January 2006 Archives

January 1, 2006

N-Gage Review: Splinter Cell Chaos Theory

If there's a system no one thought would see a fully 3-D Splinter Cell title, it's the N-Gage. Chaos Theory is a miraculously accurate translation of the same console title, and the control scheme becomes a highlight. Nothing here except for the graphics and sound has been stripped down. It's a more than admirable port, though the frame rate may be enough to turn off players more accustomed to the steadiness of the home versions.

Continue reading "N-Gage Review: Splinter Cell Chaos Theory" »

DVD Review: A*P*E

Bringing with it a new breed of awfulness, A*P*E is a classic example of a knock-off film. It doesn't seem to know what it wants to be, and since it's so pathetic it should be straight camp. At times, it acknowledges this, and other points, it's all played straight. It doesn't matter how the audience takes it as A*P*E is unquestionably awful and possibly the most grating giant monkey "epic" we'll ever see.

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N-Gage Review: WWE Aftershock

A video game that is beyond unnecessary, WWE Aftershock stands as the only pro wrestling title on the N-Gage. The problem is that the N-Gage didn't have a need for a wrestling game. The plain, dull Aftershock proves why.

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DVD Review: Mighty Peking Man

They've ravaged London. Tokyo is no more. Korea is off the map. New York's landmarks underwent unscheduled demolition. Where's a giant monkey to go anymore? How's Hong Kong sound? That's the new playfield for Mighty Peking Man, a 1977 Kong knock-off and re-released with Quentin Tarantino's stamp of approval from his Rolling Thunder studio.

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Happy New Year!

If you're reading this a few minutes after I posted it, you probably need more of a life than I do. If you're reading it with a hangover, that means you likely didn't spend the first morning of 2006 playing your N-Gage. That's a good thing.

Happy New Year!

N-Gage Review: Colin McRae Rally 2005

Colin McRae Rally 2005 may look dated on the N-Gage hardware, but playing it reveals a rally racing game as deep as anything on the home consoles. This is a meticulously detailed representation of a rough sport, and even without an analog stick, the precise controls necessary are included. Unless you don't enjoy the style of racing, there's no reason for this title not to find a spot in your portable gaming collection.

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Great Deals On Toshiba Notebooks

Tis the season for deals on electronics fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la.

On the 30th I was at Wal*Mart and Jim got a Toshiba M45-S2692 for $996.00. They have the same deal online as well. It is a 15.4" widescreen laptop with 1.73 GHz Intel Centrino processor. What a deal!

Today at Best Buy I found a Toshiba M55-S3293 for $999.99 that has a slightly faster processor, double the RAM but a smaller (not wide) screen as the M45-S2692.

Both have great specs for a $1000 notebook.

Dead or Alive 4 Finally Here

After being delayed 238 times (OK, more like five times) Dead or Alive 4 is finally on store shelves. I found my copy at a Wal*Mart and snagged it before they were all gone. And they were gone in a hurry. It makes you wonder how much better the Xbox 360 launch would have been if DOA4 was there with it.

I have not had much time to play, as I am still home at my grandmother's house. It still looks like DOA with a very familiar shell. The graphics have not really changed since DOA2 on the Dreamcast, and the re-release on the PS2.

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Game Boy Advance Review: Cartoon Network Block Party

Sloppily trying to become a new Mario Party, this Majesco produced mess doesn't do anything for Game Boy Advance owners. The poor kids who are stuck with Cartoon Network Block Party as a gift from an unknowing parent are the ones who suffer. Majesco makes the cash either way, and it's obvious that's the only concern with a title produced like this.

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GMail and Google Maps

Did you know that GMail will map any address using Google Maps? Any address in a GMail email will be listed in the right-hand column ready to be clicked. I don't know when they added this, but like every other new addition to GMail, it rocks.

There is only one problem with this feature: it does not work on the Mac. It is Windows only. I have no idea why. Cool feature though.

January 2, 2006

N-Gage Review: Worms World Party

Team 17's Worms series is one of the best in the history of the industry. In the realm of easy to pick up turn-based strategy titles, there is no comparison. It's brilliant by game design standards, and on the N-Gage, none of that changes.

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N-Gage Review: Pathway to Glory

If the N-Gage wasn't created fast-paced action titles in mind, that's not a problem since there are games like Pathway to Glory. While the last thing gamer's need is another World War II title, Glory earns the right to co-exist in a crowded market with unique turn based gameplay. It's not intricately detailed, but accessible and easy to understand quickly.

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iPod shuffle Repair and Accessory Replacement

I recently wrote about my iPod shuffle falling apart. I called Apple Tech today and they sent me to this page. Just like with their PowerBook repair boxes I have so many times used, Apple will send you a box for your shuffle. Mine is broke so it will be replaced. But it will only take a couple days.

How nice. I should have called sooner.

Of course the flippin' site will not recognize my serial number (in Safari or Firefox) that I am grabbing out of System Profiler. Grr. Skip that one, it wants a different Serial Number! It wants the other one, duh!

The Grinch factor

THE WHOS down in Who-ville

Were a tolerant lot:

Who Christians, Who Muslims — a Who melting pot.

Who Hindus! Who atheists! Who Buddhists, Who Jews!

Who Confucians, Who pagans,

And even Who Druze! The Who 1st Amendment's Establishment Clause

Said, "No creches in courts," and the Whos loved their laws.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

This should have been posted before Christmas this year, but it is still as relevant now - and as funny. The entire column is written like a Dr. Seuss book.

Xbox Live Marketplace New Content RSS Feed

This needs to be built into the Xbox 360 Dashboard somewhere. Sometimes navigating the Marketplace I just feel like screaming. Oh well, we can all just check out this RSS feed via FeedBurner.com to see all the latest goodies.

Xbox 360 Achievements.com

The site boast to be the "one stop shop" for all of XBox 360's gaming achievements. Sounds nice. But the site is not much right now. So far it just lists the achievements and the associated Gamerscore, plus it has the achievement icons for your viewing pleasure. The site forums seem more useful then the site itself at this point, but I would keep a watch nonetheless.

Whoever decided to add Achievements to Xbox 360 games is a genius. They add even more replay value. It was just a matter of time before a site like this popped up. Although I am sure GameFAQs will have Achievement FAQs up shortly, unless they already do.

Mortal Kombat vs. Street Fighter 2

This is some impressive Flash work. You get to see Ryu vs. Scorpion battle to the death. Great fun. There is also an interview with the guy who painstakingly animated all this stuff.

January 3, 2006

Proximus Cycling Commercial

Dad sent me this, a funny Flash video of a commercial used to promote watching the Pro Tour on your cell phone.

Friend Sells PowerBook G4 for $180

A friend of mine, who will remain anonymous, just sold her PowerBook G4 (circa January 2001) for $180. For only $180? Lets back up a few years.

We both bought our PowerBooks at the same time. I remember recommending the spec for her 400 Mhz PowerBook while I got the 500 Mhz model. It wasn't long after she got the PowerBook that someone decided to (accidently) put there elbow or arm down on top of the closed PowerBook breaking the LCD screen.

It is amazing how much Apple charges to fix the screen, even if you spend the money on AppleCare. Long story short: she never fixed the screen and hooked the PowerBook up to a VGA monitor for its entire life.

I am quite impressed that her 'Book is still working. Mine didn't last near as long.

But $180? That is just too funny... for me. That is one heck of an expensive keyboard you just sold.

PS2 Review: Metal Slug 4/5

Guns. Grenades. Armored vehicles. You. And enemies. Lots of enemies. Sounds fun if you're the sort that enjoys blowing crap up. In fact, you would think that any old-school Contra fan would be in guns-blazing bliss. Unfortunately, Metal Slug 4/5 does not live up to its promise.

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The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny

This goes in the Funny category only because there is no Crazy-bitch-funny-as-hell slot. The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny is like every action movie and TV show and comic character ever, from Godzilla to the Blue Meanie, duking it out in one righteous slugfest with an insanely catchy theme song. Bonus points if you can name every character in it.

January 4, 2006

Cross System Comparison/Review: Peter Jackson's King Kong

Rather oddly, the video game version of Peter Jackson’s $200 million dollar remake of King Kong is barely anything like the movie. The only thing it has in common is a giant ape that ends up in New York and climbs a building. Everything in each major hardware change is played out different, and depending on what system you’re playing it on, even the games themselves vary greatly.

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GameCube Review: F-Zero GX

Thirty hovercars? Check. Armor? Check. Boosts? Check. Insane loopy levels that whip by with enough speed to shoot up an NFL team? Check.

Sounds like an F-Zero game. Must be. Welcome to F-Zero GX.

Continue reading "GameCube Review: F-Zero GX" »

January 5, 2006

N-Gage Review: X-Men Legends

Taking the gameplay from the home versions, X-Men Legends becomes a solid conversion for the N-Gage. With the great interface, it has the makings of a superb title. Sadly, combat is dull, aggravating, and not particularly fun. It's the only thing holding back this semi-RPG/semi-action title.

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Fight Night Round 3 Demo On XBL Marketplace

The Fight Night Round 3 demo can be summed up in one word: amazing. Well two, if you put the F word in there. This demo is truly stunning. I have not had this much fun in a boxing game since the NES's Punch Out.

Paprocki tells me it corrupts Xbox user profiles though, and that does not sound good. Though I see no such report other then one on DP.

I am totally floored that something this good looking and refined is coming from EA. Especially seeing how their other 360 sports "ports" came together for the 360 launch.

Developed by EA Chicago, (Def Jam series) Fight Night Round 3 looks to be a win for next-gen graphics. Not only that, but the controls feel great and the commentary is very good.

Not to sound like a PR guy, but go download the demo and try it out!

January 6, 2006

SA Game and Movie Hybrids 2

Something Awful is running another Photoshop-fest, this time spoofing games and movies. Jordan found this but was too lazy to post it. Credit goes to him though. My favorites?

Final Fight, staring Guy and Cody (Fight Club)
Katamari Damacry: Roll Up The Machines (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines)
Requiem For A Dreamcast (Requiem For A Dream)
Full Metal Gear Solid (Full Metal Jacket)

N-Gage Review: King of Fighters Extreme

Directly porting the Game Boy Advance title King of Fighters EX 2: Howling Blood, Hudson has taken a great game and nearly ruined it on the N-Gage. The benefits over Nintendo's handheld are wonderful, including wireless multi-player and plenty of buttons. Sadly, it runs at barely half the speed, and for veterans of this series (anyone who would even give this a second look), that's unacceptable.

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N-Gage Review: Tiger Woods 2004

Even if it's missing features, has a terrible frame rate, and doesn't end up online, the basic golf mechanics of EA's golf franchise always make an enjoyable outing. The single N-Gage Tiger Woods entry (and only golf game for that matter) is a success. It has trouble in the area of features, and that because this is a port of a Game Boy Advance title from the same year.

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January 7, 2006

N-Gage Review: SSX Out of Bounds

It's easy to make the argument that graphics do not make a game great. However, it's games like SSX Out of Bounds that show how they can make a game terrible. The technical limitations destroy every ounce of Out of Bound's playability, and everything else shoved onto the tiny game card is for naught.

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Dead or Alive Teaser Trailer

Wow this looks like a winner. If you think you recognize Kasumi it's because you do, she is Devon Aoki (Sin City). The movie doesn't really have anyone else famous in it. But then who wants to be in a movie about a video game notorious for its bouncing boobies.

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GameCube Review: Chaos Field

Blast ‘em! Use Swords! Avoid Fire! Power Up!

So says the back cover of the latest shooter on the Gamecube, Chaos Field. Appropriately enough, those four imperatives seem to sum up the game quite well. Except for the power up part as there are no power ups in the game…

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Punch Out In Real Life

Though it's not quite Broadway, the below reenactment of the NES and arcade classic, Punch Out, is pretty darn good. The music is especially catchy, and the moves are disturbingly accurate. You know you're a gamer when all of this makes sense.
Source: Joystiq

Very well done. Check it out.

N-Gage Review: Sonic N

Another port from a Game Boy Advance game, N-Gage players will find Sonic N familiar. It's a direct translation of Sonic Advance, a fantastic 2-D title in the series. Any flaws here are due to the hardware, and in this case, it's nearly enough to ruin the playability.

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Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Caved In - Prehistoric Terror

If Caved In is any indication of the garbage Sci-Fi Channel will be pushing onto its fans this year, it's going to be a long one. Copying last years disaster Centipede, Caved In gives the world another meaningless giant insect flick, with zero redeeming value. If you're looking for entertainment, you're watching the wrong network on Saturday night.

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My New iPod shuffle

Five days ago I filled out a form for a replacement iPod shuffle. Three days ago I received my new iPod shuffle, free of charge. Although I must say I am glad I was home when it was delivered.

It arrived via DHL, who are really fast, but they never nock. It had rained and the cement step outside my apartment was still wet. Though my iPod was sitting in a very not-waterproof envelope damp when I got it. You see I had to check the DHL web page to see that my package was even delivered.

It is a very good thing it didn't rain that day, as we have been getting a lot of rain lately. Which incidentally in Ohio means we will have winter until June or July.

Lets just hope that this one does not fall apart on me. I will be more careful this time. I will not *gasp* carry it around in my pocket every day.

Writers.com Resources, Tips & Features

While defending my position on the capitalization of words such as Internet, Web, and Net, I found this great resource. The site has some great info on it, and most is found on this page - such as their Cyberwords Style page.

Everything You Need To Know About HDTV

Everything according to C|Net that is. It has a lot of great information. This was written a few years ago but is mostly relevant. The TV aspect-ratio converter is a great tool. This lets you see how big a 4:3 picture would look on a 16:9 display, and vice versa.

January 8, 2006

Rob Hates Opening New DVDs

He really does. So much so he had to put together a rather detailed eight point rant about it. And I would have to agree with everything he said, including commenter #1. My biggest peeve is the fact that there has to be a long animation before the DVD menu shows up, with no way to skip it.

Optimus Keyboard Set For February Release?

Back in July 2005 I wrote about wanting the Optimus Keyboard. By the looks of things, it will be coming February 1, 2006. I can't wait.

This one is on my Birthday Wish List, hint, hint.

UMD Review: Made

Written, directed, and starring Jon Favreau, Made is a subtly funny mob movie. While Favreau may have taken the workload, it's Vince Vaughn that steals this one. Another actor couldn't have handled his energetic, relentless, and even sometimes annoying chatter better if they tried.

Continue reading "UMD Review: Made" »

GBA Review: Donkey Kong Country 3

Looking down the limp lineup of Game Boy Advance games for this year, it seems hard-pressed the system will last yet another year - at best Nintendo will be able to squeeze one more GBA holiday shopping season into the mix. Since 2001 Nintendo has shoveled over countless Super Nintendo ports to the system and now almost five years later it seems the company is scratching at the bottom of the well.

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One of the many changes that has taken place in the telephone industry in the last few decades is that while phone companies once generally provided their local customers with free directory assistance (via the 411 phone number), in most cases telephone customers are now charged a fee (typically $1.00 or more) for each directory assistance call. Despite the charges, U.S. consumers continue to avail themselves of the 411 directory assistance service, placing about 6 billion such calls per year.

Now, however, an outfit called Jingle Networks is providing an alternative directory assistance service — and it's free. Users who call the toll-free number 1-800-FREE411 (or 1-800-373-3411) can navigate a nifty automated voice recognition system that asks for a location (city and state), type of listing (business, government, or residential), and name.

Source: Snoops

Thanks to Jake for this great tip. I know for a fact that Verizon Wireless charges and arm and a leg for calling 411. I cringe every time I need to use it, but not any more! This number is now permanently in my cell phone.

The voice recognition system was superb in my testing. I did not hear an advertisement (how Free 411 is paid for) on every single call. I am very impressed.

January 9, 2006

UMD Review: Godsend

The effective set up of Godsend is welcome. There are a few different directions it could go, and sadly, the one it takes is not the correct one. When the ending finally hits, you’re left wondering why you even bothered.

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The Pointlessness of Current Videogame Journalism

I hate the videogame press. There, I've said it - after you don't know how many false starts trying to weave that statement into a cleverly constructed sentence, I've just said it outright - I hate (...the majority of...) the videogame press.
Source: TG Daily

He has some valid points. A good read.

Top 10 WTF Moments of 2005 from 1UP.com

#1: 'Tard Pack - $299.99 for an Xbox 360 with no wireless controllers, no hard drive, no backwards compatability, and naturally, no downloadable content. So you save a hundred bucks. Except you'll need to spend forty of that on a memory unit, anyway. But hey, you can still afford one more 360 game. The only announcement more WTF worthy will be if someone knowingly buys it.
Source: 1UP

Yes even Jack Thompson made the list, and the #2 reason about Shadow the Hedgehog is priceless. But the "'Tard Pack" does take the cake.

All the World's A Podcast

Every year, the New Oxford American Dictionary people hand out an award for "Word of the Year." It's usually given to the word that has the most amount of hype attached to it, but it's a rite of great distinction for the word. This past year's Word of the Year is podcast. That's a given, right? "Sudoku," "bird flu" and "reggaeton" didn't stand a chance.
Source: Webmonkey

Yea, that is an odd opening to a technical article on creating your own podcast, but it is what it is.

A Million Little Lies: James Fray

"Book Club" author's best-selling nonfiction memoir filled with fabrications, falsehoods, other fakery, TSG probe finds

Oprah Winfrey's been had.

Three months ago, in what the talk show host termed a "radical departure," Winfrey announced that "A Million Little Pieces," author James Frey's nonfiction memoir of his vomit-caked years as an alcoholic, drug addict, and criminal, was her latest selection for the world's most powerful book club.

Source: The Smoking Gun

I am posting this for my Step Mom Melodye. She watches Oprah and I am sure she has read this book by now. It is still #1 on Amazon.com as it is. And this news will sell even more copies! Oddly enough, he was first shopping it around as fiction - though no one would publish that.

Blogcritics also has an opinion piece on the mess.

Nipplegate II: WWE Style

Vince McMahon's WWE Raw has pulled some classic stunts over the twelve years I've religiously watched it, but tonight, well, this one is probably going to end up everywhere.

During a hilarious and stupid "live sex" act, WWE Diva Lita's breast made it on screen for a whopping split-second fully exposed. They immediately cut to a blank screen and used the classic "It's live TV" excuse. Surely one of the "parent groups" will be all over this explaining how it's destroyed our country and the children are traumatized. They'll also tell you how offended you were even if you didn't watch it. Don't call me psychic, I just know those groups are beyond stupid. So, we'll get it out of the way now:

IT'S A NIPPLE PEOPLE. Grow the hell up. Thank you.

Read Matt's full article over at Blogcritics.

I'll also add that this made it to Fark, and as I make this edit, it's broke the 60,000 hits barrier.

January 10, 2006

DOA 4 Features Game Clearing Glitch

Someone on Digital Press reported they had the same problem about a week ago, but we all thought it had something to do with the Fight Night demo. Not so as Gamespot is reporting.

New Hootie Single: January 30th

From their site:

While the first single, ONE LOVE from the band's album LOOKING FOR LUCKY, remains in the Top 10 at Mainstream AC, GET OUT OF MY MIND, will ship this week and will go for adds at HOT AC January 30th, 2006.

If you want a peak of my fave from the new album, Yahoo's annoying site has the video, which was recorded LIVE. I had to use Netscape of all things to view it, but it was worth it.

January 11, 2006

Macword San Francisco '06 Keynote Recap

The Macworld Keynote every year is like an extra holiday to Mac fans. Others just don't seem to understand. Steve Jobs stands in front of us, in his mock turtleneck and jeans, and preaches about the current and future Mac plans. This is an event that even the naysayers pay attention to.

The biggest news of the day was the new PowerBook, now known as the MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro features include a built-in iSight camera, IR Sensor, Apple Remote, ATI Radeon x1600 video processor, and a new, innovative magnetic power plug. All the normal I/O ports are included, with the exception of Firewire 800. I am not exactly sure why it was omitted.

Continue reading "Macword San Francisco '06 Keynote Recap" »

December 2005 Site Stats

Wow. I was just looking through the December 2005 site statistics. There is a lot that will not be said in this post, because I do not need this post turning up as #1 for bandwidth on said subjects. What I will say, and gets a wow times five, is the #1 day for traffic in December. Take a guess. Breaking Windows hovers around 2000 unique visits a day. I am very happy with that, as my pocketbook is also very happy with that. December 25th saw 3,402 unique eye balls, 9,827 pages, 24,278 hits and used up 312.91 MB of bandwidth - all on Christmas! Hello? That gets a WTF award for sure.

Is that a social commentary on America? I think it is.

What the hell are all you people doing at my blog on Christmas day? Even I, one of the most connected-via-T1-to-Internet people I know was not on the computer on Christmas for more then 10 minutes, and I was not even reading blogs - I was deleting SPAM!

In other news: Top 5 keywords searched -- "PSP," "iPod," "Windows," with "WEP," "error," and "Mac" rounding out the list. Nevermind this is a decidedly Mac-friendly, dare I say evangelistic, site. But I understand, I do not have as much time to write about the Mac as I would like.

But that many unique visits on Christmas Day?

*shakes head*

Let Them Sign It For You

Now here is a piece of Flash that is useful. It is actually very cool, falling under the "Interactive Art" moniker if it were at, say, SIGGRAPH. You type in some song lyrics and it spits them out, word by word, using famous singers voices. It is all very cool until you get "I" in there a few times. It appears that the algorithm does not have multiple instances of the same word - a major bummer. Words not in the database are also a show stopper. But you can submit songs that have those show-stopping words in them.

What a great project! The artist is Erik Bünger.

From the site:

Write your own lyrics and let some of the world's greatest stars give voice to it.
The really sad thing is how many of those songs I can name from hearing just one word.

Disable iTunes 6.0.2's MiniStore

...What it also offered, but didn't bother to disclose, was the addition of a bit of spyware to the iTunes interface. As reported on boingboing and other sites, the new iTunes mini store, which appears directly below the song list area in the main iTunes window, spies on your listening habits.
Source: Mac OS X Hints

You will also notice on Hints that Rob has been told that Apple (by Apple) is not mining any data from you. Which is good. But thanks Apple for putting that "feature" in the update note!

You disable the mini store by just collapsing it. But I find it a cool feature. Even if it has Big Brother written all over it.

Build Your Own Firefox Search Engine

Firefox's built-in search box lets you search Google from wherever you are. You don't have to settle for that built-in searching, though, because you can build your own Firefox search engine plug-in to search through any site from the Google search box.
Source: O'Reilly Hacks

Not that this really belongs in a Windows XP Hacks book (great book, by the way) but it is in there nonetheless. Making your own search engine plug-in isn't hard at all. I am working on one for bgnews.com.

January 12, 2006

DVD Review: Deep Impact

In 1997, two movie studios went head to head in the "volcano disaster" genre. Universal gave us Dante's Peak, and Fox delivered the appropriately titled Volcano. A year later, it happened again, this time with the "giant space rock" scenario: Touchstone came in with the brain-dead Armageddon and Paramount countered with Deep Impact. It's brilliant when compared to Armageddon, but on its own, it's still not particularly special.

Continue reading "DVD Review: Deep Impact" »

Xbox 360: Real Life vs. Graphics 2

While it is rather obvious which is which, it is still very impressive. Someone on vacation took shots of Tokyo and then found that spot in Project Gothem Racing 3. From the looks of it these are from a HDTV, because the game sucks in SD.

Tetris For PSP Firmware 2.60

Here is a step in the right direction for the homebew crowd: Tetris running on firmware 2.6. And yes, it does work. All you need is GTA: LCS as it takes advantage of that game's loading feature.

No XP On Intel Macs, But Vista Is Good To Go

If you've been counting on being able to run Windows on those new Intel-based Macs, Apple's not about to make it easy for you -- at least not if you're attached to Windows XP. According to Apple SVP Phil Schiller, the new Macs announced yesterday (those being the Intel iMac and MacBook Pro) may not be able to run current versions of Windows due to the fact that the computers will boot using the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), rather than a traditional BIOS (current Power PC Macs use Open Firmware).
Source: Engadget

Well isn't that a kick in the pants. Best get out those Vista beta discs then. No worries for me however. By the time I buy an Intel Mac, Vista will be out.

N-Gage Review: Pandemonium!

It's hard to sell a new system when its launch titles are ports of seven-year-old games, and not even complete ones at that. Much like Tomb Raider, Pandemonium! hasn't aged well, and even if there are die-hard fans still lingering, even they should be able to admit it's uneventful now. This is a dull 16-bit platformer mixed in with some nicely rendered 3-D landscapes. To call it anything else would be cheating yourself.

Continue reading "N-Gage Review: Pandemonium!" »

Sun And Apple Almost Merged Three Times

Sun Microsystems tried to acquire Apple once and then almost merged with Apple on two other occasions, according to Sun co-founder Bill Joy. Beyond these deals, the two companies almost teamed on three other projects including sharing a user interface and the SPARC architecture. The moves were cheered by Apple fan Joy, while Sun's CEO Scott McNealy appeared less impressed with some of the proposals.
Source: The Register

Could you imagine an Apple interface on SPARC?

MacBook Pro Comparison Charts

MacBook Pro v. PowerBook G4 v. Acer Travelmate 8200... FIGHT!

If you ask me, I think the Acer won. This highlights a couple problems I have with the MacBook Pro: Why the heck won't Apple put more then two USB ports on their portable, and what kind of battery life can we expect from the new MacBook Pro (a statistic that Apple usually plays to the hilt, and has been very quiet about so far).

January 13, 2006

Burger King Hires Robber

Let's run down this illogical series of events that prove humanity is spiraling downward into an apocalypse because of their own stupidity:

1. Someone is dumb enough to rob a fast food joint.

2. That same someone is dumb enough to return to said fast food joint.

3. That same return visit, idiot criminal is dumb enough to fill out an application at the fast food joint.

4. Manager of fast food joint is dumb enough to hire the guy who robbed his store.

5. Robber was stupid enough to make himself identifiable to the restraurant clerks who he then scares sh*tless on his first day.

Gamecube Review: Mario Party 7

For its family friendly exterior, Mario Party 7 deals with some complex issues. In this entry to the far-too long running series, Mario and crew take a vacation on a cruise ship. Along with him are archenemies Wario and Waluigi, yet Mario gives Bowser the cold shoulder. There are some deep problems here, including racism (bad Italian stereotypes make it while the dragon is rejected based on the color of his shell), friendship (Bowser and Mario have had their moments), forgetfulness (whatever happened to Wart?) and sharing (after six versions, why is Mario being greedy this time out?).

Continue reading "Gamecube Review: Mario Party 7" »

January 14, 2006

First Look: iWork '06

Rob Griffiths has an iWork '06 first look piece online. It looks like the new bullet feature alone is worth the cost. It has a lot of other nice new features of course.

DVD Review: The Monster that Challenged the World

With the 50's monster cycle almost over, The Monster that Challenged the World is one of the "lost" entries of the era. While it does fall victim to typical and expected clichés, it also builds some strong character, a rarity for not just the time or the era, but the genre too. It's the best thing going for this low budget piece of filmmaking.

Continue reading "DVD Review: The Monster that Challenged the World" »

Feltris Blocks

Viva la spatial-reasoning puzzle! These blocks are squishily made of simple felt and stuffing. Teach yourself to be better at Tetris. Teach your children to be hopeless geeks before they can even speak! Includes one of every common Tetris block.

They cost $30, with $3 shipping, and you can even PayPal your order. They are made by a student at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. I have no idea what the dimensions are though. I emailed and asked, however.

From seller theconnor:

Each 'pixel' square was designed to be about 1 1/8". The longest block is about five inches. Gives you some idea of the relative size. And thanks!
I have asked a few more questions. Hopefully I will get enough information to write an article for Blogcritics.org on these things - because they are so cool!

MacBook Pro: What You Need To Know

From the outside, Apple’s new MacBook Pro looks suspiciously like a 15-inch aluminum PowerBook G4. Yes, the ports are slightly different, and it’s slightly wider and thinner. But inside, it’s a completely different machine.
Source: Macworld

Some great info here, including this tidbit:

Apple has redesigned the way the power charger connects to the laptop. (Yes, laptop users who have collected a zillion power adapters, this means you’ll have to invest in all-new adapters.) The MagSafe Connector uses magnets in the cable and the computer to secure the connection.
Thanks Apple. I have three such power bricks for my PowerBook. Thanks a lot.

Microsoft Axes Windows Media Player For Mac, Provides Alternative

Citing "business priorities," Microsoft will no longer develop Windows Media Player (WMP) for the Mac. This comes days after Microsoft announced continued Mac support for Office at the Macworld Keynote. That agreement only dealt with Office, giving them free reign to axe anything else. Microsoft already dropped Internet Explorer for Mac.

Continue reading "Microsoft Axes Windows Media Player For Mac, Provides Alternative" »

Sci-Fi Channel Premiere Review: H.G. Wells War of the Worlds

It's not a new concept to rip-off the latest Hollywood blockbuster with a direct-to-video movie of a similar name. Released alongside 2005's theatrical summer hit War of the Worlds, distributor Asylum's video release H.G. Wells War of the Worlds fails to offer any of the gripping action of Spielberg's epic. With a meager $1 million to work with, creating a special effects masterpiece is not a feasible expectation for director David Michael Latte. However, there's still the expectation of being entertained, and that's what's missing.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Premiere Review: H.G. Wells War of the Worlds" »

January 15, 2006

UMD Review: The Doors

Oliver Stone was perfect for The Doors. His directing style compliments the darker side of Jim Morrison's short life flawlessly, and creates an absorbing film biography. Val Kilmer's dead-on performance only helps matters.

Continue reading "UMD Review: The Doors" »

N-Gage Review: Ashen

Set up more for simple pick-up-and-play titles, the N-Gage was never meant to play games beyond its capabilities. Still, give a developer the tools, and they'll make some small miracles happen. On par with any standard first-person shooter on the PS One, Ashen is a technological marvel in the graphics department, though they drag this one down in heavily detailed areas.

Continue reading "N-Gage Review: Ashen" »

January 16, 2006

N-Gage Review: Splinter Cell - Team Stealth Action

Ditching much of the complexity and trickery of the home version, Splinter Cell on the N-Gage is a translation of a Game Boy Advance game (like far too many N-Gage titles are). This 2-D side scroller has a lot of the charms of a 16-bit title, including extensive platform jumping. It's not Sam Fisher as we have grown to know him, but a small, interesting diversion marred by its controls.

Continue reading "N-Gage Review: Splinter Cell - Team Stealth Action" »

N-Gage Review: Spider-Man 2

Offering little in the way of originality, Spider-Man 2 doesn't make its appearance on the N-Gage meaningful. This standard, flawed, and sometimes even boring romp is a typical action/adventure title slapped together to take advantage of the film it's based on. As a small consolation, at least it's better than the Nintendo DS version.

Continue reading "N-Gage Review: Spider-Man 2" »

N-Gage Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

Activision's over used skateboarding series did everything to make the extreme genre, well, a genre. It was the controls, the real athletes, and the multi-player that made it such a joy. That was six years ago, and since, the Tony Hawk franchise has seen a whopping 35 different incarnations across the many platforms it's landed on. The N-Gage was the first fully 3-D version on a handheld, and that's the only thing it can be remembered for.

Continue reading "N-Gage Review: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" »

January 18, 2006

Xbox 360 Accessory Review: Mad Catz Game Pad Pro

Third party companies are going to have a problem on the Xbox 360. Microsoft's controller is brilliant, perfectly formed and designed. It's also wireless. Mad Catz produced Game Pad Pro fails to be an adequate replacement, and given the price, you'd be better off spending the extra cash for an official pad.

Continue reading "Xbox 360 Accessory Review: Mad Catz Game Pad Pro" »

Gamecube Review: Mega Man X Collection

In the summer of 2004, CAPCOM’s Mega Man Anniversary Collection (MMAC) brought a tear to the eyes of many a gamer who reveled in the innovation and tight game play the Blue Bomber has brought to us since the earlier days of the NES. Not only did the compilation give us all eight games in the original series, but it added a bunch of extras such as segments of the animated series, extra artwork and bonus games. Now after much delay and speculation, the futuristic Mega Man X finds itself thrown into the collection treatment and the result is mediocre at best.

Continue reading "Gamecube Review: Mega Man X Collection" »

Flaming Lips and Chilli Fingers

Couple odd bits of news I just heard about on the radio; I thought they were worth posting because I couldn't decide how to react, whether I should laugh or cringe or what.

Isabella, the 38 year-old French woman who received a lip and nose transplant in November, is taking up smoking again to the consternation of her doctors. And the couple who sued Columbus-based Wendy's restaurants over a severed finger in their chilli, but who it was later revealed had planted the pointer, have received a combined 21 years in prison for the stunt.

Continue reading "Flaming Lips and Chilli Fingers" »

January 19, 2006

Xbox Review: Stubbs the Zombie

The first game to use the Halo engine (outside of the Halo series itself of course), Stubbs the Zombie is what happens when a group of game designers spend far too many late nights discussing ideas. It has the sickest, most twisted, and utterly absurd sense of humor you'll find a video game this year, but sadly not the gameplay to back it up. Controlling a zombie, whether he's a chain smoker or not, isn't fun.

Continue reading "Xbox Review: Stubbs the Zombie" »

Insane Ikaruga Video

He's playing multi-player by himself... and never gets hit.

Alpha 152 Strategy

If you have been playing Dead or Alive 4 than you have come up against Alpha 152. She is the final boss for many of the characters. I found this strategy somewhat helpful. Your milage may very.

Free MacUpdate Paid Membership For 2006

This promotion is only good for January. You do not get ALL of the features of a paid account, but you do get most. I personally like VersionTracker but free is free.

MacUpdate, for those who do not know, "watches the latest Macintosh software updates every day, all day long, so you can keep your software up-to-date with the most current bug fixes and features." MacUpdate keeps track of Mac OS 9 and OS X software. In contrast, VersionTracker keeps track of Mac OS 9, OS X, Windows, and Palm software.

Both charge too much if you ask me.

January 20, 2006

Pimp My Safari

Safari has its own extendibility - although it may not have the developer community behind it like Firefox has. Pimp My Safari lists all the latest Safari plugins. As the homepage suggests: Saft, PithHelmet, and SafariStand are the best plugins to get.

Foxmarks for Firefox

Foxmarks is an extension for Firefox that synchronizes bookmarks across multiple machines. It uses a system similar to how .Mac and Safari work - only without that $99 a year charge. Using the Foxmarks server is free, and syncing is easy.

Considering I now dominantly use Firefox, this is one of the greatest extensions I have found for Firefox.

Xbox 360 Review: Call of Duty 2

Even if the genre is overcrowded, the mesmerizing, addictive, and brutal Call of Duty 2 shows why we needed another World War II title. This unrelenting and harsh video game uses the Xbox 360 not just for its graphical capabilities, but for intensity not possible on a different console. With battles like this, it's hard to believe anyone made it out of the war alive.

Continue reading "Xbox 360 Review: Call of Duty 2" »

SafariTest Mac Browser Compatibility Tester

How does your website look on Apple Safari? SafariTest will return a screenshot of your page as viewed with Safari.

Some notes: frames and Flash movies are not perfectly supported; f your page uses client-side redirection you must enter the final address; to view password protected pages use this syntax: http://[username]:[password]@[URL].

This is a great service for those Windows web based developers who care what their Web sites look like in Safari. It also uses PNG so the screen shots look very nice.

This is also something to bookmark if you want to get a full screen shot of a web site. Meaning from the top to the bottom of the page.

Top Sellers On Xbox Live Arcade

IGN has obtained an official Top 10 List of Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) games. Here it goes:

1. Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved
2. Gauntlet
3. Smash TV
4. Bejeweled II
5. Zuma
6. Bankshot Billiards
7. Outpost Kaloki
8. Mutant Storm Reloaded
9. Joust
10. Wik: Fable of Souls

Of those, I own Geometry Wars, Smash TV, Bejeweled II, Zuma, Bankshot Billiards and Mutant Storm Reloaded. Odd that Bankshot Billiards is sitting so high at #6 as this is a $15 title. All other XBLA games, so far, have been of the $5 variety.

I can tell you why Bankshot Billiards is so high on this list: it is a great game.

This proves a point that people are willing to pay $15 for a XBLA game too. I expect Street Fighter II Hyer Fighting to be $15 too. I hope I am wrong, because $5 is a great price point for the XBLA.

In short, I play XBLA games as much as I play the $60 Xbox 360 games. But are they worth $15? Maybe. I think they are a great deal at $5 and hope they stay at that price point.

Engadget Bill Gates Interview

This interview is from this year's CES. I am just now getting through a backlog of links to post ;)

Lots of things covered here, including Xbox 360 and HD-DVD.

The Prejudice Map According to Google

I am not sure I would have called it "The Prejudice Map" but it is a neat experiment.

Sex.com Sold To Escom LLC For $14M

SAN FRANCISCO – The infamous and controversial domain Sex.com has officially been sold to Boston-based Escom LLC for a reported $14 million, XBiz has learned.
Source: XBiz

(Yes, this Web page is safe for work.)

Well I am glad that law suit has been settled. I can now sleep easier at night. $14M though! Wow. I need to sell spoiledlittlebitch.com. Hell, I would take only $1M.

TES IV: Oblivion Technical Interviews

I found two great interviews (here and here) that go into the more technical aspects of the game. So if you don't know what shader maps, HDR, or Havok is, just look at the pretty pictures.

This game cannot come out soon enough! The waiting is killing me. Oblivion is the #1 reason I bought the 360.

"Fever pitch" is hardly the word to describe the anticipation of this 360 and PC title. Imagine if this game hit at the launch of the 360 as originally advertised. I can guarantee two things: demand for the 360 would be even higher, and I would have very few 360 games at this point.

Gamecube Review: Donkey Konga 3 (JP)

The hit parade keeps on rollin' for Nintendo's mascot gorilla, with the Gamecube's second bongo-slamming iteration hitting the shelves in the U.S. last year. But the schedule is a little more high-paced in the Japanese market with the country already having three editions of the game in tow. I was able to secure a copy of the import instrumental and have logged several hours into the game and am quite interested in the cultural differences seen between the two versions.

Continue reading "Gamecube Review: Donkey Konga 3 (JP)" »

Bring Back the Real Hardcore Gamers

There's something funny about the "hardcore" gaming crowd. It's tough to pinpoint what that is unless you've been around message boards or hang out with a group of them. The specific sector of gamers being discussed here are the ones screaming for originality in an industry that supposedly lost its way. At least, that's what many of them will tell you. That's where the problem lies:

They're horribly, blatantly, and impossibly hypocritical.

Continue reading "Bring Back the Real Hardcore Gamers" »

January 21, 2006

Mad Catz Talks Revolution!

IGN has an interview with Mad Catz Senior Product Manager, Kern Corrigan. Lots of good info from the third-party accessory maker.

January 22, 2006

PS2 Review: Gauntlet - Seven Sorrows

Going into any game titled Gauntlet, you should know what to expect. Assuming you've played any of the five entries prior to Seven Shadows, you'll be ready for a repetitive hack n' slash created solely for its multi-player aspects. Unsurprisingly, that's exactly what this update provides.

Continue reading "PS2 Review: Gauntlet - Seven Sorrows" »

One Out of Two Ain't Bad

Note: Blogcritics and Breaking Windows writer Tim Weaver assisted with this story.

While the video gamers’ football season never officially comes to a close, we are amidst the final few breaths of the 2005-06 NFL season. With the field narrowed down to four teams, Jan. 22 will be the day that pushes two teams to Super Sunday destiny and sends the other two teams home with their heads held low. Every year, many sources put the Madden games to the test by using it to predict Super Bowl results, and being the curious sort, I got a jump start on the predictions by using the Gamecube version of the game to predict the two teams which will compete for the trophy.

Continue reading "One Out of Two Ain't Bad" »

January 23, 2006

TV Review: Spike TV's Fresh Baked Video Games

After losing nearly their entire gaming demographic with the abysmal and blatantly corporate sponsored Spike TV Game Awards, it's hard to imagine the station sinking any lower. In fact, Game Head isn't half bad, hosted by Geoff Keighly and featuring actual content. Sadly, that's not what will be reviewed here. Instead, this is Fresh Baked Video Games.

Continue reading "TV Review: Spike TV's Fresh Baked Video Games" »

Call of Duty 2 Conquers Sales Charts

We've reported before about how Call of Duty 2 had impressive sales numbers, but who knew it sold so well that it broke into the top 20 grossing titles of 2005? Practically everyone who managed to get a hold of Microsoft's next-gen console must have had this title on their wish list since it blew away a lot of strong competition from popular titles on both the Xbox and the far more prevalent PS2.
Source: IGN

Now there is a statistic to be proud of. Not only is CoD2 the top selling Xbox 360 game, but it made it onto a rather exclusive list after only being out for less then two months in 2005. It outsold games like Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube! (That came out in January 2005.) The real clincher is that it made more money then every single PC game released in 2005.

Heck, I just ordered it myself. The demo of the game was frustrating as hell. Here I find out it is late in the game. Why they put a demo out like that I have no idea. But this weekend I played through the training mission and part of the first mission and I am sold. The smoke and fire effects are like nothing you have ever seen before in a video game.

Matt was right about the T (Teen) rating by the ESRB. This is a brutal game with a lot of blood and bodies flying everywhere. I am sure the T rating made for higher sales, however.

Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Magma

At some point, it needs to be considered what's worse: terrible looking CGI creatures or terrible looking CGI volcanoes. Both are disastrous, but not for the reasons intended. That said, Magma fares better than expected given the effects and re-used set pieces.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Magma" »

January 24, 2006

N-Gage Review: Marcel Desailly Pro Soccer

Releasing a soccer title in the US is tough. We already see FIFA and Winning Eleven on a yearly basis, so any other competition is lost between that struggle for supremacy. In the N-Gage domain though, that dual-company struggle doesn't exist, and FIFA is the only other title alongside Marcel Desailly Pro Soccer.

Continue reading "N-Gage Review: Marcel Desailly Pro Soccer" »

January 25, 2006

For Sale: Ignitek iCarrier Audio System For iPod

For sale, new in box, $175 OBO. (MSRP is around $250)

Contact me: ken [at] meancode [dot] com.

Small Site Changes Make Big Difference

Yes, I know - it's a cheesy headline. I could not resist. :)

The other day I actually took some time to tend to this site. Imagine that! You can continue reading if you really care about the new super cool changes.

Continue reading "Small Site Changes Make Big Difference" »

For Those Who Think They Know Everything

The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.

No piece of paper can be folded in half more than seven (7) times. (I have heard this)

Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.

You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television. (I knew there was a good reason)

Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty (50) years of age or older.

The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum.

The King of Hearts is the only king without a mustache.

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one (1) olive from each salad served in first-class.

Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise. (Since Venus is normally associated with women, what does this tell you?)

Apples, not caffeine are more efficient at waking you up in the morning. (This may be true, but I still drink coffee more often in the morning)

Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.

The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer. So did the first "Marlboro Man."

Walt Disney was afraid of mice!

Pearls melt in vinegar!

The three most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.

It is possible to lead a cow upstairs..... but not downstairs.

A duck's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why.

Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush.

And the best for last..... Turtles can breathe through their butts. (Kowabunga, dude!)

Special thanks goes to my Dad, who finds some really great things to forward me.

Leaving On A Jet Plane by Chantal Kreviazuk

I am not even going to link to her site. This song is that bad.

I was going through my movie soundtracks tonight and found that I had the soundtrack for Armageddon, I forgot I even had it. By the way, that is not an odd assurance, I have a large digital music collection so I find stuff I never knew I had all the time.

Anyways, Chantal Kreviazuk sings a remake of Leaving On A Jet Plane. There are a lot of people who have covered this song. I have not heard all the covers, but this cover by Chantal Kreviazuk is utterly atrocious--make my ears bleed--bad.

I just thought I would tell you that. Other then this song, and the "Animal Crackers" track, it is an OK soundtrack. Sadly I know this was a CD I actually bought in the physical form years ago. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it was from one of those BMG or Columbia House deals and I had to pick some filler.

Some artists should only be allowed to record their original work - and Kreviazuk is one of them!

January 26, 2006

The Anniston Star Links Our Article To Family Media Guide

Note: Although this column may seem a little old - it was originally penned in December 2005 - the subject matter is surprisingly (not really) still relevant today.

It is always nice to get linked to by other sites. Sometimes the usage of said links is a little odd. The Anniston Star linked to the article Matt and I wrote about the Best Games of 2005. They even have a great intro graph for it:

It’s always nice when people who like video games and people who don’t like video games agree, and this year they agree on “Resident Evil 4.” The Family Media Guide said it was the most “ultra-violent” video game of the year, while a loose consortium of blogger-gamers said it also was the best of the year.
Since I am on the subject, lets take a look at The Family Media Guide's Top 10 Ultra-Violent Video Games of 2005.

Continue reading "The Anniston Star Links Our Article To Family Media Guide" »

Marble Blast Ultra, Full Auto Demo Hit Xbox Live

Fresh content! Keep these Xbox Live Arcade games coming.

Marble Blast Ultra is ready for download for all you Xbox Live Arcade fanatics out there. It costs 800 Microsoft Points (roughly $10) and features 60 single player levels, 12 Achievements, 20 Easter Eggs, and eight-player multiplayer mayhem in 10 different levels on Xbox Live.

Continue reading "Marble Blast Ultra, Full Auto Demo Hit Xbox Live" »

GBA Review: Mario Pinball Land

So Mario’s wandering around the fair one day with Peach and spies Toad with some sort of weird contraption with giant toilet plungers. Excited, Toad demonstrates that his machine can squish anyone into a contortionistic ball to be shot out of a cannon. Rather than be horrified at this diabolic torture device, Peach gamely steps up and gets herself squished into a cute marble. Trouble strikes! Goombas appear and shoot the Peach-Ball into Bowser’s castle. Mario, for some odd reason, decides that he can better rescue her as a ball and climbs into the device with a determined look on his face. Only he is bouncy enough to rescue the princess.

Continue reading "GBA Review: Mario Pinball Land" »

January 27, 2006

Disney Buys Pixar For 7.4B, Jobs Takes Seat On Disney Board

Mickey Mouse and Nemo are now corporate cousins. Walt Disney has announced that it is buying Pixar, the animated studio led by Apple head Steve Jobs, in a deal worth $7.4 billion.
Source: CNN Money

Wow. With Michael Eisner out of there (thank god), things are very different. Of note:

John Lasseter ... will rejoin the House of Mouse as chief creative officer for the company's combined animated studios and will also help oversee the design for new attractions at Disney theme parks.
Robert Iger has done in very little time what Eisner never could, and for that I am thankful. Disney was very smart to buy Pixar - at any price - because without Pixar there is no Disney animation.

Soon we will be seeing Buzz Lightyear and Woody along side Mickey and Minnie in the Disney theme parks, and I think that is pretty cool.

I am sure Jobs will fire up the Disney board - and it needs it. As Jobs was the largest shareholder in Pixar, he is now the largest individual shareholder in Disney. Not a bad spot to be in.

What I would really like to find out is what Ed Catmull will be doing now. I am sure he will be an important part of Disney/Pixar, but I have no idea to what extent.

Some history: Steve Jobs bought the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd. from George Lucas in 1986 for $10 million. Pixar is born. Twenty years later Steve Jobs sells Pixar to Disney for $7.4 billion. Disney is reborn.

Return on investment, anyone?

Great Song

This one was buried on Hootie's site, and until I went through the forums, I didn't know it was there. Mark Bryan's voice is pretty weak, but the lyrics are just incredible (including a few shots at Bush). Check out Say Goodbye, but be sure to read the description first (the other songs, except for the abysmal Divided States of America, are all on Looking for Lucky). You should have a copy if you've ever visited the site given all of my plugs.

And yes, it looks like hell, but it's crunched in a frame when you actually see it on the site and this was the only way to link it.

Xbox 360 Review: Tiger Woods 06

From the viewpoint of a die-hard fanatic of EA's Tiger Woods franchise, the first Xbox 360 rendition is impossible to judge. It seems to do everything to cause irritation in a group of loyal followers who understand why the series is the way it is, while at the same time, keeping the basic gameplay that drew people in to begin with. It's easily contains the widest feature set of the disappointing group of launch titles from EA Sports, and that's what carries this latest edition.

Continue reading "Xbox 360 Review: Tiger Woods 06" »

Let's Wait For The Jack Thompson Response

Because the PSP has official porn in the US. Wouldn't it be hard to hold the system and do... err, never mind.

Xbox 360 Annoyances: Xbox Dashboard

The Xbox 360's Operating System, otherwise known as the Xbox Dashboard, is a vast improvement over what the original Xbox had. The four "Blades" are organized pretty well. There are, however, a few things that should be improved. I don't see why they cannot upgrade Xbox Dashboard like they upgraded the original Xbox. There have already been small updates to the Xbox Dashboard since Nov. 22, 2005 - but I am proposing some major overhauls in terms of usability.

Continue reading "Xbox 360 Annoyances: Xbox Dashboard" »

LA City Attorney Files Hot Coffee Suit

Los Angeles city attorney Rocky Delgadillo announced yesterday that his office has filed suit against Take-Two Interactive, claiming the publisher "engaged in unfair business practices by hiding pornographic material in a game which received an M rating."
Source: GameSpot

Alright. I am pissed at this point. When is this shit going to stop? And where is the "pornographic material." I mean seriously folks. The "girlfriend" was wearing a t-shirt and a thong. Carl was wearing a hoody and jeans. That is not pornography. Dead or Alive 4 is more pornographic the Hot Coffee. Nevermind the amount of work you have to do to input the codes to get it working on the console version of the game.

This Hot Coffee crap is going to ruin Rockstar before long. Their stock price is in the gutter, a member of their board of directors just resigned - I can't imagine why.

The suit alleges that Take-Two was fully aware of the Hot Coffee minigame when it made the game and that it manipulated the Entertainment Software Ratings Board rating process into giving the game an undeserved M for Mature.
Yea. Right.
...it says that the company marketed the game "in a fashion that encourages the creation and use of mods" to boost its counterculture image and popularity.
OK that's a new one. I haven't heard that before. I also can't understand it one bit, considering modding is not something that Take-Two allows by their end-user agreement.
It bears mentioning that Delgadillo is currently running for another office, hoping to be elected the Attorney General of California this November.
Bingo. Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding. We have a winner! Well, loser if you ask me. This has gone far enough.

I say you send rdelgadillo@atty.lacity.org a - nice - long email.

January 28, 2006

The Long Week in Video Game Violence

To say the past week has been a wild, insane, and completely absurd for video gamers is an understatement. While no particular story stands out as big as "Hot Coffee" did last year, combined they take a toll. The games may seem like they're most important part of the industry, yet the attacks against them are becoming far more serious.

Continue reading "The Long Week in Video Game Violence" »

PSP Preview: Pursuit Force

While Pursuit Force probably won't become the PSP's savior as far as original games are concerned, a brief three level demo shows potential. Even with a short demo, Pursuit Force has a tough time overcoming repetitiveness, though the other two gameplay modes, on foot and in the air, are not included.

Continue reading "PSP Preview: Pursuit Force" »

Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Swarmed

It’s been over 30 years since Jaws found its way onto movie screens, and yet, people in small towns continue to have public events in the midst of a genetically altered wasp invasion. History has obviously taught them nothing. If you decide to close beaches because of a shark, why do these town leaders continually put their own people in the path of certain death? It makes the scripts writers job easier, duh.

Continue reading "Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Swarmed" »

Fun Birthday Calculator

While I have zero belief in astrology, this is pretty fun. Pop in your birthday to find a bunch of stats and other stuff about yourself.

January 29, 2006

PSP: Great Movie Device Also Plays Games

Here’s a piece pointing out good news that might potentially be bad news: There are now 330 films available or coming soon for the Sony PSP, versus 100 games. Also, as of Aug. 31, Sony had sold 9 million PSP games and 8 million UMD movies, according to Home Media Retailing.com. So it seems Sony’s portable game playing device is being consumed primarily as a movie player.
Source: Kotaku

Wow. A three to one ratio. That is bad. Oh and "Great Movie Device Also Plays Games" is just spot on.

Blizzard of GLBT gaming policy questions

Popular maker of online game World of Warcraft cites a gamer for harassment for using the term 'GLBT'; other gay guilds request clarification.
Source: In Newsweekly

In other words, stay in the closet. And keep your Real Life (RL) out of the game world.

Download MP3 of Disney/Pixar Conference Call

Download the MP3 because it answers a few things. My question was answered: Ed Catmull is now President of Animation. Considering he was President of Pixar, that seems fitting.

DS Review: Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney

Taking much of why text adventures are no longer with us, Phoenix Wright's bright exterior raises it above what would have been a slightly strained DS experience. It's engrossing inside the courtroom as players destroy cases with found evidence and pushy dialogue. The segments leading up to the trials seems to falsely extend the game, while the complete lack of replay value makes this a tough purchase.

Continue reading "DS Review: Phoenix Wright - Ace Attorney" »

January 30, 2006

Diary of an Achievement Point- Addicted Xbox 360 Gamer

December 13th: Finally tracked down an Xbox 360. $400 and a single game later, I'm happy. While playing NHL 2K6, I earn my first "Achievement Point." Turns out by performing certain tasks in the game, I earn points for my Xbox 360 profile.

Continue reading "Diary of an Achievement Point- Addicted Xbox 360 Gamer" »

Xbox 360 Accessory Review: Mad Catz HeadCOM Pro

Mad Catz has you covered in the Xbox 360 accessories corner. If you are stuck with the Core System, you can save a few bucks by going the third party rout. You may even want to look into this as a replacement to the Microsoft supplied headset. There is a give and take, however.

Continue reading "Xbox 360 Accessory Review: Mad Catz HeadCOM Pro" »

January 31, 2006

DS Review: True Swing Golf

With the launch of the Playstation 2, T&E Soft quietly snuck out Swing Away Golf. It's goofy exterior turned people away to the slowly forming Tiger Woods series. However, any golf video game fan should have long given up on the 2001 edition EA's yearly franchise. On the other hand, they'll still pull out Swing Away Golf for a few rounds now and then. The same could go for True Swing Golf, a lacking title off the course, but offering spectacular play on.

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PSP Review: GripShift

There's a key problem with developer SIDHE's GripShift for the PSP. It's a lot of things, and this combination is initially a turn off. Combat racing coupled with platforming doesn't sound like a blend that ever should have been attempted. The key here is to understand that this is not a driving, racing, or combat game. It's actually a clever puzzle title with a unique concept unlike anything we've seen previous.

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