Friday, May 30, 2008

From the Desk of Don King

Don's gonna knock you out - A few press releases before the weekend. First up, a personal letter from Mr. Don King regarding his new boxing title followed by some free SimCity stuff.
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my extreme pleasure to personally introduce to you today the next great step in sports entertainment, the latest evolution in digital drama, the pinnacle of sports superbitude and the only game with fame to bear my name: Don King Presents: Prizefighter!Language lacks the power to express the sheer magnitude of magnificence emanating from this unparalleled sports entertainment experience, and what words cannot describe, only visuals can provide. To that end I am pleased to present you with a stellar collection of magnificent media designed especially to bring you into the awesome thrill and spectacle that is Don King Presents: Prizefighter. Prepare yourself for a graduate course in pugilistic perfection and epic gladiatorial combat as you immerse yourself in this seminal sports simulation.
Only Don King Presents: Prizefighter lets you experience the incredible highs and lows of a young fighter in poverty and shame rising up to the heights of fortune and fame, going from underdog to boss hog, from underrated to celebrated. I am a promoter of the people, for the people, by the people, and I am ecstatic to bring you my greatest cultural contribution. I've always said that my magic lies in my people ties, and nothing is going to stand in the way of the people getting to experience the pinnacle of sports video game entertainment. We are now bringing pugilistic pride to the people far and wide. To help spread this message to people around the world, we're introducing, the one-stop destination for entertainment salvation.
Don King Presents: Prizefighter will be available on June 10, 2008 for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and this fall for Wii™ home video game system from Nintendo and Nintendo DS™. For more information, please visit
- It's the best anything ever! Only in America!
Did someone say free? - A Demo Version of SimCity Societies With Updated Content and Features Will Be Available As A Free Download On June 12 At
WHO: SimCity Societies from The Sims Label, Electronic Arts
WHAT: That demo will show off much of the new fan requested content and features that have been added to the game over the last few months through five free game updates. Just some of the features and content added to Societies include:· New strategic modes: Basic, Hardcore and Nightmare, each one a more intense challenge to your city buildings skills.· Three new exotic disasters, including UFOs, a giant robot and a massive monster· New events and crises, including counter-cultural revolutions, general strikes, epidemics and more· Easy firefighting controls. Put out the flames faster!· Improved road placing controls· Almost countless UI additions, everything more charts and graphs to new auto-execute buttons for special abilities· City Policies, giving you the power to enact Universal Healthcare, Indoctrination, and other ways to affect, or control, your citizens lives· Six scenarios ranging from the relaxing the intense· Dozens of new buildings and special Sims· More than 100 other additions and improvementsThe free downloadable demo will include the tutorial, a challenging scenario and two major disasters.
WHEN: Look for it on June 12 at
WHERE: The SimCity Societies free game updates are available right now at When you download update 5, it will include all previous updates.NEXT: Upcoming for SimCity Societies after the demo launch is its first expansion, Destinations, and the massive compilation, The SimCity Box (which includes Societies, Destinations, SimCity 4, SimCity 4 Rush Hour, Snap City and Spore Creature Creator Trial Version), due out on June 23. Check for more info.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Does Niko Deserve More Money?

After reading this article on Yahoo!, this one from and talking with my brother about Michael Hollick's financial woes, I'm left conflicted. Hollick, the voice of GTA IV protagonist Niko Bellic, is complaining because he only made $100K for his efforts. He spoke countless lines of dialogue and performed motion capture work for Niko yet he'll get no residuals, no checks after reaching a certain amount of sales...nada.
My initial reaction was that he was getting robbed. Actors, musicians, writers and other artists receive money for their work based on sales but because the Screen Actors Guild has nothing in its contract covering electronic media, actors in video games get paid a standard daily rate. While I'm certain big name actors like Samuel L Jackson and Ray Liotta got treated like royalty from Rockstar, the average actor is screwed. $100K for 15 months is nothing to sneeze at, but when your work grosses $600 million in two weeks and you were an integral part, that has to suck. It seems that Rockstar would at least throw him a bone and give the guy a little love, right? Once again the corporate "man" makes his money and runs.
But after I talked with my brother (who did some fine impressions of Niko, Master Chief and Solid Snake, but a weak Mario) I started to change my mind and thought about the following things.
- Hollick signed a contract so he knew what he was getting paid, nobody made him agree to it and $100K is good money for a no-name actor. In fact, this should help him get more work in the future.
- Rockstar was playing by the rules, its the Screen Actors Guild that should get with the program. They're hurting their own clients by not having electronic media accounted for in their contracts.
- If you pay Hollick, who did make a strong contribution, when does the compensation end? Do the scriptwriters get more money? The designers? At some point you have to accept that you just get paid for the work you agreed to do.
But the most important reason this is a non-issue is because Hollick is completely replaceable. Niko is certainly a compelling character but the game would have been just as good if I was the one performing his voice overs. The story, GTA's successful history, the setting, and the crazy things you can do in the game are what sells GTA IV - not the voice over work of Michael Hollick. The same could be said for pretty much any game with an iconic character. I can't really see anyone doing a better job than Charles Martinet (the voice of Mario) or David Hayter (Solid Snake) but if Gilbert Gottfried did the voice of Master Chief instead of Steve Downes would anybody really care? Well, yes you probably would. But when my brother does a dead on Master Chief, I realized how relative voice work in a game is. Just like those times when the importance of graphics are discussed about games (usually when new consoles come out), the truth is that when it comes right down to it, its the gameplay that makes a game memorable. That's always how its been and how it'll always be.
So what do you think? Is Hollick being underpaid or does he just need to get over it? Let me know your point of view.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Guitar Hero World Tour

Competition for Rock Band? - When Rock Band was released it made Guitar Hero as irrelevant as HD DVD players. In order to get back into the fray Activision had to do something and Guitar Hero: Aerosmith Edition was not the answer. So what did Guitar Hero do? Become more like Rock Band, which is a good thing. Check out this recent Activision press release to see what they have in mind.
ACTIVISION UNVEILS GUITAR HERO® WORLD TOUR – THE DEFINITIVE ROCK & ROLL MUSIC VIDEOGAMING EXPERIENCE, New State of the Art Wireless Instruments, Innovative Music Studio Lets Players Compose, Record, Edit and Share Music, Biggest Selection of On-Disc Music with All Master Tracks, Robust New Eight-Player “ Battle of the Bands” Mode, First Game Ever in the Guitar Hero® Franchise to Allow In-Game Downloadable Content on Wii
Santa Monica, CA – May 22, 2008 – When the house lights go down this fall, a new generation of axe shredders, drummers and fearless frontmen will come together and rock with Activision, Inc.’s Guitar Hero® World Tour. The latest installment from the #1 best-selling video game franchise of 2007, Guitar Hero World Tour will transform music gaming by marrying Guitar Hero’s® exhilarating guitar gameplay, with a cooperative band experience that combines the most advanced wireless instruments with revolutionary new online and offline gameplay modes. The game will feature a slick newly redesigned guitar, a genuine electronic drum kit and a microphone, as well as an innovative Music Studio music creator that lets players compose, record, edit and share their own rock and roll anthems, along with online Band Career and 8-player “Battle of the Bands.”
Delivering the largest on-disc set list in a music-rhythm game to-date, Guitar Hero World Tour is comprised entirely of master recordings from some of the greatest classic and modern rock bands of all-time including Van Halen, Linkin Park, The Eagles, Sublime and many more. Additionally, the game will offer significantly more localized downloadable music than ever before on all of the next-generation consoles. Budding rock stars will also be given creative license to fully customize everything from their characters’ appearance and instruments to their band’s logo and album covers.
In addition to a newly designed more responsive guitar controller and microphone, Guitar Hero World Tour will deliver the most realistic drum experience ever in a video game with an authentic electronic drum kit. Featuring three drum pads, two raised cymbals and a bass kick pedal, the drum controller combines larger and quieter, velocity-sensitive drum heads with soft rubber construction to deliver authentic bounce back and is easy to set up, move, break down and store.
Guitar Hero World Tour delivers more ways to play than ever before. Virtual musicians can live out their rock and roll fantasies by playing either a single instrument, or any combination of instruments, in addition to the full band experience. In addition to all of the online gameplay modes from Guitar Hero® III: Legends of Rock, Guitar Hero World Tour introduces Battle of the Bands mode which allows eight players to join online and challenge each other band-to-band to determine who is the best of the best. In the Band modes, up to four players can jam together, online or off, as they progress through the game, and in single-player Career Mode, players can jam on any of the instruments in branching venue progression enabling them to rock out in the order of their choice. The game’s innovative new Music Studio lets players express their musical creativity by giving them access to a full compliment of tools to create digital music from scratch, utilizing all of the instruments, and then play their compositions in the game. Music creators will also be able to share their recordings with their friends online through GHTunes™ where other gamers can download their unique compositions and play them.
Guitar Hero World Tour is being developed by Neversoft Entertainment for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system. The Wii™ version is being developed by Vicarious Visions. The PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system version is being developed by Budcat. The game is not yet rated by the ESRB.

Wanna win a free XBLA game? - The very excellent Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness (pictured up top) was released Wednesday on XBLA. I highly recommend it but if you're not ready to drop $20 on a downloadable title, you have the opportunity to get it for free. Head to to check out my review of the game and if you write a comment you are automatically entered in a drawing to win a redemption code. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What Kind of Gamer Are You?

The Gamer Level Calculator 1.0 – Are you a hardcore gamer or are you a noob who should just pack your shit and move to France with the rest of the wimps? Maybe you’re somewhere in-between, like porn on Cinemax (not quite porn, not quite rated R). Its time to find out with the handy reference guide below. Add up all your points and check the scoring guide to see where you rank. You’re on the honor system here so don’t cheat.
Own a current-gen videogame console (+1pt.)
Own two or more current-gen videogame consoles (+1.5pts)
Own a classic console (i.e. NES, Atari 2600, Dreamcast) (+.5pts)
Use a PC as your primary gaming console (-2pts)
Gaming Geek Factor
Have padded your stats in any Madden (+.5pts)
Padded your Gamerscore with a game bought or rented (+.25pts)
Padded your Gamerscore with games from Burger King (-.25pts)
Own any videogame related toys/action figures (+.5pts)
Competed in a videogame tournament at a store (+.5pts)
Attended 2 or more midnight releases (+.5pts)
Own 1 or more videogame themed t-shirt (+.5pts)
Called someone a noob online (+.5pts)
Cursed at a complete stranger online or just in general made an ass of yourself online (-3pts)
Wrote a comment on a gaming blog or gaming website (+.5pts)
If you are reading this (+1pt)
Beat Super Mario Bros. (NES), Zelda (NES), Metal Gear Solid (PS1), Halo (Xbox) and GTA III (PS2) (+1pt)
If you ever “accidentally” hit the reset button in the middle of a game because you were about to lose (-.25pts)
Played all of the original versions of following games (+2pts)
- Golden Eye
- Pa Rappa the Rappa
- Tomb Raider
- Crash Bandicoot
- Sonic
- Doom
- NBA Jam
- Resident Evil
- Combat
Played Mary Kate and Ashley: Magical Mystery Mall (-5pts)
Dedication to the art form
Subscribe to a videogame magazine (+.25pts)
Subscribe to multiple videogame magazines (+.5pts)
Bought a TV specifically for gaming (+.5pts)
Own 1-4 games (+.25pts)
Own 5-10 games (+.5pts)
Own 11-20 games (+.75pts)
Own 21-99 games (+1pts)
Own 100 or more games (open your own game store already)
Play 0-1 hours of games a week (-2pts)
Play 2-5 hours of games a week (0pts)
Play 6-10 hours of games a week (+.25pts)
Play 11-15 hours of games a week (+.5pts)
Play 16-25 hours of games a week (+1pt)
Play 25 hours or more a week (you are a lonely guy)
Gaming IQ
Name 7 videogame publishers (+.5pts)
Name 5 videogame developers (+.5pts)
Name 3 videogame execs (+.5pts)
Name the creator of the Metal Gear franchise (+.25pts)
Name the creator of the Mario franchise (+.25pts)
Name the creator of the Final Fantasy franchise (+.25pts)
Understand and can explain the phrase “the cake is a lie” (+.25pts)
Know where you can find the Union Aerospace Corporation (+.5pts)
Name 12 consoles (+.5pts)
Name the games these 5 characters come from (+.5pts)
- Meryl Silverburgh
- Bastilla
- Andrew Ryan
- Cormano
- Lian Xing
Name at least 2 games Michael “Jester” Ironside did voiceover work for (+.25pts)
Scoring Table
0-1: The Anti-Gamer – You suck. Why are you even on this site? Go out right now and buy yourself a console and get with the program. I’m serious. Gaming is a bigger business than movies baby! Its time to join the party.
2-3: The Noob – You are one of two people. You are A) a guy who owns a console but never plays it (see: dude who bought a PS3 only as a Blu-ray player) or B) you just got into games. If you’re Guy A, dust off your console and put a disc in. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it. If you’re Guy B, you are a noob and will have to game your ass off to lose your noob status. Welcome to gaming, noob.
4-5: The Half-Ass Gamer – You play games but are very picky. You can go weeks without playing but when a game comes out that you really like you can play for 6 hours straight, every day for a week. You don’t care about community, you rarely play online or against friends, you only care about what you can get out of a title. Gaming to you is like exercise, its just a good way to blow off some steam. You like it, you enjoy it, but you don’t truly get into it.
6-7: Joe Gamer – You are the average gamer. Every gaming magazine and advertising campaign is aimed at you. You tend to play it safe with your titles, playing the “big” games that receive a lot of publicity or games you’ve played previous iterations of (Madden, Halo). You have a few tendencies that, if fed properly, could lead you to being a hardcore gamer but you always keep it under control because you’re already self-conscious about being a gamer because either your friends, your woman, or both give you a hard time about it.
8-9: The Hardcore – Gaming is an important part of your life and you make sure to find time for it almost every day. You know your stuff, almost like a gaming historian, but you never rub anybody’s face in it. You feel your mission is to spread gaming around and convert non-gamers into gamers. Gaming is almost an obsession for you, but you are smart enough to only occasionally let the lines between reality and gaming get blurred. You get a kick out of talking about games with anybody who’ll listen, which most of the time is some random guy at a gaming store.
10 and up: The Ubergamer – Your knowledge of gaming and its history is Geoff Keighleyesque. You are considered by family and friends to be a walking gaming encyclopedia, mostly because gaming is the only thing you ever talk about but also because you have no boundaries when it comes to showing your love of games. You’re the type of guy who’ll come dressed as a game character at a midnight release and you might even have a game related tattoo. You’ve forgotten more about gaming than most people remember. Joe Gamer and Hardcore gamers admire you, everyone else thinks you're nuts.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Does Casual Gaming Exist?

For me, you are a gamer or non-gamer. I think most of you know that you can spend ten or twenty hours on an internet flash game and have not realised. The guy who plays these games regularly - he's a core gamer. Someone who is fifty-years old who only plays Brain Training, but plays it like a core gamer is a core gamer. I don't like this word casual so much. Because people consider that casual needs to be something easy. If you're good at any game you can play at a high difficulty level. Take Tetris. There is incredible gameplay, it's very simple, very easy to understand, but it's also very different. I think a game can be a light enough to enjoy and for all gamers to become a core gamer on it. There is no casual gaming. There is just a different way to play.
- Nintendo Europe Senior Marketing Director Laurent Fischer (5/14/08)
The definition of irony - As my pappy used to say, "Life isn't black and white, its just different shades of gray. And no you can't borrow $20." I have no idea what he meant or why he was discussing color patterns when I was trying to bum money off of him but if I apply pappy's logic to the quote above it seems pretty clear to me that Mr. Fischer, despite being an executive for Nintendo, has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to gamers. Does Mr. Fischer mean to say that the company that makes the Wii, a console which prides itself on its wide appeal, truly believes that casual gaming doesn't exist?
I've read those stories in the newspaper about the Wii being used to entertain seniors who live in retirement communities. From Larry's perspective, these seniors and the guy who stays up until 3am playing team deathmatch in Halo 3 are one and the same. With a few exceptions (pregnancy, marriage, gender) saying you're either one thing or another is just plain stupid. So the statement of "you are a gamer or a non-gamer" coming from a Nintendo exec borders on the moronic.
Mr. Fischer, casual gaming is not Big Foot, it exists and is doing quite well. In fact, its one of gaming's most profitable and popular attractions because its easy to learn, inexpensive, usually short, and enjoyable on a basic level almost anyone can understand. Of course, you should already know this since your company has made some of the most popular casual games of all time. The problem with your statement is that you think only gamers play casual games. Wrong! Games come in different levels of complexity, so do gamers. To simplify a complicated topic for you, here's a basic table you can reference next time you open your pie-hole about casual games and gamers. This is not a complete list since under each level are a number of subcategories, but since you haven't been able to comprehend gamer needs so far, I thought I'd dumb this table down for you.
Gamer Levels
Non-Gamer - These are people who don't play games, casual or otherwise. They look down upon gamers from on high and view gaming as a waste of time and money. These are the type of douchebags who spend way too much time tying sweaters around their neck and putting dimes in their penny loafers. You might talk them into trying a game, but then they'll just toss the controller back to you and say, "I don't get why you're so into this. This isn't art. You should be reading the classics or watching art house flicks with subtitles." Non-gamers have no soul.
Casual - This is a bit of a misnomer but since the phrase is already well known its time to give it a proper definition. A casual gamer isn't defined by the games that they play but by the amount of time that they spend gaming. My wife likes playing Tetris and Solitaire, strictly casual fare. But she'll also play GTA IV every now and then, but only for 10 minutes because she likes to run people over and smash into things. The GTA series is considered pretty hardcore, so does this make her a hardcore gamer? No, because she only plays about 30-45 minutes of games a week. I play "hardcore" games (Halo 3, Orange Box, etc.) but I also enjoy casual games (Echochrome, Battle Zone, etc.) just as much. Does this make me a casual gamer? Hell no, because I play about 20 hours of games a week. If gamer #1 played 20 hours of Paper Boy and Dig Dug a week while gamer #2 played two hours of Call of Duty 4 a week, who would you consider the casual gamer?
Hardcore - As with casual gamers there are varying degrees of hardcore gamers but at its most basic level, a hardcore gamer is someone who just loves games. Usually they have multiple consoles, an entertainment system designed specifically for games, catches up on the latest news online and through multiple magazine subscriptions, and probably posts comments on blogs or forums. A hardcore gamer views games as both entertainment and art form and will argue the point with anyone who thinks otherwise. They also own a few gaming t-shirts and aren't ashamed to be called fanboys. Hardcore gamers are funny, sexy, super intelligent people that are the life of any party.
Gamer or non-gamer? That kind of labeling doesn't make any sense. Want to know what kind of gamer you are? Find out in my next post.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bourne Conspiracy Achievements

Matt Damon not included - That's right, The Talented Mr. Ripley is not taking part in the making of the Bourne Conspiracy videogame. Sarah Silverman's big mouth must have done what no Blackbriar trained agent could ever do, beat him into submission. But if you're a Bourne fan this shouldn't stop you from being interested in this title that comes out in early June. The very lengthy demo is available right now on Xbox Live and PSN, I highly recommend it. While you have to wait 2 weeks for the full version, here are the known Achievements to sink your teeth into.
1. Treadstone Trainee - Completed all campaign missions on Trainee or higher (40 points)
2. Treadstone Agent - Completed all campaign missions on Agent or higher (60 points)
3. Treadstone Assassin - Completed all campaign missions on Assassin (100 points)
4. Brawler - Defeat 50 opponents in hand-to-hand without performing a takedown (15 points)
5. Pugilist - Defeat 100 opponents in hand-to-hand without performing a takedown (25 points)
6. Heavyweight - Defeat 200 opponents in hand-to-hand without performing a takedown (50 points)
7. Need Glasses - Finished a mission with an accuracy below 10% (5 points)
8. Good Shot Clustering - Finished a mission with an accuracy of at least 75% (10 points)
9. Eye on the Target - Finished a mission with an accuracy of at least 90% (15 points)
10. Deadeye - Finished 3 missions with an accuracy of at least 90% (25 points)
11. Collateral Damage - Destroy 10 explodables (10 points)
12. Massive Collateral Damage - Destroy 50 explodables (25 points)
13. Manual Shooter - Finished a mission without using a shooting takedown (5 points)
14. Fancy Shooter - Finish off 50 opponents using shooting takedowns (15 points)
15. Bullet Master - Finish off 200 opponents using shooting takedowns (50 points)
16. Hard Slog - Finish a mission without using any hand-to-hand takedowns (5 points)
17. Living Weapon - Finish off 50 opponents using hand-to-hand takedowns (25 points)
18. 30 Million Dollar Weapon - Finish off 200 opponents using hand-to-hand takedowns (50 points)
19. Student of Surroundings - Defeat 20 opponents with contextual takedowns (10 points)
20. Master of Environment - Defeat 100 opponents with contextual takedowns (30 points)
21. Lucky Shot! - Kill 25 enemies with headshots (10 points)
22. Laser Aim - Kill 150 enemies with headshots (50 points)
23. Homebody - Collected 5 Passports (5 points)
24. Frequent Flyer - Collected 30 Passports (15 points)
25. World Traveler - Collect all Passports (30 points)
26. Wrecking Machine - Take out multiple opponents with one takedown 30 times (25 points)
27. One-Man Gang - Take out multiple opponents with one takedown 3 times (5 points)
28. Adrenaline Junkie - Use three full bars of Adrenaline while driving through the streets of Paris (15 points)
29. Civic Menace - Rampage through Paris: Destroy the cafe, china shop, and 200 props (20 points)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

GTA IV Stats

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics - GTA IV tracks more numbers than an official MLB statistician. Keeping with that tradition, here are a few of my own stats after playing the game for almost 2 weeks.
Odds your wife/girlfriend will get sick of your GTA IV addiction: 90% - If you ask my wife, this might be higher but I'm going to go conservative because I'd like to think I haven't ticked her off that much yet. Although I have heard the words, "I'm tired of the sound of guns shooting," a lot more than I did the last time I became obsessed with a game, but I'm over my Halo 3 crush now.
Number of times I've ignored the waypoints in order to get to a destination quicker: 35 - Liberty City is a large place so the new waypoint system (stolen from Saints Row) is great, but why in the world does it follow the rules of the road? Following the yellow or green line to a destination will often make me avoid one way streets. This is GTA right? Do you think I care if I drive down a one way street?
Times the line between the GTA world and reality have been blurred: 3 - You play enough Grand Theft Auto, especially for an extended period of time, and then quit to go out to run an errand and your brain starts getting confused. You see a taxi and think about getting a ride to a safehouse. You sit at stoplight and start thinking, "What the heck am I waiting for? I should just run this thing." You see ramp and think about jumping it. Sure signs that its time to unplug for awhile.
Number of times I've wished for a custom radio station: 27 - As good as the music in this game is, it seems to repeat quite a bit. So does the dialogue on many of the radio stations. I do like hearing about my exploits on the news reports and the commercials are a riot but I'm tired of listening to the same songs by Phil Collins and Kanye West. Give me a damn custom radio station!
Hours taken to master the splashy driving controls - Lets see, the game has been out 13 days. I've played GTA an average of 2 hours a day. So that puts me at about 26 hours. So the answer is around 20 hours. Although I'm not confident enough to do any of the single player races yet.
Number of times I've laughed out loud: 78 - Between the commercials, the in-game dialogue, the billboards, the names of the stores, and the random comments from NPC's just walking on the street, this could be the funniest game I've played since Blasto.
Signs that gaming is reaching mainstream audiences: 3 (at least) - GTA parodies have popped up on Conan O'Brien, Craig Ferguson and Saturday Night Live, and those are just the ones that I've seen myself. When even non-gamers are getting gaming jokes, you know its a pop culture phenomenon. Of course this is the exception not the rule when it comes to games. Don't count on seeing PixelJunk Monster parodies any time soon.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Fight Night Round 4 Featuring Mike Tyson

Iron Mike is back - After watching a recent Mike Tyson interview on E:60, an ESPN news magazine type show, I got all nostalgic. At one point Iron Mike was the baddest man on the planet and now he's a complete mess. I actually felt bad for him, which is hard to do for a convicted rapist, ear muncher, father of multiple children from multiple women, and former millionaire who's pissed away every cent he's ever earned. Everybody deserves a second chance (or fifth or sixth) and it looks like EA is giving him one by signing up Mike to be the Fight Night Round 4 headliner. My advice for EA while developing this game? If you're the motion capture guy, don't make fun of Mike when he puts on the skin tight black suit with all the sensor balls. You might get killed. The press release sent out today is below.
Electronic Arts announced today that EA SPORTS™Fight Night Round 4 is in development at EA Canada in Vancouver under the EA SPORTS brand. EA SPORTS Fight Night is back with the most realistic “in the ring” experience to date, featuring some of the greatest boxers in history fighting in their prime.
“The EA SPORTS Fight Night franchise has always been synonymous with quality and innovation that raised the bar for the sports videogame genre”, said Kevin Wilkinson, Executive Producer, EA SPORTS. “EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 3 was a platform defining game as the industry transitioned to next generation consoles. EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 4 will change how boxing games are played and measured in the future.”
Featuring a re-written gameplay engine, EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 4 will add a variety of fighting styles and boxer differentiation to authentically emulate the greatest fighters of all time. Pressure your opponent with the brawling inside style of young Mike Tyson, bobbing and weaving to set up powerful hooks and uppercuts. Capitalize on Muhammad Ali’s reach, hand speed and fleetness of foot to bewilder your opponent with lightning fast jabs and straights from the outside. For the first time in history, EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 4 gives you the opportunity to pit these legendary heavyweights against one another and name a true champ.
No fight will be the same with an all-new physics-based animation system that recreates the full spectrum of true-to-life punch impacts, giving boxers a devastating arsenal of punches, blocks and ring movement. The new physics system allows for missed punches, glancing punches, knockout blows and for the first time ever, rough and tumble inside fighting. Fatigue, adrenaline, footwork and timing all come into play as you hammer away at your opponents.
EA SPORTS Fight Night Round 4 will be available for the Xbox 360™ system and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and ships to retailers in 2009. The game has not yet been rated by the ESRB or PEGI.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

What Should Come in Special Edition Games

Gaming schwag - So you just dropped an extra $10-$20 for the "special" edition of your favorite game and all you have to show for it is a Making Of DVD. What a rip! As publishers continue to squeeze extra clams from gamers pockets, its seems like they give us less of what we really want. Keychains? Demo's of other games? A free month of Xbox Live? Get real. Sure the Master Chief helmet that came with Halo 3 is cool and the GTA IV special edition kit offers some nice goodies, but sweet stuff like this is few and far between. Some gamers are so dedicated to their favorite franchises, publishers could stick a licensed logo on a nude, autographed picture of John Goodman and somebody would buy it. But if we're going to blow some extra money at least give us something good. Here are my recommendations for what should come in special edition games.
T-Shirts - What would say "special" more than a shirt that no one else but special edition buyers can wear? Rockstar embraced this idea but not on a large enough scale. If you pre-ordered GTAIV from their website you got a hilarious Burger Shot shirt. Now that's the kind of special offer gamers can get into. When I was in middle school I owned a MASH videogame (yes MASH, based on the 80's TV show, don't ask). If you earned a certain high score you could send in a picture and get a free MASH t-shirt. When I hit the benchmark, I took a pic of my TV with a polaroid camera, mailed it in and got my shirt in the mail a few weeks later. It was a shit brown, hideous shirt but I thought it was cool. Further proof I've been a gaming geek my whole life, thank you.
Action figures - It makes perfect sense to put an action figure in a special/limited edition package. They're small, cheap to mass produce and gamers love'em. The special edition of Assassin's Creed comes with a small Altair figure, cool. How about a Snake poseable with Metal Gear IV, or an Alyx Vance model with The Orange Box? Meow! Action figures make great desk decorations and conversation starters.
Exclusive downloadable content - This was seen most recently with Rainbow Six Vegas 2 when gamers earned a special downloadable weapon if you had a pre-order for the game at a certain game store, but this should be expanded for special edition buyers. Special weapons, vehicles, outfits, music, gamer pics/themes, and even in-game money could be given away. Imagine playing Burnout Paradise with a special car right off the bat or being able to access new multiplayer maps in Call of Duty 4 without having to pay for it.
Other random crap I'd like to see -Stickers to put on your car or steam trunk (you know, for when you go to Africa and other faraway places like that), plush toys (kids would love these and I personally love the Valve Companion Cube), toy cars (perfect for racing games) and patches would be cool. Patches? Yes patches, like the kind you sew onto a jacket, let me explain. When I was a kid I travelled a ton. My parents bought me a jacket and whenever we went to a different country we'd get a patch from it and sew it on. Other kids would ask me about it all the time and since I moved around a lot, it was a great way to meet people. Would I wear a jacket full of gaming patches as an adult? Mmm, let's see (sitting...think it over...wondering how embarrassed my wife would be walking the dog with me while wearing this jacket...thinking about my friends busting my chops about it), yeah I probably would. Yet more proof of my gaming geekdom.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

GTA IV Cheats

Sick of GTA IV coverage yet? - Yeah, me too. But I couldn't pass up the chance to dish out some cheats and an Achievement guide. I don't like to use cheats myself (not my bag, I don't like risking my progress and getting my saves corrupted) but if that's your thing, check out the list below.
Cell Phone Passwords - At any time during the game, whip out Niko's phone and call these numbers. Cheats will affect missions and achievements.
482-555-0100: Restore health
362-555-0100: Restore armor
486-555-0100: Get a selection of weapons
486-555-0150: Get a different selection of weapons
267-555-0100: Remove wanted level
267-555-0150: Raise wanted level
468-555-0100: Change weather
359-555-0100: Spawn an Annihiliator
938-555-0100: Spawn a Jetmax
625-555-0100: Spawn an NRG-900
625-555-0150: Spawn a Sanchez
227-555-0100: Spawn an FIB Buffalo
227-555-0175: Spawn a Comet
227-555-0147: Spawn a Turismo
227-555-0142: Spawn a Cognoscenti
227-555-0168: Spawn a SuperGT
948-555-0100: Song information
Map Locations - Enter these password into the in game computers (head to any of the hilariously named tw@, their easy to find).
Password -
Effect - Weapon, health, armor, vehicle, pigeon, ramp/stunt, and entertainment locations
Achievement Guide - While I won't touch cheat codes, I have no problem with consulting a guide when I'm stuck. I recommend Gamespy's, its the best I've seen so far.