbox 360 to be released in May. No word on whether Forrest Gump is an unlockable player.

Verizon to offer free Xbox Live, two people jump for joy - From March 31 through April 2 Verizon will be providing 72 hours of free online play to Xbox 360 owners. Yawn...forgive me if I'm underwhelmed but I guarantee that almost all of the people who managed to snipe an 360 with a hard drive (its required for online play) already have Xbox Live. Verizon will end up spending a whopping $150 on that weekend. If Verizon really wanted to make an impression, they'd get rid of that annoying "can you hear me now?" guy and replace him with Jennifer Garner or Angelina Jolie.

Get your mullet and leather pants ready - RedOctane CEO Kelly Sumner said that the publisher is planning "five or six" Guitar Hero titles by mid 2007. Mr. Sumner, may I make a suggestion for some tracks to put on the sequel? How about a few Monkees or Partridge Family hits? That way those of us who aren't very coordinated can pretend to play the guitar controller and still look like a stud.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Top 5 Best Uses of Celebrity Voices in Video Games

It used to be rare to find a celebrity attached to a video game. Not any more. Now they even make them (see Vin Diesel).

But a celebrity voice does not a great game make. Christopher Walken has one of best and most recognizable voices in Hollywood, but it didn't make "True Crime" any better. Here are my Top 5 best uses of celebrity voices in video games.

1. Phil Hartman ("Blasto") - Phil Hartman was hilarious! Doing voices for "The Simpsons" was a natural segue into video games. He could read a cook book and I'd think it was funny. I don't know why more comedians don't do this.

2. Ray Liotta (Tommy Vercetti in "GTA: Vice City") - Another case of an actor making a perfect transition from his on-screen persona ("Goodfellas") to the video game world. The writing was superb and he was up to the challenge.

3. Michael Ironside (Sam Fischer in "Splinter Cell") - Jester from "Top Gun" has the voice and face (Have you seen this guy? He's a troll.) for video games. If I were his agent, I'd have him doing car commercials.

4. Ian McKellan (Gandalf in "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King")- The white wizard has a soothing, hypnotic voice. He just sounds like he knows what he's talking about.

5. James Woods (Mike Toreno in "GTA: San Andreas") - I hate to be a GTA hack but lets be honest, who's handled celeb voices better than Rockstar? That and Woods' performance was so slimy, my TV screen needed to be wiped off after every scene he was in.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Hey brother can you spare a cheat?

Last week I gave out some "GTA: San Andreas" cheats for the PS2. Here are just a few Xbox codes to make your life easier.

Enter these in game. (Use the D-Pad, not the analog stick). You will see the message, Cheat Activated, if entered properly.

Right, R Trigger, Up, White, White, Left, R Trigger, L Trigger, R Trigger, R Trigger - Faster Cars
Black, White, R Trigger, L Trigger, White, Black, X, Y, B, Y, White, L Trigger -Destroy All Cars
Up, A, Y, A, Y, A, X, Black, Right - Max Stamina
Black, R Trigger, A, Y, A, Y, Up, Down - Pedestrians have weapons
Right, Black, B, R Trigger, White, X, R Trigger, Black - Cars Drive on Water
A, A, X, R Trigger, L Trigger, A, Down, Left, A - Andrenaline Mode
X, Black, Down, Down, Left, Down, Left, Left, White, A - Cars Fly Away When Hit
X, Down, White, Up, L Trigger, B, Up, A, Left - Cars Can Fly
White, Up, R Trigger, R Trigger, Left, R Trigger, R Trigger, Black, Right, Down - No Pedestrians or Cops (Gan Riots)
Left, Right, L Trigger, White, R Trigger, Black, Up, Down, Left, Right - Have Jetpack
Left, Right, L Trigger, White, R Trigger, Black, Black, Up, Down, Right, L Trigger - Parachute
Y, R Trigger, R Trigger, Left, R Trigger, L Trigger, Black, L Trigger - Perfect Handling in Vehicles
Black, B, Up, L Trigger, Right, R Trigger, Right, Up, X, Y - Flying Boats
R Trigger, R Trigger, B, Black, Up, Down, Up, Down, Up, Down - Lower Wanted Level
L Trigger, R Trigger, Y, DOWN, Black, A, L Trigger, UP, White, White, L Trigger, L Trigger - Max Respect
X, White, R Trigger, Y, UP, X, White, UP, A - Never Hungry
Y, Up ,Up, Left, Right, X, B, Right - Skinny
Y, Up, Up, Left, Right, X, B, Left - Max Muscle
Y, Up ,Up, Left, Right, X, B, Down - Max Fat
X, White, A, R Trigger, White, White, LEFT, R Trigger, RIGHT, L Trigger, L Trigger, L Trigger - Max Vehicle Stats
Y, X, B, B, X, B, B, L Trigger, White, White, R Trigger, Black - Super Bike Jumps
Up, Up, Y, Y, Up, Up, Left, Right, X, Black, Black - Super Jumps
L Trigger, R Trigger, X, R Trigger, LEFT, Black, R Trigger, LEFT, X, DOWN, L Trigger, L Trigger - Infinite Ammo
L Trigger, White, White, Up, Down, Down, Up, R Trigger, Black, Black - All Cars have Tank Properties.
Right, R Trigger, Up, White, White, Left, R Trigger, L Trigger, R Trigger, R Trigger - Traffic Lights Stay Green

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Look out PSP and DS, here comes The iGame

Later this year Apple, the company that revolutionized portable music with the iPod, is releasing iGame - a new portable gaming device. The official release date hasn't been set but you will see plenty of pics and details during E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, in May.

I don't have too much information but here's what I know so far. It will have a hard drive that will store pictures, music, videos and games - no game cartridges. To get games a system similar to iTunes will be used to download games on iGame. The design I saw looked pretty basic. No analog stick and no touch screen.

Here are the games rumored to be available for iGame at launch.

Call of Duty3, Casino Royale, Madden NFL 07, Splinter Cell Essentials 2, Tak and the Power of JuJu on the Go, WarCraft Armies, Final Fantasy II, and X-Men 3

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

iPod Update for Xbox 360

Finally there's a download that allows Xbox 360 users to play their iPod on their systems. I don't know about anyone else out there but this has bugged me since I've had it. For copywrite reasons, the 360 will not recognize songs purchased on iTunes. Because I had purchased iTunes songs mixed with songs transferred from CD's on my iPod, my 360 wouldn't recognize any music at all. Sure I could look at the pictures from my Nano in a slide show but I couldn't play my music during games.

Thankfully that's now been corrected. Make sure to check out the Xbox Live Marketplace and find the free download that will allow you to play all of your non-iTunes purchased songs on your 360. Maybe sometime soon, all songs will be accessible.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to driving around Vegas in "Project Gotham Racing 3" while jamming out to "Van Halen".

Top 5 Worst Game Ideas Ever

My love affair with Top 5 Lists continues with "The Top 5 Worst Game Ideas Ever". What's the difference between this and "The Worst Games Ever"? Good question. The worst ideas should have never been thought of in the first place, they make gamers believe it was made on a dare. The worst games just suck. Here are my top 5. Let me know what your top 5 are.

1. Britney's Dance Beat (2002) - A rhythm game based on the musical stylings of Britney Spears?!? At the time this came out, you could stick Brit's image on a bag of trash and someone would buy it. Of course, that doesn't make it right.

2. Shaq Fu (1994) - Pro basketball star Shaquille O'Neill in a Kung Fu fighting game? At least he doesn't rap in it. Oh wait, yes he does.

3. Army Men (1998) - A video game where you play as plastic soldiers. Were the developers aware of how boring these were to play with in real life?

4. Revolution X (1994) - Hmm...let me see if I understand this concept. Rock band Aerosmith is overthrowing an oppressive government with music as their weapon? Where do I sign up?

5. E.T. (1982) - The title character is small, slow, knows only four words ('Elliott', 'home', 'Reece's Pieces') and doesn't carry a lightsaber. Proof that a good movie doesn't necessarily translate into a good video game concept. I love the movie "Casablanca" but I don't think it'd be a great game.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Skinny, The Word on the Street, Scuttlebutt

I take advantage of any time I can use the word scuttlebutt. Here's the latest word on the gaming world street.

New Games Added to Xbox Live Arcade - I've written about this great feature before, so I'd like to thank game developer Midway for making me look like Nostradamus. Soon to be added to the great library of classic titles on Xbox Live Aracade are: "Paperboy", "Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3", "Defender" and "Cyberball". I'm particularly excited about "Cyberball", one of my all time favorite arcade games - right up there with "Ms. Pac Man" and "Karate Champ". The release dates and prices haven't been confirmed but since most Xbox Live Arcade games are free or dirt cheap (around $5), I'd expect them to be very affordable.

Best of Platinum Hits - Most gamers are familiar with Platinum Hits - best selling, slightly older, video games offered for $20. Now Microsoft is announcing its Best of Platinum Hits, this time selling for only $10. Its a great way to pick up some classic games on the cheap. Here are the first wave of titles, most of them available this month.

Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (Bethesda Softworks)• Enter the Matrix (Atari)• Fuzion Frenzy (Microsoft Game Studios)• Project Gotham Racing 2 (Microsoft Game Studios)• Shrek 2 (Activision)• Soul Calibur II (Namco)• Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon (Ubisoft)• Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder (Ubisoft)• Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3(Ubisoft)• Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Pandora Tomorrow (Ubisoft)• Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (Ubisoft)• Tony Hawk’s Underground (Activision)• Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4 (Activision)• True Crimes: Streets of LA (Activision)• MechAssault (Microsoft Game Studios)• Counterstrike (Microsoft Game Studios)

Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD - The long awaited battle between these two new home movie formats is about to get under way. From May through July, Lionsgate will release 10 movies (Punisher, Saw, Terminator 2, Total Recall, Stargate, Dune, The Devils Rejects, Crash, Lord of War, Reservoir Dogs) on the Blu-ray format. They'll range in price from $29.99-$39.99. I'm sure HD-DVD movies will cost about the same.

I know what you're thinking, "$40 for a movie? Are they crazy?". The answer is yes. At least for now. Don't rush out and get one of these new players, the price will come down just like it did when CD and DVD players became commonplace. Besides that, Blu-ray and HD-DVD movies are only worthwhile if you have the appropriate system to play them on - in other words, a state of the art home entertainment system. So don't panic. The good news is, this should drop the price of DVD's pretty soon.

But how does this effect gamers? Good question. Sony and Microsoft have taken opposite sides to the Blu-ray/HD-DVD battle. Sony (PS2) is betting on Blu-ray, Microsoft (Xbox) on HD-DVD. One of them is wagering on the wrong team. This could end up as bad as the Beta/VHS war in the 80's. Right now, Blu-ray has more studios signed up with them. Whether or not that means anything is still up in the air. We'll all just have to wait and see.