Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Mole: Enough news to choke a donkey

Wii News - Last week Nintendo finally announced the price of its new system...sort of. Officials from the company confirmed the Wii will not exceed $250 (or 25,000 Yen for those of you in Japan). The exact launch date and the titles available at launch were not disclosed.

Get Lost - Ubisoft announced an agreement with Touchstone Television to make a video game version of the hit TV show Lost. The game is scheduled to hit stores in 2007 and hopefully won't be as bad as the X-Files video game.

About Damn Time - Microsoft will finally be making an Xbox Live Dashboard update available later this week. The long awaited update (at least for me) includes the following:

- Downloading files in the background, the option to boot directly to the dashboard and friends knowing if you're idle.
- The download will take less than a minute to download and apply. Users not on Xbox Live will be able to get this update in future game releases.
- An additional Media and Entertainment menu that will include new categories for New Releases, All Media and Entertainment, Movie Trailers and Short Films, Television, Music, Sports, and More,
- Gaming Community Videos, Game Tips and Support Videos, and optional Ipod support.
- A new games option will organize your downloads, Xbox Live Arcade games, demos, and video and trailers for games.
- The new update will allow you to download files in the background while you play retail games, watch movies, and more. Users will be able to queue up to six downloads at a time, and if online multiplayer matches begin your downloads will automatically pause and start up after you're finished.
- A number of improvements along the video, music, and DVD playback front. For movies, there will be a new DVD bookmarking feature, so if you stop a movie in the middle to play a game, when you pop it back in you’ll be able to start back up where you interrupted the film.
- On the music side, if you’re browsing through your music and decide to do something else, the 360 will know where you stopped browsing. This will be particularly helpful for those who search through massive lists of music stored on their networked PC or iPod.
- The content will include imbedded software to support the upcoming Xbox 360 camera, which enables video chat and shooting pics of yourself to be used as your gamer picture.

Halo 3 - Designers at Bungie have not only been playing through a single player level of one of the Xbox 360's anticipated games, but daily multiplayer tests are going on right now. I took this off of Bungie.net:
""Paul Bertone, one of our lead designers, let us play something that blew our minds. That was single player, and from a mission very early in the game. And one that takes place before the events seen in the E3 trailer, but Lars, one of the new(er) multiplayer designers, has a regular multiplayer test in session now - that happens every day - and with surprisingly polished-looking graphics, although I'm told a lot of the textures and decorator objects are just placeholder at the moment." Does this mean Halo 3 will be ready by the PS3 launch??? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Best of E3 - Just in case you were curious (and I'm sure you are) 38 gaming publications hand out the Game Critics: Best of E3 awards. Below are the list of nominees with winners being announced May 31. While these games aren't out yet, it gives you some ideas of titles you should be looking forward to.

Best of Show- Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft for PlayStation 3)- Bioshock (Irrational Games/2K Games for PC and Xbox 360)- Gears of War (Epic Games/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)- Spore (Electronic Arts for PC)- Wii (Nintendo)

Best Original Game- Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft for PlayStation 3)- Bioshock (Irrational Games/2K Games for PC/Xbox 360)- Gears of War (Epic Games/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)- LocoRoco (SCEJ/Sony Computer Entertainment for PSP)- Spore (Electronic Arts for PC)- Wii Sports (Nintendo for Wii)

Best PC Game - Crysis (Crytek/Electronic Arts for PC) - Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (Splash Damage/id/Activision for PC)- Hellgate: London (Flagship Studios/Namco Bandai Games for PC)- Supreme Commander (Gas Powered Games/THQ for PC)- Spore (Electronic Arts for PC)

Best Console Game- Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft for PlayStation 3)- Bioshock (Irrational Games/2K Games for PC and Xbox 360)- Gears of War (Epic Games/Microsoft Games Studios for Xbox 360)- Mass Effect (BioWare/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)- Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo for Wii)

Best Handheld Game- Elite Beat Agents (Inis/Nintendo for Nintendo DS)- Killzone: Liberation (Guerrilla/Sony Computer Entertainment for PSP)- LocoRoco (SCEJ/Sony Computer Entertainment for PSP)- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (Kojima Productions/Konami for PSP)- The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (Nintendo for Nintendo DS)

Best Hardware - DS Lite (Nintendo)- Logitech G25 Racing Wheel (Logitech for PC)- PlayStation 3 (Sony Computer Entertainment)- Wii (Nintendo)- Xbox 360 Wireless Headset (Microsoft for Xbox 360)

Best Action Game - Crysis (Crytek/Electronic Arts for PC) - Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (Splash Damage/id/Activision for PC)- Gears of War (Epic Games/Microsoft Games Studios for Xbox 360)- Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Capcom for Xbox 360)- Resistance: Fall of Man (Insomniac/SCEA for PlayStation 3)

Best Action/Adventure Game- Assassin’s Creed (Ubisoft Montreal/Ubisoft for PlayStation 3)- Bioshock (Irrational Games/2K Games for PC and Xbox 360)- God of War 2 (Sony Santa Monica/SCEA for PlayStation 2)- Super Mario Galaxy (Nintendo for Wii)- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Nintendo for GameCube/Wii)

Best Fighting Game- Heavenly Sword (Ninja Theory/Sony Computer Entertainment for PS3) - Mortal Kombat: Armageddon (Midway Games for PlayStation 2/Xbox) - Tekken: Dark Resurrection (Namco Bandai Games for PSP)- Virtua Fighter 5 (Sega for Arcade/PlayStation 3)- WWE SmackDown! vs. RAW 2007 (Yuke’s/THQ for 360/PS3/PS2/PSP)

Best Role Playing Game - Final Fantasy XII (Square Enix for PlayStation 2)- Hellgate: London (Flagship Studios/Namco Bandai Games for PC)- Mass Effect (BioWare/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)- Neverwinter Nights 2 (Obsidian/Atari for PC)- World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (Blizzard for PC)

Best Racing Game - Excite Truck (Nintendo for Wii)- Formula One 06 (Studio Liverpool/SCEE for PlayStation 3)- Gran Turismo HD (Polyphony Digital/Sony Computer Entertainment for PS3)- MotoGP 06 (Climax/THQ for Xbox 360)- Test Drive Unlimited (Eden Studios/Atari for Xbox 360, PC, PS2, PSP)

Best Simulation Game - Microsoft Flight Simulator X (Microsoft Games Studio for PC)- Sid Meier’s Railroads! (Firaxis Games/2K Games for PC)- Spore (Electronic Arts for PC)- The Movies: Stunts and Effects (Lionhead Studios/Activision for PC)- Wii Music Orchestra (Nintendo for Wii)

Best Sports Game- Madden NFL 07 (Tiburon/EA for PS3 / Xbox 360)- Madden NFL 07 (Tiburon/EA for Nintendo Wii)- NBA 2K7 (Visual Concepts/2K Sports for Xbox 360)- NCAA Football 07 (EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts for X360/PS2/Xbox/PSP)- Wii Sports (Nintendo for Wii)

Best Strategy Game - Company of Heroes (Relic/THQ for PC)- Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle Earth II (EA for X360)- Medieval 2: Total War (Creative Assembly/Sega for PC)- Supreme Commander (Gas Powered Games/THQ for PC)- World in Conflict (Massive Entertainment/Sierra for PC)

Best Puzzle/Trivia/Parlor Game - Elite Beat Agents (Inis/Nintendo for Nintendo DS)- Guitar Hero 2 (Harmonix/Red Octane for PlayStation 2)- LocoRoco (SCEJ/Sony Computer Entertainment for PSP)- Lumines II (Q Entertainment/Buena Vista Games for PSP)- WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Nintendo for Wii)

Best Online Multiplayer Game- Battlefield 2142 (Digital Illusions/Electronic Arts for PC)- Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (Splash Damage/id/Activision for PC)- Gears of War (Epic Games/Microsoft Games Studio for Xbox 360)- Huxley (Webzen for PC/Xbox 360)- World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade (Blizzard for PC

Sunday, May 28, 2006

And you think you're a hardcore gamer?

There's commitment and then there's COMMITMENT. The picture on the right is a sign of the latter.

While strolling through Colorado City with the Mrs. today, checking out Territory Days, my eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw this tatoo...on a woman no less.

Amy (her last name was too hard to remember and I didn't have anything to write it down on) allowed me to take a picture of her right arm bearing the ever famous Nintendo logo.

This just goes to show that gaming has no age limits (Amy is in her early twenties) and crosses all genders. If you ever meet Amy, buy her a drink. And if someone from Nintendo sees this, could you send her a game or something? I think she's earned it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why the Wii Will Fall by the Wayside

Lets set the record straight, the Nintendo system is a kid system pure and simple. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a moron. If you don't believe me, just let the greatest games in the Nintendo history speak for me - Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, SuperSmash Bros are all directed towards kids. Sure there have been some exceptions (GoldenEye, the Zelda series) but as the popular saying goes - it is what it is.

I don't have a problem with this - kids need simple, fun games to play and I'm not cool with my 12-year old playing Resident Evil. I don't want him joining the Trenchcoat Mafia when he's in high school. My issue with Nintendo is two fold, they're foolishly reaching out to older gamers and that hideous looking controller is an abomination.

Now normally I'm all for a gaming company taking risks (Microsoft sure took one by jumping into the video game console market in the first place) but why can't Nintendo leave well enough alone and stick with what works. They own the 8-15 year old age bracket, so why confuse consumers with un-Nintendo like titles such as Project Hammer and Disaster Day of Crisis, obvious attempts at reaching the adult market. Isn't it already a crowded enough place with the PS3 and Xbox 360? You have a niche Nintendo, you are unique, play on that. Use the family angle, the other two companies can't.

As for the controller...Nintendo owes me some money. I was checking out the Nintendo Wii website and they called it the "Nunchuk Controller". This is what I called it on this blog February 8th. I expect some royalties Mr. Iwata! Besides thieving the name, I just don't see how this controller will be appealing to adults. Much like the Eye Toy appeals to kids because its amusing to see yourself jumping up and down on your TV, waving around a controller is only going to be fun for the youngin's. The average gamer is 30 years old and I don't see this being a big selling point for that age group.

What I'm trying to say Nintendo is stick with what got you here. Challenging Microsoft and Sony is like an 8-year old trying to pick a fight with his 16-year old brother, brave to be sure but not really a good idea.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Mole: Atari Slices and Dices, Sony tells us...a little

The word is... - Not much. So far Sony has been
as quiet as Ving Rhames in the basement of the gun shop in Pulp Fiction about most of the PS3's details. That trend continues as Sony was kind enough to announce last Wednesday that it will have 15 games available at launch. This of course leaves us with the question - Which games?!? Maybe sometime in October we'll finally find out about the PS3's online plans.

Microsoft demonstrates online dominance - Last Thursday Microsoft shared with the world that 1.5 million gamers took advantage of the free Xbox Live Gold week that coincided with E3. This just goes to prove that if you attached the word 'free' to something, people will take advantage. Below were the top 10 downloads.

1. Halo 3 Game Trailer (Microsoft Game Studios)
2. Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Free Playable Demo (Capcom)
3. Test Drive Unlimited Free Playable Demo (Atari)
4. MotoGP '06 Free Playable Demo (THQ)
5. X-Men: The Last Stand Pack (20th Century Fox)
6. Gears of War GameTrailer (Microsoft Game Studios)
7. Call of Duty 2: Skirmish Map Pack (Activision)
8. Spiderman 3 Game Trailer (Activision)
9. Fable 2 Trailer (Microsoft Game Studios)
10. Uno Xbox Live Arcade Game (Microsoft Game Studios)

Atari Gets Down - Atari announced last week that beginning June 1st, the prices for all of its current gen games will drop to $20. This includes Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, Driver: Parallel Lines, Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, and Indigo Prophecy. Expect to see more of this from other developers.

And finally... - This weeks "I could care less award" goes to THQ's The Outfit which has new multiplayer maps you can buy for 500 Microsoft Points. I guess if you've already wasted money on the game, another few dollars won't hurt.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Hunting down McDonald's

Watch out Mayor McCheese, I'm right behind you. That's right, The Gazette gaming blog has passed the ever important 1,500 page view plateau. According to sitemeter.com, this site averages a little over 100 views per week (and none of those are mine). Not too shabby.

That being said, I'm still looking for more reader input and my dream of building a local gaming community is still unrealized. If you have a topic you'd like to discuss, some cheat codes you'd like to share or a cool website you want to give some love to - let me know.

As for a local gaming network, I know I've let this slide a little but lets really get things going. If you send me your gamer tag, I promise to add you to my friends list or if you prefer, I can post a list of gamer tags for anyone interested in playing anyone. Just give me your tag and your favorite online games. Can you imagine how cool it would be to have a 50 - 100 person clan list for Halo 2? Or an All-Colorado unit in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter? Now that would be fun.

Just to remind everyone, my gamer tag is coloradojoe.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My Tail of Whoa

One of the reasons I gave up on my Playstation 2 (I still have it but I
traded in all my games and its no longer my primary console. I only use it for reviews now.) is because of all of the problems I had with it. Disc read errors, games locking up, DVD's freezing in the middle of a movie - it was enough to make me want to scream! I went through three PS2's (I was Sony loyal to a fault) and my current one isn't the most reliable machine in the world.

I also had an original Xbox which never gave me any problems. So when I bought my Xbox 360 and heard rumors of overheating I didn't care. I didn't have one issue with my original Xbox and with all of the problems I had with my PS2's, I figured I had earned some good karma. Oops. That's what I get for thinking.

About 2 weeks ago my Xbox 360 started acting up - locking up during games, not signing me up for Xbox Live, displaying some kind of weird white and blue checker design on my blades. It was minor at first, just a hiccup. But then things got progressively worse until I couldn't even play anything. I was completely caught off guard by this. I didn't have one problem with it and suddenly it started screwing up on me. I knew it wasn't over heating because it would give me problems when I first turned it on, I knew it had to be something serious.

Thankfully, I also bought a service agreement from Game Crazy when I bought my 360 (Yes I have to buy my own consoles and no, I don't get reimbursed by The Gazette for it). I didn't do this when I bought my first PS2 and learned a very painful lesson. I brought it back to the store and they gave me another one with no hassles. Of course all of my single player loads, burned music and anything else on my hard drive no longer exists. Luckily my achievement points, gamer tag and friends list were not affected - but it still stinks.

While I know there are risks in buying the first generation of a new console (hello PS2 and Xbox 360) I know I would still have bought my 360 on launch day anyway. But there are some things I've come to realize as certainties when it comes to new gaming consoles.

#1 Buy a service agreement - The best way to cover your butt in case you get a bad console. I know the extra $40-$60 seems like a lot after you just plopped down a few hundred for your new system but its worth it. I prefer buying one from the store rather than the manufacturer. With my second PS2, I bought an agreement from Sony and I had to mail the console to them and wait weeks for it to get repaired. With my Xbox 360 I had a new console in 1/2 hour. Besides the time issue, the manufacturer would rather repair a console than send you a new one and chances are you're going to have the same problem anyway. With a local store, you deal with a real person and they're much more helpful - especially if you're a regular.

#2 Don't be blinded by loyalty - One of the first things that popped into my head after getting locked up for the fifth time while trying to play some online Battlefield 2 was "Screw this, I'm trading this hunk of junk in for a PS3". And I know I will, if I have any more problems with the 360. As much as I love all of the cool things the 360 can do and as great as I know Xbox Live is, my prior experience has taught me that there is no such thing as product loyalty when it comes to gaming consoles. I plunked down $400 for an Xbox 360, I expect the damn thing to work everytime. If it doesn't, I'll trade it in and move on. I know for some gamers this is blasphemy. There are Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony fanboys out there that would rather eat a hand grenade then play an opposing system - I know, I used to be one of them. Not anymore. I spend way too much of my hard earned cash to waste it on a system that doesn't deliver what it advertised. Its time a console was loyal to me, not the other way around.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing any console maker, I'm not bent out of shape about my recent 360 issue. I know it happens sometimes and I still think Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft make incredible products. I'm looking forward to the PS3 and the Wii and I still love my 360. I'm a gamerguy and I always will be.

Gamerguy is the key word in that last sentence. I'm all about video games and the enjoyment I get from gaming. No matter what system its on.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Oh yes they call him the cheat...look at that, look at that

For your cheating pleasure.

Far Cry Instincts Predator (Xbox 360) - On the cheats menu, input these codes exactly as they appear:

ImJackCarver ... Refill Health (only during gameplay)
Bloodlust ... Infinite Adrenaline
UnleashHell ... Infinite Ammo
FeralAttack ... Unlock Evolution Story
GiveMeTheMaps ... Unlock All Maps
FeralAttack ... Start with the feral punch

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast (PS2): Cheat: 1000000 OutRun miles - Enter MILESANDMILES when editing a license. Decline when asked to confirm the changes.
Cheat: Complete Everything - Enter ENTIRETY when editing a license. Decline when asked to confirm the changes.

Runescape hints (PC) - Hint: Method Money - One easy way to earn money is to increase mining and crafting. Once you're able to create items, sell them for easy cash.

Hint: Scife - To get a scife in Runescape you must go to Varrock. Go to the place with a bunch of logs. Get your magic high enough to use weaken. Use weaken on the log pile. A level 22 Tree Spirit will appear. If you kill it it will drop a scife and nature runes.

Hint: Colored Text - In RuneScape Classic, if you enter text like this: @red@, then press enter, the next text you enter will be red. You can also do this with other colors, by just putting in the first 3 letters of the word, like blue would be @blu@.

Hint: Easy Money and Experience - Complete rune mysteries quest in either free server or member server. After that you have the ability to go to the rune essence mine so get a pickaxe.
Go to rune essence mine, the Varrock Rune Shop has a bank nearby. Teleport. Mine essence till full. Go to portal. Go to bank deposit essence. Repeat. You now have enough essence to sell them 10K= 500 RUNE ESSNECE, 20K= 1K Rune Essence, 30K= 1.5K Rune Essence.

Hint: Easy Money- At Port Salim and ask the men in blue to take a ship to Karamja. Then go to the first house you see on the right. Talk to the man in black clothes. He will ask you to do a job. Get 10 bananas and put them in the crate to get 30gp. Keep doing this to get a lot of money.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Top 5 Ways Gaming is Better Than...Part 2

There hasn't been a post for the last couple days due to my E3 burnout. Between Tuesday's three posts, watching live coverage of E3 on G4 and all the emails I've been getting from my gaming brothers and sisters - I'm toast. And I didn't even go!

You may also have noticed there was no article/review in Friday's GO! section. Don't worry, it'll be back next week. In the meantime, here's my continuing series on the Top 5 Ways Gaming is Better Than...today its TV.

Top 5 Ways Gaming is Better Than...Television

1. Connectivity - I can play games with friends and family members who live far away. I can't watch TV with them unless I want to rack up huge phone bills.

2. What you want when you want it - I watched the series finale of Smallville Thursday night and now I have to wait 4-5 months to see what happens next. Not an issue with games.

3. Trash Talking - Razzing your friends and putting down jerks online is strongly encouraged. Making fun of the bean poles on America's Next Top Model will have your girlfriend or wife telling you to shut up. Not that this has ever happened to me.

4. Better Programming - There may be a few bad games out there but you don't have to buy them. But when flipping channels Tommy Lee Goes to College, The Swan, The Simple Life 3 and So You Think You Can Dance are on whether you want to watch them or not.

5. More Physical Activity - Sure your still sitting on your butt whether your watching TV or playing games but I know my blood is racing much faster after an intense team slayer match in Halo 2 than it is after I watch The Office.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Mole: Yet More Microsoft E3 News

Three posts in one day?!? What am I thinking?

Rockstar/Microsoft Agreement - Used to be Xbox owners had to wait months after the PS2 release of a Grand Theft Auto game before they could enjoy it on there own systems. Not anymore, Rockstar and Microsoft announced today (I accidentally skipped over this in my last post, oops) an agreement stating that GTA 4 will be available on the 360 on Day 1 of its world wide release. The yet to be named GTA title is set to come out October 16, 2007. Also included in the agreement will be exclusive downloadable episodic content through Xbox Live.

Halo 3 Video - If you're interested in watching the Halo 3 trailer Bill Gates showed at E3 today, its downloadable at bungie.net.

The Mole: E3 Microsoft Press Conference

Microsoft honcho Bill Gates made his first E3 apperance and headed his company's annual E3 press conference with some bold statements.

Gates stated that the Xbox 360 should have a 10 million unit head start by the time the PS3 comes out this November.

Gates also announced plans for "Live Anywhere", an online gaming system that makes Xbox Live available to PC (with Windows) and Mobile gamers. This would allow PC, Mobile and Xbox console owners to go head-to-head online. He said there will be 160 titles available on the Xbox 360 by the end of the year and stated he expected there to be 6 millon online gamers by this time next year.

Gates was then joined by VP Peter Moore and announced a number of upcoming Xbox 360 and Windows Vista (coming out January 2007) titles.

For the 360, Microsoft showcased “Gears of War”, “Fable 2” and “Forza Motorsport 2”. Ubisoft’s next-generation version of “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent” will also debut on Xbox 360. In addition, Microsoft Game Studios showed “Alan Wake” and “Shadowrun”, both slated for Xbox 360 and Windows Vista. A "Halo 3" clip was also shown but no real information (release date, new features) was discussed.

For Windows Vista, Microsoft showed off "Crysis”,“Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” and “Flight Simulator X”.

For Xbox Live Arcade “Pac-Man,” “Galaga,” “Dig Dug”, “Rally-X”, “Frogger,” “Track & Field", “Contra”, “Super Contra”, “Defender,” “Paperboy,” “Root Beer Tapper”, “Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3”, “Sonic the Hedgehog™ High Speed” and new title “Lumines Live” are future downloadable games.

Microsoft also announced new cross-platform accessories such as the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player, Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel and Xbox 360 Wireless Headset, to be used on Xbox 360 and Windows. The new Xbox Live Vision video camera will allow gamers to customize their gamer picture, send photo messages, and video chat with friends and family over Xbox Live.

The Mole: E3 News Part Tres

Sony had its annual E3 press conference Monday afternoon and finally revealed some information about the long awaited Playstation 3.

The new console will make its debut on November 11 in Japan, and will also be released in North America and Europe on November 17. The system will come in two iterations, the $499 model that comes with a 20GB hard drive and a $599 model that comes with a 60GB hard drive. To compare, the Xbox 360 with a 20GB hard drive sells for $399.

The PS3 controller has been revamped. Sony had given previews of a silver controller shaped like a boomerang, which the public didn't seem to like. The new PS3 motion sensitive controller now looks more like the dual-shock. Like the Xbox 360, a wireless controller for the PS3 is also available.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Mole: E3 News Part Deux

This comes straight from one of my best EA contacts, Honey Hamilton. And no, I didn't make her name up. Here is EA's descriptions for some of its upcoming titles. Try and read through the propaganda.

Madden NFL 07 - With the exclusive video game license of the NFL and its players, Madden NFL 07 continues to be the #1 football franchise in history with more than 51 million copies sold. In its 17th installment, you control the running game like never before. For the first time ever, step up as the lead blocker to create a hole, and then take control of the tailback and smash through, overpower, or slash away from would-be tacklers as you fight for every yard. Innovative rushing controls give you a game-breaking ground attack featuring all-new jukes, cutbacks, and the distinct running styles of your favorite backs. Developed by EA Tiburon, Madden NFL 07 will launch in August on the Xbox 360, Xbox videogame system from Microsoft, PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, Nintendo GameCube, PSP system, PC, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance. Madden NFL 07 is also in development on the PlayStation 3 console and Nintendo Wii.

NCAA Football 07 - Momentum changes everything now college footballs most celebrated videogame turns the tide with NCAA Football 07. Whether battling your biggest rival or playing for the first-ever BCS National Championship Game in Dynasty Mode, success on the field depends on your ability to maintain momentum. Featuring unprecedented graphics that capture every moment in complete detail from the authenticity of the stadiums, mascots, and marching bands, to the true-to-life look and feel of the players on the field. NCAA Football 07 delivers the most realistic college football experience ever. NCAA Football 07 is scheduled to ship in July on the PlayStation 2 console, Xbox, Xbox 360 and the PSP system.

NASCAR 07* (Working title) - Take risks, be rewarded, and become a champion with NASCAR 07* on the PSP system. With all-new Adrenaline Moments, use your skill and instinct during the most intense situations and control the outcome by avoiding disastrous wrecks and flying debris. Maintain your focus on dangerous conditions ahead with the new RaceBreaker feature, which guides you through every treacherous moment of the race. With all-new speed blurring, realistic spark and smoke effects, and camera shakes, get your adrenaline pumping and experience the all-out drama and intensity of 190-mph racing with NASCAR 07.

ARMY OF TWO - You're not alone soldier, not anymore. At E3, EA unveils details of the action title that has been kept top secret for the past year. Developed at EA's boutique production house in Montreal, Canada, the new, original game will redefine strategic TWO man cooperative play when it launches on the PlayStation 3 console and Xbox 360 in 2007. ARMY OF TWO will throw gamers into hot spots ripped from current day headlines where they will utilize unique TWO man strategies and tactics while seamlessly transitioning between playing with intelligent Partner AI (PAI) and a live player. When one man is not enough, it will take an army of two to fight through war, political turmoil and a conspiracy so vast it threatens the entire world.

Battlefield 2142 - The year is 2142, and the dawn of a new Ice age has thrown the world into a panic. The soil not covered by ice can only feed a fraction of the Earth's population. The math is simple and brutal: Some will live, most will die. In Battlefield 2142, players choose to fight for one of two military superpowers in an epic battle for survival. Armed with a devastating arsenal of hi-tech weaponry, including assault rifles, cloaking devices, EMP grenades and sentry guns, players can level the playing field against massive Battle Walkers that control the ground and futuristic aircraft that rule the skies. Massive online battles for up to 64 players drop gamers on the front lines as part of a formal squad, or behind the scenes in Commander Mode to direct the strategic assaults of their team-mates. Battlefield 2142 also introduces an all-new game type for the first time in franchise history: Titan mode, which challenges gamers to control the battlefield and destroy their opponents Titan - a massive flying warship - while defending their own. Battlefield 2142 is developed by Digital Illusions/DICE Sweden and is slated to ship for PC in Fall 2006.

SPORE SPORE takes players on an epic journey from the origin and evolution of life through the development of civilization and eventually into the outer reaches of space. Create a creature, then control every dimension of its evolution from pond scum to galactic god. Experience multiple styles of gameplay as your creature advances through different stages of development. Fight for survival in the wild, develop a sprawling metropolis, trade and war against rival civilizations and explore the outer reaches of the galaxy. Every aspect of the universe from creatures to vehicles, buildings to plants, are created by the player and automatically shared with other players, providing a limitless number of worlds to explore and play. Create, control and explore your universe with SPORE. SPORE is under development for the PC by legendary game designer, Will Wright.

Crysis Crysis is all-new first person shooter from Crytek, the award-winning developers of the critically-acclaimed hit Far Cry. Powered by the revolutionary CryEngine 2, Crysis delivers next-generation PC technology, graphics and gameplay. Set in 2019 after a colossal asteroid crashes to Earth, Crysis begins amidst a tense military standoff between the North Korean and United States governments for control of the impact zone. Amid rising tensions, the asteroid suddenly bursts open revealing a massive alien ship, which begins freezing vast portions of the island and altering the global weather system. The invasion of Earth has begun. Crysis features an epic three-act story of alien invasion where players are able to customize their armor and weapons in real time to confront an ever-changing enemy and a harsh, dynamic environment. Advanced enemy AI employs realistic military tactics, forcing gamers to actively outsmart their opponents rather than simply reacting to them. Crysis is slated to ship for the PC in Winter 2006.

Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars The genre defining Command & Conquer series is back! The epic struggle between the Global Defense Initiative (GDI) and The Brotherhood of NOD continues and the third Tiberium War is about to begin. Welcome back, Commander. Command & Conquer, the groundbreaking series that put the Real-time Strategy (RTS) genre on the map, is returning in full force with Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars. This highly-anticipated next chapter takes the popular series back to its roots in the Tiberium universe and features the fast, fluid gameplay that Command & Conquer is known for and a gripping story that will redefine storytelling in RTS games. Experience a revolution in RTS gaming with a breakthrough single player campaign that rewards you for your gameplay style. Add layers of strategy to your gaming experience by building mobile bases, wielding the power of terrifying Ion Storms on the battlefield, or customizing your armies by combining units. Battle it out online with native voice-over IP, integrated clan support, and new spectator modes that let you play RTS games like a sport. Windows PC, 2007.

The Lord of the Rings, The Battle for Middle-earth II for the Xbox 360 Now command the epic battles of Middle-earth from your living room couch! Take control of huge armies and venture into the heart of Middle-earth to live the battles seen in the blockbuster New Line Cinema films and classic J.R.R. Tolkien literary fiction all in spectacular high-definition. The game boasts a new, intuitive console-specific control scheme that allows novice players to enjoy the games signature Real-time Strategy gameplay while giving expert players the flexibility needed to engage in a deeply complex strategy experience. Directly control hundreds of units in an attempt to defeat enemy armies, conquer new lands, and seal the fate of Middle-earth. As the first game in The Lord of the Rings series to be playable over Xbox LIVE, add to the intensity of the experience and challenge friends online to engage in action-packed real-time battles. Summer 2006.

Superman Returns: The Video Game - challenges players to master Superman's unrivaled powers to save Metropolis. Based on 60 years of DC Comics and the upcoming motion picture, SUPERMAN RETURNS: THE VIDEOGAME creates the ultimate open-world super hero experience. As the Man of Steel, you'll hone your unworldly super powers such as Flight, X-Ray Vision and Freeze Breath to fight villains that only Superman can defeat. SUPERMAN RETURNS: THE VIDEOGAME will be available on Xbox 360, the PlayStation 2 console, Xbox, the PSP system, Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance.

Def Jam Fight For NY: The Takeover Experience the ultimate hip hop fighting game anywhere you go. Master over 180 new fighting moves and 50 new dirty moves in order to win fights and rise among the ranks of your crew. Create your own fighter and battle through over 40 of the hottest artists and celebrities in Hip Hop including Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Method Man, Redman, Snoop Dogg, and Xzibit. With a new story, new moves, new venues, and head to head wireless gameplay, Def Jam Fight For NY: The Takeover is the summer's must have title for the PSP system.

EA Mobile is the leader in wireless entertainment with a slate of games that demonstrate a commitment to quality, innovation and value. The dynamic roster offers something for every mobile phone user puzzle, sports and cutting-edge action. At E3, EA will debut of Orcs & Elves, id Softwares first original intellectual property since Quake, created exclusively for mobile phones by Fountainhead Entertainment. The line up also boasts an impressive slate of EA SPORTS games including 2006 FIFA World Cup, EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 3, Madden NFL 07, NBA LIVE 07, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 07 and an enhanced version of the popular puzzle game Tetris.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The Mole: E3 News

E3 doesn't start until Monday but my sources have already been
feeding me information. Here's what I've found out.

Bada Bing! - THQ has announced a video game based on the hit HBO TV show The Sopranos, set to be released on the Xbox 360 and PS2 (not PS3) this Fall. Sopranos creator David Chase is heavily involved in creating the storyline which has gamers play as the long lost son of Big Pussy. James Gandolfini is the only member who's involvement has been confirmed but expect many other cast members voices and likenesses to be in the game.

Atari Lineup - Atari announced its lineup of games it will be showcasing at E3: Dragon Ball Z, Test Drive Unlimited, Alone in the Dark, Arthur and Minimoys. Battlezone, HOT PXL, Neverwinter Nights 2, Super DBZ and Dungeons and Dragons.

Sega Lineup - Sega announced its lineup of games as well: Chromehounds, The Club, Full Auto 2: Battlelines, Medieval II: Total War, Phantasy Star Universe, Sega Rally Revo, Sonic Rivals, Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Monkey Ball Adventure, Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz, Virtua Tennis 3, World Pool Championship 2007 and Yakuza.

Midway Lineup - Here are Midway's featured games at E3: John Woo Presents Stranglehold, Unreal Tournament 2007, Blitz: The League, Mortal Kombat: Armageddon, Spy Hunter: Nowhere to Run, Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar, Rise and Fall: Civilizations at War, Happy Feet, The Ant Bully, The Grim Adventures of Bill and Mandy, MLB Slugfest 2006, Rush, Mortal Kombat: Unchained and NBA Ballers: Rebound.

All of these games are set to be released sometime in 2006.

DS Lite Release Date - The new DS Lite - a smaller, lighter version of the DS that can literally fit in your pocket - will be released in the U.S. June 11th and will sell for about $130. The screens are exactly the same size but the new DS is considerably smaller and lighter. The new backlight system is a significant improvement and it plays all of the games the DS does.

Guitar Hero II - Seven new songs for the upcoming Guitar Hero II, out this fall, have been announced: Reverend Horton Heat - Psychobilly Freakout, KISS - Strutter, Butthole Surfers - Who Was in My Room Last Night, Van Halen - You Really Got Me, Black Sabbath - War Pigs, Rush - YYZ, Drist - Arterial Black.

Superman's Late - EA announced that the Superman Returns video game, which was supposed to be released along with the movie in June has been pushed back to fall when the DVD of Superman Returns will be in stores.

Expect more E3 updates later this week.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Mole: Seattle is Numero Uno

Sperling's Best Places (you know, those jokers who rate the best and worst places for things like jobs, health, etc.) announced today that Seattle is the number one gaming city in the nation. The survey used the following statistics: number of systems owned per household, number of games purchased, number of game rentals, frequency of online play and number of Big Foot sightings to determine their rankings. Here are the Top 15 cities for gaming in the U.S.

1. Seattle
2. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
3. Atlanta
4. Detroit
5. Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.
6. Washington, D.C.
7. St. Louis
8. Boston
9. San Diego
10. Philadelphia
11. Chicago
12. Dallas
13. Houston
14. San Francisco
15. New York

Did you notice no Colorado Springs or Denver? What's up with that? Its time to step up to the plate Colorado. Let no hand be controller free!

Some other interesting gaming facts - According to the Entertainment Software Association, in 2005 the video game industry is growing in popularity among all age groups and both genders. The average age of a gamer is 30, and 19 percent of gamers are older than 50. Men currently dominate the industry; however, the gap is closing, with approximately 55 percent of players being male and approximately 43 percent female. Don't ask what the remaining 2 percent is.