March 2006 Archives



March 1, 2006

The Simpsons vs. First Amendment

This is funny:

Only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment... but more than half can name at least two members of the cartoon family.

That's not the best part though:

About one in five people thought the right to own a pet was protected.

Here are the results, and yes, I can't do all five off the top of my head either. However, I know the Simpsons and American Idol judges. Sue me.

DVD Review: Space Amoeba

Definitely one of the oddest kaiju movies to come from Toho, Space Amoeba (or Yog: Monster from Space), was the first 1970s effort. It also became the final one from the combination of composer Ikira Ifukube and director Ishiro Honda. It's a minor effort, with a lack of scale that severly hurts the story.

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Real Life World of Warcraft

Kotaku has a Google Video that is a must see. The Leroy Jenkins reference is priceless.

Marc Ecko On The Defensive Over His New Game

It's hard to say this for a lot of people, and many of them won't admit it, but Marc Ecko is right. The media has latched onto a recent quote from the fashion designer about gamers. The single line is as follows:

"I would say there are gamers that have a predisposition to have a bug up their ass for anything urban."

Continue reading "Marc Ecko On The Defensive Over His New Game" »

Xbox Live Arcade Review: Robotron 2084

It's highly doubtful creator Eugene Jarvis knew what he was creating when the concept for Robotron 2084 popped into his mind. The simple "try and stay alive" concept is an idea that would spawn numerous sequels and spin-offs (Smash TV owes everything to Robotron). As such, we've seen the game on multiple incarnations of hardware, and the Live Arcade seems as good a place as any to yet again resurrect this unsung classic.

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March 2, 2006

UMD Review: Animal House

This is Animal House. It doesn't matter what's written here, what the comments say, or what type of analyzing goes on. This is Animal House, and this 1978 piece of flawless comedy will always be one of the greatest of all time and nothing written can ever change that.

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Xbox 360 Review: NBA Live 06

To say the Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 06 is lacking, well, everything, still isn't enough to get the point across. Barren is probably a better word. This is the problem with being spoiled by sports games, and NBA Live 06 is a victim because of it.

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Utah "Pornographic" Game Bill Fails

A few expected this to have a chance because of its wording, but Gamepolitics is reporting it failed to make it.

The best part here it to listen to Rep. Hogue's statements, which can be found on this site. You'll need RealPlayer (look for HB0257SO1), but it's obvious from his speaking that he does not understand what he's trying to prevent, and sounds dangerously close to Jack Thompson's usual pointless ramblings.

March 3, 2006

PS2 Review: NBA Jam

People can discuss the merits and difficulties with sequels, but the real challenge is with a remake or update. The further the gap grows between hardware generations, the tougher it is to keep the core mechanics of the original while adding in expected features of the day. Without a new NBA Jam title since the N64 (and those were hardly NBA Jam titles as we expect them), this revision has quite a bit to live up to.

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Xbox Live Arcade Review: Smash TV

Far better than the sequel it would spawn (Total Carnage), Smash TV is one of gaming's all time brightest action titles. It does almost nothing wrong, and it's one of the few games that can come close to the intensity of Robotron. That's not surprising given Robotron's creator Eugene Jarvis had a hand in this one.

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Xbox Review: Van Helsing

We need lawyers who understand video game programming. People like that would be able to dig into something like Van Helsing and slap a multi-million dollar lawsuit on Vivendi Universal for plagiarism. This is a 100% clone of Devil May Cry in every way, and if one were to look deeper, it wouldn’t be surprising to find lines of code stripped right out of Capcom’s franchise.

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New Games Galore, With Bonus Commentary

Lately I have a ton of new games to play. Some are new, others are just new to me. During my latest eBay exploits I nabbed Virtua Tennis for PSP, Bust-a-Move DS, and Outlaw Golf 2 for Xbox - all for less than $50.

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March 4, 2006

Baff! Pow! Jihad!

He compares it to comics from 60 years ago with Superman and Captain America punching Hitler, but I have reservations about Frank Miller's planned 200-page graphic novel for next year about Batman going after bin Laden when Gotham is attacked by terrorists. I kind of prefer my superheroes not to live in the same world as me... but after Bush vowed vengeance on the "Axis of Evil," I guess the lines are blurred.

March 6, 2006

DS Review: Mario & Luigi - Partners in Time

Even if it didn't feature the main characters of gaming's storied franchise, Mario & Luigi - Partners in Time would still obviously be a game from Nintendo. Its charm, style, innovation, and family friendly humor work to create a unique RPG experience spun off from Super Mario RPG (1996). The result is a work of an ingenious game design, giving fans the greatest battle system ever devised for a turn based RPG.

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Banned Xbox 360 Ad

This advertisement was deemed not suitable for air by Microsoft's lawyers.

Ultimate Utopia XXIII

If there ever was a spoof of Final Fantasy X, this is it. You can check out the YouTube version or even get a higher rez version here.

If you are not in tears laughing after you watch this, please check your pulse. And thanks to Jordan for pointing this and that Xbox 360 ad out.

Enter the world of Ultimate Utopia XXIII where real life and video game collide!

This movie is a mock on RPGS particularly Final Fantasy. I came up with this idea a year ago and decided to finally do it. It was a lot of working coordinating the menus and numbers and such. About one week of editing using Premiere, AE, and AlamDV. One day of shooting.

I hope you have as much fun watching it as I had making it! =)

March 7, 2006

DVD Review: The Island

The Island is a rare movie from action director Michael Bay. Instead of quickly setting up the story to give more time to the action, the story here is the constant focus. With its intriguing mystery, the entire Island experience succeeds as entertainment. Fans of Bay need not worry either; the action sequences are stunning achievements.

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March 8, 2006

Xbox Live Arcade Review: Crystal Quest

Probably one of the top games to land on a list of "games you'll never see remade," Crystal Quest isn't even in the memory of many gaming fans. An obscure Mac title (and later Apple II), this shooter offered some different mechanics to help it stand out, including inertia and a focus on collecting. Only one of those makes it into this remake.

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Metal Gear Awesome

This one is better than that Ultimate Utopia XXIII video that I posted a couple days ago! Much. Better. Why? Because of all the "in" Metal Gear Solid jokes. You will be in stitches.

Accessory Review: PS2 ShadowBlade Arcade Stick

The ShadowBlade is one of those arcade sticks that does such a fine job of presenting itself, you almost want to overlook the fact that it barely works. Fans of charge-based characters will do fine; anyone looking to try and spurt out some fireball motions or dragon punches will be sorely disappointed. The ample frame of the ShadowBlade is nothing but a cover.

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Accessory Review: Capcom's PSP D-Pad cover

One of those games ruined at the launch of the PSP was Darkstalkers. Any of its flaws were due to the hardware, not in the programming. Obviously realizing something was wrong and fighting game fans were frustrated, Capcom has addressed the needs for a decent PSP d-pad. Sadly, it doesn't work.

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March 9, 2006

PSP Adverts In London

A Flickr gallery. Some are just brilliant advertising, such as "Fast Getaway Here" on the side of a double-decker. But these have stirred up controversy, namely "Take A Running Jump Here" placed right next to a subway platform.

March 10, 2006

Random facts about Jack Thompson

As if Vin Diesel and Chuck Norris weren't enough, it's time for Jack to get his. Now, lets sit back and wait for a press release telling us how he has a SWAT team outside the site creator's house ready to charge.

DS Lite GBA Slot Sucks

As seen in this video, the GBA slot on the DS Lite sucks. I don't play many GBA games, but I do like the DS Rumble Pak, which happens to be in the form of a GBA cart. Cabel's first look video/photos are worth a look too.

How could they overlook this? I take design very seriously and cannot fathom why/how they could not fix this problem before production.

Although I will most likely buy one for the brightness of the screen. It is brighter than the PSP screen after all. But I am not going to pay full price for the DS Lite. I may be crazy, but not that crazy.

From The "These Guys Have Way To Much Time On Their Hands" Category

Sure, we've all seen Mario speed runs, but none side by side where they finish just a split second between themselves.

March 11, 2006

'Oscar-gate' Mystery Solved?

Perhaps there was a bit of confusion at the Oscars -- particularly among the older voters -- about how to cast their butterfly ballots. This image is making its way around the Internet, and could explain everything. Forget about homophobia and racism and campaign tactics and the merits or flaws of the candidates themselves -- and remember it was an election!
Originally from Nick Star.com

This is just too funny. I think someone is a little sore that Brokeback Mountain did not win. And a nice jab at Florida too!

March 12, 2006

Nintendo DS Review: Super Princess Peach

Simply put, Super Princess Peach is the best Mario game to come out in a very long time. It has been far too long since there has been an original 2D Mario-style game from Nintendo. What you get with Peach is a just that, only without the Mario part. Nintendo has decidedly gone for the not so hardcore girl gamer demographic with this title. But you should not let the feminine side of things get in the way.

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PSP Review: Street Fighter Alpha 3 Max

Lost in the luster of Street Fighter III, Street Fighter Alpha 3 is severely under appreciated. The amount of moves, gameplay tweaks, tremendous roster, and presentation are arguably the best in the franchise. It shines on every system it's released for, unless that system isn't capable of handling the controls.

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Red vs Blue "The Olympics Suck" Video

Be sure and watch this QuickTime from the always funny Red vs Blue. There are some great jokes in it, but Matt Sussman should be keen on the Curling laughers.

Thanks to Njiska from DP for the link of the high res. QT version.

Xbox Review: Black

Things in life I learned from Black:

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March 14, 2006

Xbox Live Arcade Review: Gauntlet

It may have been the beginnings of the action-RPG genre, but time is not on Gauntlet's side. Its purpose, sucking down four players quarters at once, is obvious. Blatantly so in fact, and as such, Gauntlet isn't worth playing regardless of the console it's on.

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March 15, 2006

Exclusive Marc Ecko Interview On Blogcritics

After he ticked some people off with his "gamers are pissy" statement, we had to get the full story. As such, the exclusive follow up interview is now up on Blogcritics.

DS Review: ATV Quad Frenzy

There's a market for decent ATV racing titles. That DS isn't capable of offering much to that market though, especially when it's designed like Quad Frenzy. The lack of an analog stick is critical, and the glaring lack of play modes is even worse.

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March 17, 2006

Xbox 360 Review: Fight Night Round 3

If you look at the Xbox 360 version of Fight Night Round 3 and believe the only difference are the graphics, you're wrong. It's not a matter of opinion. The first edition of the Fight Night series is a radical change, even if at a quick glance, it doesn't appear so. The technology is used to create the first truly next-gen sports title, and the benefits are stunning.

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Will Google Buy Sun?

At least one Blogcritic seem to think so. Maybe EPIC and the Google Grid are not far off!

March 18, 2006

PS2 Review: 24 - The Game

24: The Game has everything. Generally, that's a compliment, at least outside the realm of video games. Inside, it usually means that with production spread thin, it fails to do any segment of the game properly, and that's exactly what happened here. There's a strong story core here, and that's the only aspect that's worth playing this one for.

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March 19, 2006

Accessory Review: Cellfan Vinyl Skins For Mobile Devices

Cellfan is yet another place that sells skins for gaming and mobile devices. But these skins are not made out of stickers; they are made out of vinyl. Cellfan lists skins for hundreds of mobile phone brands, a multitude of laptop manufacturers, as well as MP3 players, PDAs, and of course game consoles. If you look hard enough you will even find skins for a Mac mini and a TiVo.

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DS Review: Bust-A-Move DS

You're company doesn't have a real gaming console until it has a version of Bust-A-Move. Born out of the Tetris craze, this Taito-developed piece of puzzle action is one of the few to continue based on sheer quality. As such, gamers are bombarded with it. It's been on so many different platforms, there's an off chance a few toasters out there may have a built in version. Yet, we continue to play it originality or not, and while this DS version has some of the best core gameplay of any version, its disappointing lack of features make it a tough purchase.

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As The Blogcritic Turns -- Your Daily Soap Recap

After a recent spate of complaints, I began to think, I should give up editing for Blogcritics and become a pimp. They have it easy compared to what editors go through. Don't mind me...I'm feeling somewhat goofy and loopy from pain meds.
Source: Blogcritics

Yea, what she said... well, most of it. In January, Blogcritics changed. You might not have noticed, but it did. We moved on from the "blog" thing. We have an editorial process now that involves an editor (or more if needed) to read over and check every article. We have a hierarchy of editors. There is a style guide for everything. And if there isn't one yet, we are making it.

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DS Review: Snowboard Kids DS

"Close" is the only word that comes to mind when playing Snowboard Kids DS. An update of sorts even though it bears little resemblance to the N64 original, the changes to the game ruin all of the fun. "Close" comes into play because this is one of those games that has a solid engine running underneath it, yet it's broken because of its design.

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Xbox Review: Sid Meier's Pirates!

Arrrh.
1. A loose approximation of what a stylized pirate might utter.
2. An onomatopoeic representation of the (somewhat) voice acting in Sid Meier's Pirates! Live the Life. Sid Meier is a name that most gamers will recognize as the famed creator of the Civilization series, one of the few game designers to gain public recognition for his works. His fans tend to await each new game announcement with a slavish devotion, usually rewarded by a deep, compelling strategy game.

And sometimes not.

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Custer's Revenge Misunderstood

Yes, that game. Here is an explanation, but put your boots on. If you have never seen the cartridge cover mentioned, check it out!

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - PC or 360?

This is not an easy question to answer. And with only a matter of days before we are all lost in Oblivion, IGN has one last preview/comparison.

March 20, 2006

Nintendo DS Review: Electroplankton

Nintendo has always been the company to push the limits of what a "game" can do -- and the Nintendo DS is a testament to that. Electroplankton would not have seen mass market if it were not for Nintendo, the DS, and Toshio Iwai's vision. And for that, I am thankful.

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March 21, 2006

Not quite a review: V for Vendetta

I first wrote about this movie in September, as it was already chugging along and I had only just heard about it. Being a large fan of the comic, I was both excited and apprehensive about a Hollywood treatment. Having seen the movie last night, I do believe I can say it lived up to Alan Moore's politically relevant anarcho-dystopian vision.

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March 22, 2006

Are you a fanboy?

Now you can take the test, and find out for yourself! This is how I scored:

Nintendo Fanboy: 39%
Sony Fanboy: 42%
Microsoft Fanboy: 33%

This means you're: Not a fanboy

What does it mean?

You like all the systems pretty equally, or at least don't love any of thes systesms. Good for you, you like vareiety.

NerdTests.com User Test: The Better Fanboy Check Test.

PS2 Review: Psychonauts

Most of America is psychotic for not buying this most majestic of platformers.

Psychonauts, the latest adventure from the bizarre brain of Tim Schafer (Monkey Island series, Grim Fandango), is the story of a young boy with phenomenal psychic powers. Unlike many platformer games, the story is quite integral and very entertaining.

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Xbox 360 Preview: Blazing Angels

Taking WWII out of the first-person genre for the first time in what feels like ages, Blazing Angels isn't re-inventing the arcade flight genre. It follows a familiar line set up by Namco's Ace Combat, but adds a kitschy feel and a superb targeting system. The currently available demo on the Marketplace offers players three levels to try, and it's likely enough to sell this one.

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March 23, 2006

PSP Review: Pursuit Force

Since the beginning of the medium, video games have done one thing predominantly well: action. Fists, bats, guns, cars, explosions, etc. If you can create action around it, a game has done it. Pursuit Force may be built around a simple action concept, but the game is nothing short of intense.

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March 24, 2006

Xbox 360 Review: The Outfit

Trying to blend two genres that will hardly blend together at all, The Outfit offers frantic and superb multi-player for a few people. More than a handful of players and the battlefields are filled with too many targets and little organization. The less said about the single player the better.

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Xbox 360 Review: Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter

When you're in this line of work, there's one severe problem one can run into: being speechless. Yet, after moving through with Ghost Recon for the Xbox 360, it's hard to find words to accurately describe the experience, drama, tension, and nearly flawless gameplay mechanics. This everything a 360 game should be, a new high point, and a blueprint for anything tactical to come in the future.

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The Passing of our Ferret

It's always tough to lose a close pet, but it's even worse when you know it's going to happen and the call is on you. That was Marvin's situation. What we thought last September was an intestinal disease turned out to be adrenal glad cancer. The past week showed a serious decline in the little guy. He was listless, constantly sleeping, and his back legs were slowly giving out on him.

Marvin's stress level sent him into seizures whenever we gave him any type of medicine, so there was nothing really left to do. This morning we took him in and the vet confirmed he had a quarter-sized tumor. It hit fast. At five and with his condition, surgery wasn't an option either. He had only a few days left at best, and after seeing him lay and stare blankly at me last night (almost like he was trying to tell me what needed to be done), we made that inevitable call this morning.

Marvin was five, a rescue from someone who decided not keep him after an argument with his girlfriend. His love for sock theft (which we'll likely still be finding around the house for the next few years), dangling objects, plastic bags, and buckets will not be forgotten.

March 26, 2006

Xbox Live Arcade Review: Feeding Frenzy

The great thing about Live Arcade titles is their skill requirement. These simple puzzle and twitch titles require your full attention, and earning Achievements is and actual achievement. That's not true with Feeding Frenzy.

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March 28, 2006

Xbox Live Arcade Review: Mutant Storm Reloaded

Hardly original but with some unique ideas, Mutant Storm Reloaded is the Xbox Live Arcade's fifth dual analog shooter. That's a bit much for anyone, though Mutant Storm is slightly distinct with its tighter gameplay and focus on clearing single rooms with their own challenges. It's definitely more Smash TV than Geometry Wars.

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DS Review: Viewtiful Joe - Double Trouble

Thanks to its unique visual style, Viewtiful Joe has no problem fitting in on the DS. Aside from the lowered resolution, it's hard to see what's been changed initially about the stylistic flair this series was born on. The changes that have been made come into play later and are on the second screen. They're the worst things about this completely new version of the franchise.

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March 29, 2006

DVD Review: King Kong (2005)

Impossibly beating all odds, destroying every bad memory about the 1976 remake, and setting a new standard for creature features, King Kong is a remarkable film. It's intense, brutal, and draining on every emotion. You're actually tired after watching it. Peter Jackson's remake is a $207 million gift for every Kong fan in the world, and except for a few ugly spots, it's hard to imagine a better way to resurrect one of cinema's all time greats.

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Book Review: Hacking the PSP

With the complexity of today's gaming consoles, it's no surprise we need books like Hacking the PSP. The amount of things that can be done to this little handheld is astonishing, and there isn't another book out there on this console that covers this much. The flashy, foil cover isn't just for show. It's there to grab attention away from the other books on the same topic because they're nearly rendered useless.

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Interview: Doug Lowenstein on the Video Game Voters Network

The Video Game Voters Network was established as an outlet for video gamers to get their message out about the onslaught of anti-game legislation that's growing by the day. The orginization was started by Doug Lowenstien, president of the ESA. In this exclusive interview, Mr. Lowenstein discusses the VGVN and why it's an important tool to any gamer looking to stop government regulation of any kind in the industry.

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DVD Review: The Real Ghosbusters 3-Pack

Spinning off the hugely popular film, the cartoon version of Ivan Reitman's Ghostbusters may be toned down, but it's still a lot of fun. The designs, sarcasm, humor, and occasionally linked storylines still make it a joy to watch 20 years after its debut. You'd never know how fondly remembered it was from Sony's DVD treatment though.

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Xbox Live Arcade Review: Zuma

Everyone who plays Zuma has a deep rooted hatred for it. It's the immeasurable, heated, and downright dangerous type of hatred. Actually, maybe it's not Zuma they hate, but how much people miss out on life because of it.

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March 30, 2006

Underwhelming Revolution Specs

Thanks to IGN and some anonymous tips, the Revolution specs are out in the wild. With the CPU and GPU close to that of the original Xbox, a lot of people are up in arms right now.

This news really does not surprise me. If Nintendo is going to sell the Revolution for $200, or whatever, then it is not going to push the envelope. The only thing that did surprise me in the report is the lack of shader technology on the GPU. But then again, I do not think it is needed for the Revolution.

Nintendo has stated before that the PS3 and Xbox 360 are not direct competition, and now that is clear more than ever. We will obviously have to wait and see, but I bet Nintendo is going to come out of this smelling like roses.

Swindled on eBay

I guess I had it coming. It has been at least five years since I got screwed out of an auction on eBay. On March 10th I bought Ultimate Block Party for the PSP, a Buy It Now auction. On March 15th I got a USPS notice email, as I payed immediately via PayPal -- this all seemed very normal and acceptable to me. Only the USPS email only gave me a tracking number, no actual package tracking included. I checked in a couple days, but nothing. On March 23 I sent an email. On March 27th I sent another email. It is now March 30th and all I have received is an automated email telling me to use the eBay message system as the seller gets a lot of spam otherwise.

No I don't know about you, but I get quite a lot of spam that looks like it came from the eBay message center. So I do not know how a personal "hey what's going on with my game" email could be construed as spam. At any rate I used the eBat message center and fired off both of my previous emails that way.

As I said, it is March 30th, and still nothing. In a few more days I am going to go ape-shit on this seller, because I want my game and I worked hard for that money. 98.4% positive feedback or not, don't buy anything from "moviecheapnet," I never will again.

I notice the game is covered under PayPal Buyer Protection, so I may have to go that rout. Just a FYI, you have 45 days to file for it.

Sam Goody Closes Doors In BG

It is no surprise that Sam Goody is going out of business, or rather changing their name to FYE. Hopefully FYE will not be any worse than Sam Goody was.

At any rate, the (s)mall's Sam Goody in Bowling Green is having one of those nifty bittersweet liquidation sales. Most everything in the store is 20% off, while other things are 25% off. The games are only 20% off, and I saw nothing I truly needed. Yep, that is correct -- you heard me -- I walked out of the store without a game.

That is more than I can say for Matt, considering the last time we were there (his first) he bought $20 of clearance items that I would classify as "junk," other than a cheap copy of NFL Street 2 for the Xbox. This was a trip I get yelled at for too, because I made him spend the money. Yea, that's it.

So maybe it is a good thing Sam Goody is changing to FYE. No more forcing Matt into buying any more junk that he already bought two days before for twice the money. That is a plus.

What really sucks is the Replay Points that I have at Sam Goody. I need to call them and inquire about those. It is really nice getting $5 and $10 off on new video games, like Oblivion, which I just bought from Sam Goody last week.

March 31, 2006

Welcome to EA Online, Meancode

I received this email today:

Welcome, Meancode

Thanks for playing on Xbox Live. The EA and Xbox Live partnership gives you an even deeper and richer experience on the ea.com website, including access to your personal stats, rankings and more.

Just link your Gamertag to an EA Account to get the most out of your online experience by clicking here.

Once you get linked, you can access your stats, leaderboards, the latest news, events, and more at http://www.ea.com/.

For customer support, please visit us at http://support.ea.com

I signed on, but did not even play one game, to the Battlefield 2: Modern Combat Demo. In that amount of time I got spammed by EA!

Reguardless, it was quite simple to link my EA account and my Gamertag. I already had an EA account from playing SSX 3 on PS2 and Madden NFL 06 (briefly) on PSP.

1. Sign In
2. Click Button

It was really that simple because the form had all my data from my Gamertag info.

Q: Are we getting too connected here?
A: No, we already are.

Blazing Angels Xbox 360 Demo

I just finally tried out the Blazing Angels demo. And what I have to say must be censored.

The (censored) Blazing Angels demo is (censored) ridiculous. Who the (censored) would require you to play through such a (censored) (censored) training mission before actually playing the game.

I have yet to finish the training mission. It is almost impossible. Why would a training mission be difficult to complete? The game looks great. The controls feel fine. But holy hell that is the worst training mission I have ever seen.

DVD Review: The Triangle

While falling to some of the usual mini-series issues, The Triangle is wildly successful in keeping its viewers entertained. It's clichéd to say it "has everything," but that's the case here. This is one of the best pieces of original content the Sci-Fi Channel has produced in years, and it's a pleasant break from their usual Saturday night atrocities.

Continue reading "DVD Review: The Triangle" »

Xbox Live Arcade Review: Outpost Kaloki X

While Outpost Kaloki X looks like a simulation title, it's more of a puzzle game. The idea of building things to attract customers, even in the quirky environment of Kaloki, should lead to some strategy. Instead, its objectives ensure it's closed from the player's ideas, and forces them to follow a specific path to complete them.

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