Monthly Archives: January 2008

Demos A Go-Go

In between rounds of Oasis’s “Wonderwall” in Rock Band, I took the opportunity to download two new demos – “Devil May Cry 4” on the PS3 and “The Club” on 360. Both games are due out in a few weeks; That’s right, the incredibly brief gaming drought is over already. I hope you all finished up Uncharted, Call of Duty 4, Assassin’s Creed, Super Mario Galaxy, Mass Effect and Orange Box in the last few weeks. Oh, you didn’t? Well, too bad.

I’ll talk about “The Club” first, since it doesn’t seem to be getting very much coverage. You might know the developers by their other famous franchise, “Project Gotham Racing“. At first glance, PGR might seem to be just another arcade racer filled with scores of shiny expensive cars. Unlike Ridge Racer or Need For Speed, your objective isn’t just to win races, but to impress everyone by racking up Kudos at the same time. Drifting through corners, 360s and drafting all earn you Kudos points, as does completing sections of the track without hitting anyone. If you can string together these different types of feats with a minimum amount of time passing between each one, you will build up a combo meter which increases your total number of Kudos when the combo finishes. It’s unique enough that PGR’s publisher, Microsoft, owns a patent on the system. Incidentally, this is only one of two patents for a system in a videogame I’m aware of. The other describes the Sanity System for Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem.

“The Club” is like PGR, except instead of controlling a car, you control one of an assortment of 8 mercenaries. And instead of pulling off car tricks, you shoot people.

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R. Kelly Vs. Broken Social Scene

Missy Elliot Vs. Gui Boratto

Hollywood, Do We Need to Have a Talk?

Via the Film Junk blog, here’s the trailer for Tina Fey’s newest comedy, Baby Mama. which she seems to have a starring role in! I’ve watched the 30 Rock Season 1 DVDs so much that it’s really hard for me to watch this without thinking “Liz Lemon wouldn’t do that…”

Anyway, I don’t know… but is Hollywood trying to say something? In the past year, I’ve watched Katharine Heigl and Ellen Page get pregnant in “Knocked Up” and “Juno” respectively. Now it’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. It could just be a case of Hollywood following the latest trends. I hope that’s it, because I really treasure what we have, Hollywood. I just don’t know if we’re ready for kids. I mean, you’ve got this writer’s strike to deal with, and I just bought this kick-ass surfboard and I was going to go to Mexico with my bros JC and Dusty for a couple of months. You know how it is, babe.

You’re just a Tracer

No real time to make a post today, I was working late and then I finished my first inked comic in a really long time, so that took a while.

Instead, here’s the lazy bloggers approach to lack of original content: The embedded Youtube video. This one is Lykke Li‘s first single “Little Bit”


This flash game has a pretty neat trick to it. You are presented with a series of levels, each of which has a variety of objects you can click on it. After a few seconds, your cursor dies and you start the game over again, but this time with the moves you did before playing again in real time. It’s like a co-op game you play by yourself!


Check it out!: Cursor*10

Assassin’s Creed, the Finishing

Assassin’s Creed got did-ed last night at about 2:30 am. Probably the biggest failing of the game is that it presents itself as a game about blending into crowds, evading enemies and stealthily dispatching your targets.

By the end of the game, it turns into a straight-up beat-em-up in the style of Devil May Cry or Heavenly Sword. I mention those games in particular because while the majority of your Assassin’s Creed experience lets you choose to fight or flee, the last few levels remove that choice entirely. Invisible walls start popping up to prevent you from doing anything but fighting through the clumps of 10-15 enemies you’ll have to dispatch. It just doesn’t feel consistent with the rest of Altair’s actions.

I also have to say I was pretty disappointed with the ending. I’m not going to spoil it, but I felt it was an unsatisfying end to the game, especially since I actually enjoyed Desmond’s story more than Altair.

It’ll be interesting to see what Ubisoft does for the sequel. Hopefully they’ll be provided the time needed to make the game this should have been.

This is the worst hamburger I’ve ever had

When I hooked up my camera to download the pictures of the Too Human magazine cover, I discovered a bunch of photos I hadn’t bothered to transfer yet. One of them was this:

BK Bacon Double Homestyle Melt

This is the Burger King Bacon Double Homestyle Melt, probably the most vile hamburger I’ve ever tasted. It was so foul that it made me scour the house for my misplaced camera, so that I could take a picture and one day document this processed package of putrescence.

“Hey, Soapbox Preacher” you’re probably thinking, “how can you go wrong with the Melt? Aren’t you a big fan of bacon double cheeseburgers? I mean, aren’t you a fatty?” First off, shut up. Secondly, how can a melt go wrong? Read on!

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Hey, look what I bought

360 Gamer Too Human Cover (Small)Hey, lookit what I picked up in Chapters today! This isn’t the first cover our game has gotten, but it’s the first one in a while. You should go check it out, there’s a few pictures I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Into the Deep Blue Sea

Talking about the sales figures for Crysis, and thinking about the amount of time and energy that the folks at Crytek put into the game reminded me of a casual game company I read about on Kotaku this morning.

After finishing up work on the Hitman series, a bunch of the developers left IO Interactive and started a new company, The Game Equation, to work on casual games. Much like God of War’s David Jaffe, they decided that spending years of their lives working on one game which may or may not succeed was not for them. So now, a small group of people work on quick, simple games, designed to sell many copies at a low price. I have to say, there is a certain appeal to that. Get the idea polished and done, with minimal risk.

They seem to have two games available right now, both with a demo.

Deep Blue Sea In-game ScreencapDeep Blue Sea will be extremely familiar to anyone who’s played Puzzle Quest or Bejeweled. The goal is to guide your diver to the bottom of the screen by clearing out sets of 3 matching tiles. Every turn you may swap two adjacent tiles, if doing so creates a set of 3 matching tiles in some way. The twist that Deep Blue Sea brings to the genre is that some tiles, when cleared, will provide you with money you can use to buy upgrades to take into the next level. Things like a larger coffer, and special weapons for clearing tiles in rule-bending manners.

Constellations In-game ScreencapConstellations is more interesting to me, as it has a newer gameplay mechanic. You’re dropped in the middle of a multi-coloured starfield, and you have to create links of stars in a specific sequence in order to proceed deeper into the field. The stars you choose can be located anywhere on the screen, but each star you select draws a beam to the previous star, and you cannot choose a star that would link through a previous beam. Fulfilling the requirements for a 3-star chain is easy, but I can imagine how a sequence of 20 stars would prove challenging. A secondary mode has you building chains as quickly as possible in a race to the end of the level.

Back to Work

After a very generous week and a half off work, it’s back to business as usual. The nice thing is that I have a week and a half of podcasts to catch up on while I work. Today I listened to the latest GFW Radio (otherwise known as 97.5 The Brodeo). Of particular interest was the discussion on the extremely poor sales figures for PC titles Crysis (85k) and Unreal Tournament 3 (30k in November). Compare this with approximately 1.5 million copies of Call of Duty 4 sold in the same month for the Xbox 360 alone!

While I’ve only played UT3, the reviews of Crysis indicate that lack of quality is not really the cause of the poor sales of these two titles. I can only assume that the incredibly strong console lineup, combined with the lasting appeal of titles like Team Fortress 2 and World of Warcraft on the PC side of things had a crippling effect on them. There simply wasn’t time or money left in most gamer’s budgets for these two titles. I’m still working through the backlog of games released in November last year, although I did pick up Crysis today as it sounds like there is a lot of really interesting emergent gameplay in it. I have no idea when I’ll get around to playing it, however.