Saturday, July 26, 2008

E3 2008: The Adam Sessler Interview

The Sess takes on E3 - On the last day of E3 I hung out for awhile with my favorite interview subject, G4TV's Adam Sessler. The X-Play co-host was his usual chatty, humorous self. Half of my interview is below, for the rest head over to GamePro Arcade.
TT: How is this year's E3 now that its back at the LACC?
AS: For us the benefits of coming to the convention center were huge. All the games are under one roof, where last year we were presented with huge problems because everyone was in hotels and getting everyone over to our stage (in the Barker Hanger) in a timely manner proved to be an impossibility and we didn’t get anywhere near the amount of demos we wanted to as a result of that. When you consider the traffic in Santa Monica during the summer period, then with E3 going on? This year was just nice. Every game that I would consider to be a major title that was in a playable form, on the whole, came to the stage and we showed it off. I just loved being able to broadcast to viewers a game as its being played. It’s the most effective way to get a sense of how you’ll be playing that game and what you’ll be experiencing in that game.
TT: So no E3 complaints?
AS: One of the things I noticed, in comparison to last year, is that I saw more of my colleagues. My biggest complaint about last year was that because things were so spread out you pretty much saw what was on your beat and didn’t get to see that much more. So getting that kind of overview of the industry as a whole, even if you’re not writing about something, it’s easier to get that big picture. From where I’m sitting, the industry is doing just fine.
But what we don’t have is that kind of fanboy excitement in the background. Even though those fanboys really weren’t supposed to be at those E3’s all those years ago, yes, they were there. Now you’re always getting the press’ take on things, and with all due respect to so many of my colleagues, I think there’s a fair amount of jaundice that’s out there and cynicism about things. The fanboys offered a kind of counterweight with their enthusiasm and there is something of value to see a more general consumer’s reaction to something. They’re the true audience of video games because they don’t make games for the press; they make games for the gamers out there.
TT: Was there anything from the Big 3 press conferences that caught your attention?
AS: Yeah, Nintendo not having anything for their core audience. I know they’re trying to say that Animal Crossing is for their core audience and it’s a great game, don’t get me wrong and I think the games they showed were cool games but they showed a very limited catalog of titles. They had made statements that they were going to show something for the core gamer and that didn’t seem to manifest itself. Animal Crossing was great, when there were other games coming out. When it came out the first time it was the same year as Wind Waker and Sunshine, it can’t stand out on its own in one year as the one core game. I’m just mystified how Nintendo thought that what they were showing was going to go over well with a western audience and they actually seemed to be surprised by the reaction. Afterward there was some degree of scrambling as we heard successive citations by Miyamoto, and from Reggie and from Iwata that the Zelda and the Mario teams are working on something and then there was the admission that they were working on a Pikmin. It’s almost like they were scrambling to remind people. It’s almost like they completely forgot how vocal, and strong, and passionate those core Nintendo people are. If you pull back from the casual gamers, they won’t go screaming from the rooftops that they’re not getting enough of their games.
TT: How about Microsoft?
AS: What really struck me was that they seem to be moving in a direction that might work out better for them. They came in as a hardcore console and now they are branching out. They actually have something of a Trojan horse; they put the console out into the home, primarily maybe for the one gamer in the family. And then there are all these new things coming out for it – with all the success of Xbox LIVE Arcade, with downloadable movies. It suddenly has all these other things that other family members can take advantage of. They seem to moving in a very practice way. A lot of people think they’re just aping what other consoles are doing, but as Morgan Webb likes to say, “Nintendo didn’t invent the avatar.” So on one level it may look like they’re copying but that’s not to say they shouldn’t go in a direction other people have succeeded in. Their trying to branch out and broaden their base, but its funny, when you go online and reach message boards and see that people really seemed irk by casual games and stuff like Rock Band because they feel games have to be this one thing. The thing is these games aren’t making Fallout 3 any less fun, that’s what’s so perplexing to me. Lips is fine for people who like Lips, Fallout 3 is fine for people who like Fallout 3. The two can co-exist very easily.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Want Some Free Gaming Stuff?

...over at GamePro Arcade - Hit this link to enter a contest to win a free download code for the recently released Schizoid on XBLA. Its all part of the E3 coverage I'll be dishing out over at GamePro Arcade. All you have to do to win the Schizoid code is put up a post on what you're most looking forward to seeing/hearing about at E3 2008.
But you can win more free stuff! If you want to win a free 1600 Microsoft Point Card or a free 2000 Wii Point Card, all you have to do is write a comment on any of my E3 posts next week and you'll be entered into a drawing to win either card. Of course the more comments you write, the better your chances are of winning.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Complete E3 2008 Coverage...

...over at - My poor neglected blog won't be getting the love it did last year at E3. Nope, for all the E3 goodness you previously enjoyed, you'll have to go GamePro Arcade.
What should you look forward to? Interviews with Adam Sessler and Geoff Keighley, the latest news on upcoming games, plenty of pics, and best of all, a personal tour of what E3 2008 is really like. Think I'm full of it? Then check out this, this, this, this , this, this, this, this , this and this from last year. You'll get the inside info, guaranteed, or your money back.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Madden 09 Achievements

The Achievements for Madden this year are much different than in years past. For starters there's only 25 when there are typically twice that many. Almost all of the points are for single game accomplishments and some of them are somewhat confusing. Why are they making gamers play as the Jets, Dolphins, Titans and Falcons to earn points? With the league being a-holes about touchdown celebrations, why are we getting points for them? And what the heck is the endzone hotspot? Guess we'll find out next month.
1. 2 TD Kickoff Returns in a game: Return 2 Kickoffs for a TD in a game (non co-op) - 75 points
2. Shut out Rival in a Franchise: Shut out Rival in a Franchise game (non co-op) - 50 points
3. Kick a FG for over 50 yards: Kick a FG for over 50 yards in a Franchise game (non co-op) - 15 points
4. Complete a game without an INT: Complete a game without an interception, 5 min+ quarter length (non co-op) - 30 points
5. 6 Rush TDs with the Dolphins: 6 Rush TDs in a game with the Dolphins (non co-op) - 50 points
6. Catch 10 passes in a game: Catch 10 passes in a game with one receiver (non co-op) - 50 points
7. Complete game without fumbling: Complete a game without fumbling, 5 min+ quarter length (non co-op) - 25 points
8. 2 TD Punt Returns in a game: 2 TD Punt Returns in a game (non co-op) - 65 points
9. Intercept 6 passes in a game: Intercept 6 passes in a game (non co-op) - 50 points
10. Hold a Rival to under 300 yards: Hold a Rival to under 300 yards total offense in a game (non co-op) - 50 points
11. Score 60 points in a Rival game: Score 60 points in a Rival game (non co-op) - 30 points
12. Score 40 points in a Rival game: Score 40 points in a Rival game (non co-op) - 20 points
13. Record 12 sacks in a game: Record 12 sacks in a game (non co-op) - 50 points
14. 6 sacks with 1 player in a game: 6 sacks with 1 player in a game (non co-op) - 50 points
15. 80% completion for a game: 80% pass completion in a Franchise game, 5 min+ quarter length (non co-op) - 50 points
16. 7 Pass TDs with the Falcons: Throw 7 pass TDs in a game with the Falcons (non co-op) - 50 points
17. 550 Pass Yds with the Titans: 550 Pass Yds in a game with the Titans (non co-op) - 50 points
18. 300 Rush Yds with the Jets: 300 Rush Yds in a game with the Jets (non co-op) - 10 points
19. Hold a Rival to under 20 points: Hold a Rival team to under 20 points in a game (non co-op) - 10 points
20. Midway Monster: Create a legendary player from the past. - 50 points
21. Can You Believe These Seats?!: Celebrate a touchdown in a wall hotspot - 30 points
22. Steal Their Thunder: Steal an opposing player's touchdown celebration - 30 points
23. Slam Dunk All-Star: Dunk the ball over the goalpost (or at least attempt to) after a touchdown - 30 points
24. Shine In The Spotlight: Celebrate a touchdown in an endzone hotspot - 30 points
25. Secret Achievement: Secret achievement - 50 points

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Wanna Win A Free XBLA Game?

Sorry, Karate Champ is still not available - I'm looking to give a game away and who better to give it away to than some of my oldest readers. Of course, this requires you to leave this poor neglected blog and head over to Today I posted an up to date version of my "Games You Wish You Could Download" piece here.
If you want to win a free XBLA game, put up a short post on which game you wish you could download. I've recently also put up some interviews with two XBLA game developers and there are a bunch of reviews of downloadable games on all systems. Check it out.