Monday, October 30, 2006

Say hello to my little cheat!

Before I throw down a ton of cheats (hey its been awhile), let me make a slight correction to a previous post. Remember how I mentioned that this blog had as many updates to it as and Xbox Live Marketplace did after it was shut down for 24 hours. Well that's about to change starting tomorrow morning. Here's what 360 owners can expect to see starting tomorrow, straight from the horses mouth.

Expanded HD Display and Video Playback Options
· With 1080p resolution, gamers now have the ability to enjoy both game and video content in the best HD resolution currently available.
· Expanded video playback options increase the ways gamers can enjoy video content on Xbox 360. It is now possible to stream WMV video from a Windows PC running Windows Media Player 11 or Windows Media Connect.
· Gamers can now play video files from data CDs and DVDs, as well as from storage devices like USB 2.0 flash drives and Xbox 360 Memory Units.
· Xbox 360 will support 50hz HDTV display modes, providing viewers greater choice in how they watch DVD and HD DVD content.

Xbox Live Arcade Enhancements
· Keeping up to date on Xbox Live Arcade games is now even more convenient with the ability to automatically download newly released Xbox Live Arcade trial games. This eliminates the need to manually search for new downloads on Xbox Live Marketplace each time a new game trial is released.
· Fast enumeration of games: you’ll see the games in your Xbox Live Arcade collection appear almost instantly. Get in and play right away.
· With so many games to choose from, Xbox Live Arcade added new sorting options such as “Recently Played” and “By Category.” These enhancements make managing Xbox Live Arcade collections faster and easier than ever.
· A new expanded Friends Leaderboard within Xbox Live Arcade allows gamers to compare themselves directly against their friends and view leaderboard details of their top 10 friends.
· A new expanded Achievements View within Xbox Live Arcade lets gamers view their full Achievement details for their Xbox Live Arcade games including descriptions, icons, allotted Gamerscore and more, right from the Xbox Live Arcade dashboard interface.
· The “Play Now” launch feature has been streamlined. Selecting “Play Now” after downloading a game in Xbox Live Marketplace now bypasses Xbox Live Arcade and takes you directly to the game.
· Xbox Live Arcade now offers a “Tell a Friend” feature. Select this option from the game info screen to send any friend on your friends list a message telling them about the Xbox Live Arcade game.

XNA Support
· Amateur game designers will be able to test and play the games they create using XNA Game Studio Express on their Xbox 360 systems when it launches later this year (separate download and subscription required).

While I'm glad that Microsoft is making some improvements, none of this will affect the average gamer that much. The Xbox Live enhanncements were long overdue but the XNA support feature is intriguing. What they didn't mention was that is running at full speed. You should check out the Top 360 Tags section, tons of cool information. On to the cheats! (I apologize for the crappy format, just trying to save space)

Mortal Combat: Armageddon Cheats (PS2)
Left, Left, Circle, Up, Triangle, L2 - Unlocks Shinnok's Spire, L2, left, R1, Up, Circle, Down- Unlocks Taven, X, Square, left, triangle, square, X - Armory Music, Down, L1, Up, L1, L1, Foward - Unlocks Nitara's Second Costume, Triangle, square, left, L1, left, circle - Unlocks Blaze, Triangle, Back, Back, X, Down, Circle - Pyramid Artwork, Up, Square, Square, Circle, Circle, Up - Meat Unlocked, Circle, L1, Up, Square, Circle, Down - Red Dawn Arena, L1, Back, Up, Circle, R2, L1 - Unlocks Ed Boon Concept Art, Up, Up, Down, Up, L2, X - Promo Movie, up,up,down,up,L1,X - Armageddon Promo Movie, forward, L1, R2, down, up, L1 - Cyrax Fatality Blooper Video, R1, L1, Triangle, Down, Down, Square - Unlock Daegon, L2, Right, X, R2, Up, Up - Unlock Drahmin's Second Costume, L1, Left, Up, O, Up, L2 - Unlock Shang Tsung's Second Costume, Down, R2, R1, L1, O, L2 - Unlock Frost's Second Costume, R2, O, Square, X, O, Triangle - Unlock Falling Cliffs Arena, R1, Left, Left, Down, L1, Square - Unlock Nethership Interior Arena, R1, L1, Square, X, R2, Up - Unlock Pryamis of Argus Arena, R2, L1, Left, X, Up, R1 - Unlock Sektor's 2 handed pulse blade concept art, R2, Triangle, R1, Up, X, X - Unlock General Reiko's map room arena, Up, Square, R1, L2, O, L1 - Unlock Firewall Arena concept art, L2, Left, O, X, R2, Right - Unlock Lin Kuei Palace Tune, Up, O, L1, R1, R1, X - Unlock Tekunin Warship Tune, Down, Left, R2, L2, Up, L1 - Unlock Pyramid of Argus Tune, O, R2, Triangle, Down, O, Left - Unlock Concept art for unused trap in Konquest, Up, X, R2, Down, L2, X - Unlock Early Taven concept art, L1, Triangle, L2, L2, R1, Square - Unlock Blaze concept art, Triangle, Up, R2, L1, R1, R2 - Unlock Motor Gameplay Movie, R2, Right, Up, R1, Triangle, Up - Unlock Mileena's car design concept art

Saints Row Cheats (Xbox 360)
Phone Numbers: Cheats, Rides, Help, and Funny messages - Pause the game and press the L or R Trigger until you reach your phone. Select DIAL and enter one of the following numbers then press CALL. NOTE: The ( ) and - symbols are automatically entered for you, you just need the number. The only symbols you're required to enter are the # or * if contained in a number. Warning: The codes that have # in front of them are considered cheats and you won't get achievements doing this.

911 - Ambulance (Restores Health), #42637867 - Unlock Special GameStop T-Shirt Cheat, (555) 018-0174 - Eagleline Yellow (Taxi Service), 555-455-8008 - TNA Taxi Service, 555-5966 - Eye for an Eye Voodoo, 555-7296 - On the Fence (Pawn Shop), 555-6238 - The Dead Cow, 555-9467 - Legal Lee's, 555-9473 - Grounds for Divorce, #AMMO - Infinite Ammo, #10 - God's Wrath (lightning strikes randomly), 555-2626 - Stocks, 555-3765 - Brown Baggers, #SPRINT - Infinite Sprint, #Rocket - Enables "Give RPG Launcher", #AS12Riot - Enables "Give AS12 Riot", #12Gauge - Enables "Give 12 Gauge", #Tombstone - Enables "Give Tombstone", #T3KUrban - Enables "Give T3K Urban", #GDHC50 - Enables "Give GDHC .50", #Shepherd - Enables "Give .44 Shepherd", #NR4 - Enables "Give NR4", #Pipebomb - Enables "Give Pipe Bomb", #Molotov - Enables "Give Molotov Cocktail", #Grenade - Enables "Give Hand Grenade", #AQUA - spawn the Aqua car, #268 - Spawns an Ant, #fullhealth - Full Health, #shogun - Shogun in garage, #3373352623 - Enables "Give Fer De Lance", the best car in the game!, #Newman - Spawns "Newman" in your garage (Mail Truck), #Macanus - Gives you the "McManus" sniper rifle, #money - $1000 cash, #778 - Repairs the car you're in

Scarface: The World is Yours (PS2)
MEDIK - CHEAT: Refill Health, AMMO - CHEAT: Max Ammo, DONUT - CHEAT: Increase Cop Heat, FLYSTRT - CHEAT: Decrease Cop Heat, MARTHA - Weather Modifier: Change Time of Day, RAINY - Weather Modifier: Toggle Rain, SHAZAAM - Weather Modifier: Toggle Lightning, TUNEME - Music Track: "The World Is Yours", 666999 - Vehicle: Spawn Bacinari, DOZER - Vehicle: Spawn Bulldozer,k OLDFAST - Vehicle: Spawn Ariel MK III, BLACK - Clothing: Black Suit Tony, BLUESH - Clothing: Blue Suit Tony With Sunglasses, GRAY - Clothing: Gray Suit Tony, GRAYSH - Clothing: Gray Suit Tony With Sunglasses, TBURGLR - Repairs any vehicle player is currently driving, BUMMER - Spawn 4x4 Bodog Stampede, SANDY - Tan colored outfit, SANDYSH - Tan colored outfit w/sunglasses, HAWAII - Hawaii print/shirt, HAWAIIG - Hawaii print/shirt w/sunglasses, S13 - Mission Replay: Babylon Club Redux, SO7A - Mission Replay: Freedom Town Redux, S09 - Mission Replay: Nacho Contreras, A51 - Mission Replay: The Dock Boss, S10 - Mission Replay: Nacho's Tanker, S11 - Mission Replay: Un-Load, S12 - Mission Replay: Deliver, DW_frn - Mission Replay: Oakley Drive-In, WHITE - White suit Tony, WHITESH - White suit Tony with shades

Marvel Ultimate Alliance (Xbox 360)
These codes have to key-ed in in a relatively quick succession. The text in the brackets describe where they have to be entered. Some codes require that you press start at the end (you should hear a sound effect if you entered the code correctly) while some require that you enter them 2 to 3 times before they work. WARNING: All codes aside from the unlocking of Daredevil and Silver Surfer will cause you to no longer receive achievement points. Use at your own risk!

Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Down, Up, Down, Left, Right, Start - Unlock all powers (Character Selection Screen), Up, Down, Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Down, Start - Unlock all costumes (Character Selection Screen), Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Left, Left, Start - All Character Code (Character Selection Screen), Up, Right, Left, Down, Up, Right, Left, Down
The Courses (Comic Book Mission), Left, Right, Right, Left, Up Up, Right - All Comics (Review Menu), Down, Down, Down, Right, Right, Left, Down - All Concept Art (Review Menu), Up, Left, Left, Up, Right, Right, Up - All Cinematics (Review Menu), Up Down, Right, Left, Up, Up, Down - All Wallpapers (Review Menu), Left, Right, Right, Left, Up, Down, Down, Up - Filler (In-game), Up, Down, Up, Down, Up, Left, Down, Right - God Mode (In-game), Left, Right, Down, Down, Right, Left - Touch of Death (In-game), Up, Left, Up, Right, Down, Right - Super Speed (In-game), Up, Up, Up, Left, Right, Left - 100k (Team Menu), Up, Left, Up, Left, Down, Right, Down, Right - Level 99 (Team Menu), left, left, right, right, up, down, up, down - Unlock Daredevil, down, left, left, up, right, up, down, left - Unlock Silver Surfer

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Microsoft Gears Up

While everyone in Colorado Springs was trying to stay warm (or in my case, playing in the snow), Microsoft was announcing its plans for Emergence Day - the day "Gears of War" is released for the Xbox 360. Here's what's on the docket, straight from my contact at Microsoft:

Xbox Live will celebrate Emergence Day with 24-hours of special events beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12. Xbox Live Gold members in North America will have a chance to participate in online tournaments, download videos, win prizes and participate in a variety of activities including:

- A 24-Hour Leader board Tournament. The tournament winner receives a one of a kind “Gears of War” branded guitar as well as an automatic bye to the finals of a Global “Gears of War” Tournament planned for 2007.
- Hourly sweepstakes drawings and prize giveaways including the chance to win one of several Samsung HT-P29 Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound Systems
- An exclusive free “Gears of War” Gamer pic and theme only available on Emergence Day
- Game with Fame sessions with legendary heavy metal band and “Gears of War” fans Megadeth, the game’s lead designer Cliff Bleszinski and other members of the Epic Games team
- Never before seen videos including a special Emergence Day transmission from Cliff Bleszinski
- An MTV “Gears of War: The Road to Launch” Sneak Preview

Our boy Billy Gates is putting a bunch of eggs in the "Gears" basket. The Xbox 360 needs its own killer app to keep gamers away from the PS3 (the guaranteed shortages are sure to help) and into the 360 until "Halo 3" comes out. While the 360 has had plenty of great titles (PGR3, Call of Duty 2, etc.) it still doesn't have that one game that makes the system a must own - unless you count Halo 2...which you shouldn't.

While console exclusives are becoming rarer than a Jake Plummer 300-yard game, the Big 2 will have their heavy hitters ready in November. Microsoft will have "Gears" and Sony will counter with "Resistance: Fall of Man". The better title may sway some indecisive gamers toward a particular console - although I think Sony's price point and availabilty is going to make a much bigger difference. Who will come out on top? I have no clue (sorry, I'm a gaming columnist, not Nostradamus), its way too early to tell. But from what I've seen of "Gears", it looks amazing and the game play is fantastic.

And as I always say, I never bet against Bill Gates...unless its in a fistfight.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Top 5 Family Guy Moments

In order to commemorate the release of the new Family Guy game, I thought I'd share my top 5 moments from the show. All the clips are courtesy of youtube. If you have one I missed, feel free to share it.

1. A-Ha - Who knew there was so much danger in the dairy section of the grocery store.

2. Jughead - Peter can't keep his eyes off of his Archie comic book.

3. Last piece of pie - Chris, Stewie, Brian and Peter all want the last piece of a pie Lois has baked. Peter decides they should have a contest for it by seeing who the last person is that throws up after downing a bottle of Epicac. A barforama ensues. Absolutely hilarious!

4. Kool-Aid - As an adult, I always love those random bits that remind me of my childhood.

5. Pac Man - The ghosts try to cheer up a broken hearted Pac-Man, then quit trying and decide to go see Q-Bert.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Mole: PS3 launch titles...some other stuff

Get out your wallet - Late this week Sony finally announced the games that will be available during its launch window (any time between launch day itself and Christmas). Here's the list:

Resistance: Fall of Man
NBA 07
Genji: Days of the Blade
Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII
Call of Duty 3
Fight Night Round 3
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion F.E.A.R.
Full Auto 2: Battlelines
Madden NFL 07
Marvel: Ultimate Alliance
Mobile Suit Gundam: Crossfire
Need For Speed Carbon
Ridge Racer 7
Sonic the Hedgehog
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas
Tony Hawk’s Project 8
Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom

Greedy jerks - According to Variety magazine, both Universal and Fox studios have dropped the Halo movie. The studio's were insistant that Microsoft reduce its cut in movie project. The existing deal stated that Microsoft was due a $5 million payment on October 15th, which is what evidently prompted the last second demand. Here's what Ken Kamins, a rep for executive producer Peter Jackson, had to say in the Variety article.

"What happened was this: Universal, on behalf of both studios, asked for a meeting with the filmmakers just prior to the due date of a significant payment. Basically, they said that in order to move forward with the film, the filmmakers had to significantly reduce their deals. They waited until the last minute to have this conversation. Peter and Fran, after speaking with their producing partners and with Microsoft and Bungie respectfully declined."

Jackson is said to be continuing pre-production on the film and is seeking out a new studio.

Blog Update? - I'm sure everyone has noticed how this blog has been down for the past 24 hours. It was all part of a big update that adds more services to you, the faithful reader. You may also notice that I have as many upgrades as and Xbox Live...ZERO.

What was the point of Microsoft's shut down of both Xbox. com and Xbox Live? looks exactly the same, in fact its even worse. I can't log onto my profile. What's up with that? As for Xbox Live, it looks the same as well. No changes to the online performance, no changes to Xbox Live Marketplace - nada, zip, zero zilch.

Its fine with me if these guys need a day to work on their servers or whatever computer geeks do, but to make it sound like there's going to be some cool new features and almost a week later the website still isn't at full speed and Live is exactly the same is misleading.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tale of the Tape: NBA 2K7 vs. NBA Live '07

I like to think of gaming companies 2K and EA as having a big brother, little brother relationship. For years EA has pounded on little bro 2K but now 2K is getting bigger and stronger and EA now has to rely on its savvy more than its strength. Or maybe I'm thinking about me and my little brother, I don't remember.

When it comes to sports games, there are die-hard EA and 2K guys who swear by their perspective titles. Trying to convince one is better than the other is like trying to talk a Bronco fan into rooting for the Chiefs - its just not going to happen. As an unbiased third party (I personally love both companies), I'm here to measure up each franchises basketball titles for those who just want the best pro hoops game available. Let's take a look at both games in... (booming announcer guy-type voice) THE TALE OF THE TAPE.

Graphics - 2K7 is pretty...but its not Live pretty. Let me put it this way, 2K7 is a Mini Cooper (Mary Ann) and Live is a tricked out Escalade (Ginger).
Edge: Live '07

Multi-player - Live has online play but no leagues or menus that make it easy to find a friend, 2K7 has leagues and online tournaments with an easy to follow menu.
Edge: 2K7

Create-a-player - Live has over 50 attributes (Rebouding IQ? Are you serious?) and you can buy enough shoes to embarrass my mother. 2K7's player creator looks the same as last year.
Edge: Live '07

Soundtrack - Live has Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy". I love that song! 2K7 has A Tribe Called Quest, a group that (previous to this year) hadn't been together since 1998. Way to stay current on the music scene 2K.
Edge: Live '07

Game play: offense - In Live, the computer will double and even triple team you but its still easy to score as your player drives by defenders like an adult playing Kindergarteners. In 2K, bad passes will get picked off and the game discourages one on one play.
Edge: 2K7

Game play: defense - In Live, if you make a mistake while covering a defender you're toast. Rebounding is almost impossible. In 2K7, you can play tight D and rebounding a ball can actually happen occasionally.
Edge: 2K7

Game play: player control/appearance - 2K has the shot pro stick, which is okay, but EA's Freestyle control stick is a little more intuitive. EA's players look good but still move like video game characters. 2K's player models aren't as pretty but move just like real people.
Edge: Push

Game announcers - This isn't even close, Live's Marv Albert and Steve Kerr are so good, it feels like they're sitting next to you calling your game. Kevin Harlan and Kenny Smith pale in comparison.
Edge: Live '07

Biggest Disapointment - For 2K, I'm most disappointed by the graphics, which look untouched from last year. While players move realistically, they still look like their on skates sometimes. For Live, the online menu is a real bummer. I'm also surprised by how few modes there were to choose from.
Edge: 2K7

Biggest surprise - For 2K, I hate to repeat myself but the online component is great. For Live, I loved the ESPN integration. Watching clips from PTI and getting updates on the days sporting events every 20 minutes was awesome. The fully customizable Slam Dunk contest is also fun to play with.
Edge: Live '07

And the winner is... NBA Live '07, by a nose. The gap is getting smaller every year but big brother EA still can bring it. Live just looks and plays a little more polished than 2K7. Maybe next year little brother, maybe next year.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Rant: Achievement Hangover

Starting midnight tonight, Xbox Live and are taking the next 24 hours off. I'm glad. I am nursing one rough Achievement Point hangover.

Don't get me wrong, I've been enjoying earning points for the past 11 months and rubbing it in my brothers face (14K to 6K, eat that Phil!) but recently I noticed a disturbing trend - I've been playing some games just to boost my Gamerscore. I'm not talking good games either, I mean games I wouldn't touch with my worst enemy's (Jake Plummer) controller. When you play 99 Nights or rent NBA 2K6 just for the points, something might be wrong with you. And of course, I would never do that. While getting wrapped up in collecting points might not be too surprising (who hasn't played Halo 2 until they're ranked at a certain level or played a game to reach the high score), where do gamers draw the line? When does collecting points become more important than playing the game itself? When do we remember what gaming is really about?

For me, that moment occurred this past weekend when I was playing the incredibly bad Just Cause. Because October and November are chock full of games, I won't be reviewing it, but here's the skinny. Good: great graphics, some truly innovative ideas. Bad: Dialogue, soundtrack, storyline, controls, game play and everything else. So I'm playing this dud and thinking to myself "This game sucks, how long will it take me to get some points out of it before I can trade it in?" What kind of thinking is that?!? Its not, Should-I-buy-this-car-without-consulting-my-wife thinking, but its close. What kind of gamer had I become? A point monger, thats what kind! After deciding that 10 points was all I was willing to suffer for, I traded in the game the next day.

Thankfully, this experience shook me out of my Achievement hoarding rut. At least I hope so. I don't want to play bad games just for the points (see 99 Nights). I don't want to keep good games because of some crazy points I'd have to kill myself to earn (see Call of Duty 2) and I don't want to try and compete with the insane people who have Gamerscores in the 30/40,000's (thankfully, nobody I know). Mae West may have said "too much of a good thing is wonderful" but she obviously wasn't referring to Achievement Points. I think Cicero (Wow! I'm sooo deep) said it best: "Everything in moderation".

Oh, I'll still be collecting my points but this time I won't be going all, No-beer-and-no-TV-make-Homer-go-crazy, to do it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Mole: Xbox Live takes a day off

Slackers - Starting midnight Pacific time on Tuesday October 17 Microsoft will be shutting down and Xbox Live for 24 hours. What the heck for? To update Xbox Live and Microsoft isn't giving any clues as to what the updates are except to say that its not a dashboard update and its going to be "cool".

Here are some things, courtesy of, that have happened on October 17th.
1931: Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion.
1933: Physicist Albert Einstein arrived in the United States as a refugee from Nazi Germany.
1945: Col. Juan Peron staged a coup, becoming absolute ruler of Argentina (don't cry for me Madonna!).
1979: Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Bada Bing! - Last night I watched a half hour preview on HBO for the new PS2 game The Sopranos: Road to Respect, which comes out November 7th. As a big Sopranos fan I'm pretty excited about this game and the preview show just added to my anticipation. The graphics don't look particularly good but the story line looks great. HBO plays things a million times so if you're interested, check it out.

Gearheads - For those of you anxious to get into the world of Gears of War early, here's your chance. Head to to get into the head of main character Marcus Fenix and chat with other gamers. The site is kinda kooky but I like it.

Dig 'Frickin' Dug? - Microsoft released Dig Dug for Xbox Live Arcade on Wednesday, leading to my monthly email to one of my contacts there asking about Cyberball. His response? After initially confusing Totemball with Cyberball (kids today) he said he has no idea when Cyberball will be released. I then proceeded to put my head on my computer and cry myself to sleep.

Rock On! - Here's the complete playlist for PS2's Guitar Hero 2, coming out November 7.
1. Opening Licks
Motley Crue - Shout at the Devil, Danzig - Mother, Cheap Trick - Surrender, Wolfmother - Woman, Spinal Tap - Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight

2. Amp-Warmers
Kiss - Strutter, Nirvana - Heart-Shaped Box, Police - Message in a Bottle, Van Halen - You Really Got Me, Kansas - Carry on Wayward Son

3. String-Snappers
Foo Fighters - Monkey Wrench, Alice in Chains - Them Bones, Iggy Pop and the Stooges - Search and Destroy, Pretenders - Tattooed Love Boys, Black Sabbath - War Pigs

4. Thrash and Burn
Warrant - Cherry Pie, Butthole Surfers - Who Was in My Room Last Night, Mathew Sweet - Girlfriend, Rolling Stones - Can't You Hear Me Knockin', Guns N' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine

5. Return of the Shred
Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name, Primus - John the Fisherman, Sword - Freya, Thin Lizzy - Bad Reputation, Aerosmith - Last Child

6. Relentless Riffs
Heart - Crazy on You, Stone Temple Pilots - Tripping on a Hole in a Paper Heart, Stray Cats - Rock This Town, Allman Brothers - Jessica, Jane's Addiction - Stop

7. Furious Fretwork
Anthrax - Madhouse, Living End - Carry Me Home, Lamb of God - Laid to Rest, Reverend Horton Heat - Psychobilly Freakout, Rush - YYZ

8. Face-Melters
Avenged Sevenfold - Beast and the Harlot, Suicidal Tendencies - Institutionalized, Dick Dale - Misirlou, Megadeth - Hangar 18, Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird

And finally... - EA announced late last week that Medal of Honor heroes will be released exclusively for the PSP on October 25th. Now PSP gamers will have 3 must have games (MofH and the 2 GTA games) and a soon to be out of date movie cartridge system for their sizable investment. Yippee!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Cult of Personality

Video games have never looked better, sports games in particular. Nowadays gamers notice when a football field fills up with puddles during a rain soaked game and 3-dimensional crowds react realistically to the action right in front of them. Players move and look like their real life counterparts and the courts, fields and ice are so redonkulously gorgeous that most non-gamers (like my wife) couldn't tell the difference between live TV and a video game.

Of course this means that sports games are at their apex, their zenith, ever right?!? Not quite. As my Grandpappy used to say: "Looks ain't everything" (and then my Dad would follow up with: "But they are important"). Put together the sage wisdom of two old coots and you have what I call "The Graphics Corallary".

The "Graphics Corallary" states that if a game is so visually stunning that you kiss the case it came in (not that I've ever done this) its going to have a deficiency in the personality department. Think Lindsay Lohan, Ben Stiller, Paris Hilton or Terrell Owens. Sure you'll be happy for awhile because your new game looks so good but eventually you'll find it lacks substance, penache, what the French call A-certain-I-don't-know-what and most importantly Personality. And yes I did capitalize Personality.

It wasn't always this way. Sports video games used to have style. In football, gamers could take out their opponents quarterback with only a 15-yard penalty to discourage them. And if you were playing against a friend, you'd have to hold him down so he couldn't press the reset button. In racing games cars used to take damage, in baseball games players would break their bats after striking out and in basketball you could commit a hard foul. But the sports game with the most Personality was hockey. In NHL '94 you could slam a guy so hard he flipped into the bench, have a tooth-busting fight every period and check a guy so hard against the glass it broke! Now all of those things are gone.

I know that just about every pro league out there is trying to keep things clean. They want fans to concentrate on great athletic ability and make all sports family friendly. This attitude gets passed down to the NFL, NHL, MLB, etc. licensed video games. I get it, there's more money in it. It's also incredibly hypocritical. What do you see on Sports Center? You see the big catch and the game winning bucket but you'll also always see lots of big hits or that days bench clearing brawl.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to be playing NBA Live '07 and suddenly have to button mash as my starting power forward rushes into the crowd to take out fans. I'm not promoting violence, I'm promoting realism.

If Al Wilson hits Steve McNair late and draws a penalty while knocking him out of the game for awhile, I should be able to do it and see it to. If mild-mannered Joe Sakic is bent out of shape about some cheap shots he's taken earlier in a game and then nails the guy so hard into the glass it knocks him out, I should be able to do that to. And if Tiger Woods confronts a fan who dares to take a picture during his backswing and throws it into a pond, I should be able to do that (while staring at Elin Nordegren) to.

As EA Sports is known to say "If its in the game, its in the game". Americans love sports, so why not put what we love about sports (the Personality) into our games as well? Sports video games look as real as ever, now its time they played like it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

FN3 Heads to the PS3

No, there is nothing wrong with your eyes - EA Sports Fight Night Round 3 for the PlayStation 3 will be shipping on December 12. The game will feature exclusive content including an ESPN Integration package and a new first person mode called "Get in the Ring".

Get in the Ring mode allows gamers to experience the fight through the eyes of the boxer from the moment they step into the ring until someone is KO’d. The first person view can be played on or offline, throughout the career mode or in single bouts. Gamers will experience the sensation of the sport with different visual and audio effects occurring throughout the fight such as ear ringing, restricted vision, flashes of bright light, color shifts and blur effects that simulate the sense and feeling of getting punched. This of course will happen after you've paid $600 for your PS3 and before you've played the game.

Other new features

ESPN Integration - Get the latest scores and news with streaming radio, ESPN motion, live ticker updates, and ESPNEWS. I really like this in NBA Live '07, very cool feature.

Split-Screen Multiplayer Action - Go head to head against your friends in PlayStation 3 exclusive split-screen battles.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Mole: Quick Hits

NBA Live 07 News - If you're interested in throwing down as multi-media mogul Jay-Z in NBA Live 07, you're about to get your wish. Starting October 11th, if you buy a pair of S. Carter Basketball IV shoes, gamers will get a code to unlock Jay-Z. No word on whether his long time gal pal Beyonce is unlockable.

Strategy Guides - EA has recently released video strategy guides for NCAA 07 and Madden 07 for 160 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live Marketplace. They've also released a number of classic stadiums for 300 points. Oh how I miss good old Mile High Stadium.

Enough World of Warcraft to choke even Rosie O'Donnell - On Thursday Blizzard announced its new World of Warcraft: Burning Crusade collectors edition. It sells for $69.99 and has a tentative release date of November 28th. Here's what you get (and if its not enough WoW for you, you'll never be satisfied):

- World Of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade on both CD and DVD
- World Of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Behind-the-Scenes DVD
- The Art of World Of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Hardcover Art Book
- Exclusive In-Game Pet: Netherwhelp
- Two World Of Warcraft Trading Card Game Starter Packs, Plus Exclusive Cards
- Map of Outland Mouse Pad
- World Of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Soundtrack CD

Say hello to the Sixaxis - Sony Japan has revealed that the name of the PS3's new controller will be the Sixaxis. Since there is no rumble feature, I guess "Dual Shock" had to go. In Japan the controller goes for 5,000 yen ($43). A couple of peripherals were announced as well including a Blu-ray movie remote for 3,600($31) and a memory card adaptor for 1,500 yen($13). I'm sure these prices will be higher in the U.S.

Gears of War Contest - Microsoft is offering up a backstage pass to check out Epic Studios and their new game Gears of War. On October 27, two lucky winners will head to Raleigh, North Carolina to tour the studio, meet the games creators (including Cliffy B) and try out a multi-player level of Gears. Airfare and hotel accomodations are included. If your interested in entering go to

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Top 5 Reasons to Not Buy a PS3...just yet

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that you want the best, most powerful and hottest gaming console on the market. You're thinking your kids (or you, lets not be dishonest here) deserve the best. Since Sony makes the most expensive system and has a name you can trust, that means you have to buy a PlayStation 3 when it comes out November 17th, right? Maybe.

Before you open up your wallet and take the plunge (and its going to be an expensive plunge) here are a few things to consider.

Terry's Top 5 Reasons to Not Buy A PS3...just yet

1. Money, Money, Money, Money...MONEY! - The PlayStation 3 is going to hit your bank account, hard. While the Nintendo Wii (which comes out Nov. 19) sells for $250 and the Xbox 360 sells for $299 or $399, the PS3 will sell for a robust $499 or (gulp) $599.

Much like the lower priced Xbox 360, there is no real reason to buy the cheaper version of the PS3 (no internet connectivity, no memory stick/SD/compactflash slots) so you're looking at $600 right off the bat. Throw in tax, a few of games (prices haven't been released yet but expect $60 and up), a second controller, a warranty (the first generation of PS2's had numerous defections, so don't you dare go without it) and an accessory or two and you're looking at leaving the store around $1,000 lighter. $1,000! Read that one more time. That's enough money to buy an Xbox 360 and a Nintendo Wii. Or invest in your kids college fund. Hah! Just kidding.

2. Lingering Online Questions - The PlayStation 2 has a free online gaming service. That would be great, if anybody actually used it. What does this have to do with the PS3? Plenty. The future of gaming is online connectivity. Downloading upgrades, updates, movies, music and even games is where the gaming world is headed and its partially there already. Of course, a superior online component includes playing against other gamers online which is always a great time.

The Xbox did an awesome job of setting up the Xbox 360 for online success. Its Xbox Live Marketplace, where you can do all of the things I listed above, is easily one of the best things about owning a 360. Has the PS2 set up the Ps3 for similar success? Not even close. What's even more bothersome (yes, I just used that word) is that aside from saying its free, Sony has given no indication of what its online service will be or do. If its anything like the PS2's online service, gamers will riot. Or at least they should.

3. HD DVD vs. Blu-ray - Remember when there was a battle between VHS and Betamax for home video supremacy? The HD DVD/Blu-ray debate is like that, sort of. Both formats are trying to take the place of DVD's and both formats are represented by different sides, HD DVD by Microsoft and Blu-ray by Sony.

Here's the rub, nobody knows which way this battle is going to go. A Blu-ray player is included with a PS3 and the Xbox 360 has an add-on HD DVD player going for $200. With so much uncertainty, There's no way I'm buying the 360 add-on and the Blu-ray player in the PS3 is not really a selling point. I don't want to be the guy who ended up with my generation's version of the Betamax.

Of course none of this might matter in the end as it seems no one is in a big hurry to get rid of their DVD collections. I know I'm not. So instead of talking about HD DVD/Blu-ray in a VHS/Beta kind of way, we may some day be comparing it to the Laser Disc instead.

Oh by the way, guess who created Betamax? That's right, Sony.

4. The Competition is Good - Most years when you get a PlayStation, you know you have the best console on market. That's not necessarily the case this year as the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii offer gamers solid alternatives to gamings most dominant franchise.

The Xbox 360 is a powerful machine and has the best online component of any system. The available games are going to be just as good as anything avaible on the Ps3. And so far, with everything I've seen, while the PS3 is more powerful there is no difference in how games look or are played compared to the 360. While the Wii certainly won't be able to compete with the Ps3 and the 360 when it comes to graphics, its easily the most innovative of the three. The Wii remote and Nunchuk controllers and the always creative games from Nintendo make the Wii system very attractive.

Throw in the price differences between the Xbox 360 ($200 cheaper than the PS3), the Wii ($350 cheaper) and the PlayStation 3 and suddenly choosing a console is a lot harder.

5. Sony's Arrogance - Still not convinced? Fine. I hate to go all US Weekly on you, but check out these quotes from some Sony big wigs. I'd list a few more but I don't want to wake up next to a horse's head tomorrow.

"Its probably too cheap." President and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Ken Kutaragi on the $600 pricepoint for the PlayStation 3.

"The first 5 million consumers are going to buy the PS3 even if it didn't have games." Sony Computer Entertainment Europe CEO David Reeves.

Too cheap?!? Buy it even if it didn't have games?!? This is a perfect example of disrespecting your clientele. I understand brand loyalty...somewhat. But there is such a thing as loyalty to a fault (except when it comes to sports teams and basketball shoes). Should someone buy something just for the name on it or because they know they're getting a good product from a company that respects them? I know for a fact that the PS3 will be a big seller, my mamma didn't raise no fool! I just don't like having it thrown in my face.

A couple of other items to consider about the PS3, but not quite Top 5 material: The reduction of game exclusivity (see Assasins Creed, GTA 4) and limited initial console availability.

So What Does It All Mean? - Hey, you're going to buy what's best for you. As well you should. And its not like I think the Ps3 is going to suck. I'm certain it won't, I know that I'll be getting one. Of course I write about video games, so I have no choice (my son is getting a Wii for Christmas so I'll have all 3 systems, please pretend to feel sorry for me). You do have a choice however, so I hope you make the most informed decision possible. There's a lot ot unanswered questions out there about the PS3 so a wait and see approach may not be a bad thing. But whatever you end up with, as long as you're happy with your choice, you can't lose.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Have you ever had something so heinous happen to you that it made you want to scream? It happens to me more often than I'd like. I call it having a Kahn Moment. Why? Well for most people, when something quickly goes awry they'll shout out "Nooo!" or "Crap!" or "Shazam!" or whatever. Not me. Whenever something goes wrong for me I shout out "Kahn!" and if I can get a little echo in, all the better.

This is obviously lifted from the movie Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn. I feel that any day I can use a quote from Captain James Tiberius Kirk ("They threw me a few curves", "I don't believe in the no-win scenario") in an appropriate real-life situation is a good day for me - and yes its pathetic that I know Kirk's middle name. Like most guys I borrow quotes from TV, movies and music (sorry but t-shirt sayings do not qualify) without shame and place it into my regular vocabulary. My wife doesn't find this very creative but I disagree. I think it takes quite a bit of imagination to take something funny and use it in the appropriate context. Sure some sayings like "That's what she said" and Little John's "What?!?" can be overused but that just illustrates my point.

The reason I bring this up is due to my most recent Kahn Moment. Saturday night, after a long copy editing shift at the Gazette, I came home to unwind with a little bit of Saints Row. After 2 hours, I'm making some serious progress when suddenly the game locks up. Kaaahhhn!!! It was 3 o'clock in the morning, I had been playing for 2 freaking hours and of course I didn't save my progress. I just sat and stared at my screen, waiting for things to start moving, pushing buttons on my controller like a madman and cursing at Bill Gates. Eventually I popped out the disc and my 360 brought me to the main blade. I then went to bed and had nightmares that everything in my life quit moving except me.

This brings me to the dilemma of what to do with the game. Do I trade it in or keep it? I've invested a lot of time in the game and want to continue playing it but I also don't want to spend another 2 hours going over the same things I've already played. Of course if I would have just saved my progress, none of this would have happened to me. The moral of the story, which can be used for gamers and non-gamers: Don't be an idiot, save frequently.