May 2006 Archives



May 1, 2006

UMD Review: Godzilla (1998)

After countless attempts, Godzilla finally ended up in the hands of an American film company in 1998. With the blessing from Toho, Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin set out to make the their own version of the movie Jan De Bont failed to a few years prior because of budget concerns. As such, the two makers of Independence Day destroyed an attempt at creating a franchise and all hope of Godzilla fans of finally seeing their favorite monster in an epic, big budget classic.

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Xbox 360 Review: MLB 2K6

While not the key to other sports games, the presentation of a baseball game is critical. The sports ample downtime can be enjoyable, tension raised with some camera shots, and classic moments remembered for how they were captured. As usual, it's 2K Sports that handles this the best, with a nothing short of brilliant way of capturing the sport and all of its details. With tweaks to the fielding, this is the best baseball game ever made.

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PSP Review: Daxter

This pint-sized sidekick's first title is a silky smooth transition from the previous PS2 entries. Daxter, you will find, sacrifices very little on the go. Fans of Jak and Daxter will also appreciate the renewed focus on platforming.

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PSP Preview: LocoRoco

After you install version 2.7 of the PSP firmware, head over and download the demo of LocoRoco. This is a Japanese demo of a game published by Sony, and should be played by all. It has that simple puzzle game addictiveness. I only wish there was an English version publicly available.

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May 2, 2006

New Author Pages on BC

Phillip Winn made the new author pages at Blogcritics live today. They really look great, but are like a 1.0 release. There are things that need to be added. Still, they look a heck of a lot better than before.

Ken's Writer Page
Matt's Writer Page
Tyler's Writer Page
Aaron's Writer Page

GP2X 2.0.0 Firmware Update

If you have a GP2X, you should go download the firmware. But let me give you some advice, because the instructions are not that clear.

When it says push START and SELECT at the same time as you power the unit on, do not let go of START and SELECT. Keep them pressed throughout the entire update process!

If you fail to do this, it will perform part one of the install (sort of) and just sit at the Loading screen for ever. I pretty much thought I had bricked my GP2X. But it all works fine now.

Great instructions guys. Really. Quite clear.

I will be writing an article for BC about this, as the upgrades are immense, such as: faster booting time, less battery consumption, a new web server, FTP server, Samba Server and Telnet Login among various bugfixes.

It also has a cute little startup chime. I reinstalled the firmware and replaced the WAV with a sound I like (Mac starup chime). Fun stuff.

UPDATE: You do not need to keep the two buttons held down, you just need to turn off the device after the first part finishes, hold down the two buttons again, start the unit, and it finishes the install of the 2.0.0 firmware. Yea, convoluted, isn't it.

DVD Review: Jarhead

Jarhead is offensive. Within about 30 seconds of the actors popping on the screen, it has the R rating secured. Unlike so many other movies though, Jarhead has a purpose to its gratuitous sex and language. It's part of the harsh reality the soldiers are stuck inside, slowly taking a turn for the worse as the first Gulf War continues on without them.

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May 3, 2006

And you thought "Wii" was a bad name...

Here's a better one:

iRobot.

Bad name? Uh, yeah. Here's a store that sells robots and is named after a story that featured robots that kill people, specifically Will Smith. Oh, and if you're a Xbox Live Diamond Card holder, you can save 20% on any of their iRobot Roomba Vacuuming Robot models. Pray they don't suck you to death.

Nintendo DS Review: Metroid Prime Pinball

One of those unintended side effects for character designers is the spin-off. In the case of characters that roll into a ball, they'll end up in a pinball game eventually if they're popular. That brings us up to Metroid Prime Pinball, an unexpected surprise from Nintendo that shouldn't work on a gameplay level or be fun. Since initial thoughts are usually wrong, Prime Pinball manages to debunk both theories.

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Elder Scrolls Pulled From Stores?

If this thread on CAG has anything to say about it, then yes. They're the only site that has this posted as of right now, but it seems to be limited to Circuit City stores. It has been pulled from their site too and the only version still up as of now is the CE version on the PC. Why would only CC pull copies, and without reason? Let the completely un-fact based speculation commence.

May 4, 2006

The Nintendo DS WiFi Community

KingKRool showed me The Nintendo DS WiFi Community site. Sign up, because they have a nifty script that will put your friend code on images, even generates BB code for you. See:

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Han Shoots First... SO SHUT UP!

Finally, after years of fanboy whining, the masses get what they wanted: Star Wars on DVD. Yes, I know what you're thinking. You bought it, and you'll be buying it again because these are the originals, not the edited and re-visited versions. So, please, Han shoots first, and in all honesty, I don't care. It's the same damned movie.

Mongs.

Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion Receives "M" Rating: Who's to Blame?

It's one of those stories that causes a cringe from anyone who follows the video game industry. From last years Grand Theft Auto "Hot Coffee," we have a current situation with Bethesda's Elder Scrolls Oblivion," which has been hacked to expose female nudity and will be given a stricter rating. Nudity in games is becoming far too hot of an issue, though this current concern is different. There isn't a single source of blame here, and the reactions from those parties have caused this story to spin in directions it shouldn't be spinning.

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May 5, 2006

New Super Mario Bros.

May 6, 2006

PSP Review: Capcom Classics Collection Remixed

On the PSP, Capcom has taken its superb compilation package, redone the game selection, and made it necessary to purchase both the PS2 and PSP versions. Each Capcom Classics Collection has games worth owning the set for. You'll get the following on the handheld:

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May 7, 2006

Counter-Point: New Video Game IPs Are Crucial

Note: This piece is a direct response to Rob Faraldi's Gaming: A Stagnant Puddle of Mediocrity.

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May 8, 2006

Gamecube Review: Rampage Total Destruction

Even with a laundry list of Godzilla games, there is only one quintessential giant monster video game and that's Rampage. Midway's classic is admittedly fondly remembered because at its time, it was the only city smasher out there. That doesn't eliminate the need for a remake, and Total Destruction is a fine way to bring the series back.

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Classic Review Line

Uusally I'm not one to enjoy cheap humor in my reviews (it's way out of hand these days), but if you can do it right, I'm all for it. In the case of this month's Play, Casey Loe had this to say in the process of reviewing Capcom Classics Collection on the PSP:

If you're any older you'll surely huff that, "Pitfall, now that's a classic" and if you're a teenager now, you'll probably laugh out loud at the simplistic crap dumb Gen-X'ers like me lived for and then go back to beating nuns in whatever rapper-endorsed trash you'll consider "classic" long after I'm dead.

Sad, true, and pricelss.

37signals Job Board

The Job Board is here to connect people and companies who value simplicity, great design, beautiful code, Getting Real, and usability. Most of these folks are Basecamp users as well so you won't have to train them how to use your Basecamp.
I think 37signals got tired of all the emails asking about where to find people to hire.

Wheres George Will Not Stop

wheresgeorge.gif

This email, preserved for all eternity, was sent to me the other day. Apple Chancellery never looked so good, did it? Yes, after this update (The WG admin had me take down all ID numbers because it was falsely inflating their system) on my original post about the web site, people deem it necessary to email me personally and tell me what their WG ID number is.

Let me give you a hint: I don't care. If only I had a WTF? category...

E3 2006: First Wave of Marketplace Downloads

As promised, Microsoft today unleashed the first wave of downloads on the Xbox Live Marketplace as part of its "Bringing E3 Home" campaign. So fire up your Xbox 360 and start downloading! This is the list of downloads available so far:

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May 9, 2006

E3 2006: Sony Manipulates Its Audience During Press Conference

Sony never needs to worry about development costs. They let other companies do their work for them. After last nights E3 press conference, the internet lit up with heavy and harsh criticism for video gamings leading seller, and all of that still isn't enough to give them what they deserve.

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E3 2006: Sony's Press Conference, PS3 Pricing and Date

In case you missed it, we've posted a rundown of Sony's E3 press conference over at Blogcritics. You can expect the same for Nintendo and Microsoft.

GP2X: Alexkidd2x 0.2 Released

I forgot to mention that 0.1 was released a few days ago. Even that was an amazing feat. Alexkidd2x is a Master System/Game Gear emulator for the GP2X. There is another SMS/GG emu out, but this one works much better. Get the zip file strait from the author's site. I find that setting the frame skip to zero is the best, otherwise the game runs a bit fast. Thanks to Puck for such a nice emu.

The new features are:

  • Code completely rewritten from SDL to Rlyeh Minilib obtaining a 15% of speed increase (Alex Kidd in Miracle World runs almost 100% at 166 Mhz).
  • Sound improvements, now runs at 44100 Hz and sounds "clearly."
  • Added volume control.
  • Added optional FPS board.
  • Increased speed in ROM selector.
  • Added personalized game configuration (it is saved automatically when launched).
  • Saved cursor position on ROMs selector so you don't have to start from the beginning when selecting a new ROM.
  • Added option to delete ROMs from the selector.
  • Fixed some minor bugs.

E3 2006: Nintendo Succeeds in Debuting the Wii, Makes up for Sony Keynote

After last years keynote that barely qualified as a sneak peek, Nintendo brought everything out this year. It was apparent from the start that they were out push the proper inviting mood. Having Shigeru Miyamoto open their session while conducting a virtual orchestra with the Wii controller was a brilliant move, setting up everything that was to come.

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Nintendo Press Conference Recap Up

As promised, it's up on Blogcritics.

May 10, 2006

E3 2006: Microsoft Connects Everything and Shows Something Called Halo 3

A recap is up for those of you who missed it or can't get video.

E3 2006: Lost Planet Xbox 360 Impressions

Lost Planet isn’t meant to try anything different. Outside of its unbelievably beautiful exterior lies a standard 3rd person shooter involving oddball life forms, mechs, and plenty of fire… lots of fire.

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May 11, 2006

Xbox Live Arcade Review: Uno

It's Uno, it's digital, and its only a meager 400 Microsoft Points. That line should be enough to get the point across that if you're fan of this classic card game, nothing should stop you from grabbing this downloadable edition. If you prefer that most of the strategy lies in being physically present to bluff and scream "Uno!," then this probably isn't for you.

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E3 2006: TRITTON XA360 5.1 Headphones

TRITTON Technologies has introduced a headphone/headset combo that is compatible with a bevy of devices. From PlayStation 2/3, Xbox, and Xbox 360, to PC, Mac, and even DVD players, you will be able to experience Dolby Digital and Pro Logic sound separation in full 5.1.

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May 13, 2006

Girl, 11, will be Britain's youngest mother

Her 34-year-old mother, who gave birth to her youngest child eight months ago, said she was 'proud' of her daughter... She told the Sun: "I didn't think I'd get pregnant because it was my first time. But I'm really excited and looking forward to being a mum.
Source: Daily Mail

Sal sent me this sad, sad link today. It is even worse that the parent is "proud" of her daughter. What is even worse than that is that this young girl beat the record by one month! That, and this girl smokes and drinks (which is how she got pregnant).

So let that be a lesson kids infants, you can get pregnant the first time you have sex. So for crying out loud buy a condom -- or in this case, get one from your mother!

All joking aside, this is a serious matter. And you should read the entirety of this article, this bizarre article. It is a real shame this girl will not experience a "normal" childhood. It is also unfortunate that the girl's parents are as irresponsible as she is.

It is a good thing the mother and daughter are dealing with the new kid on the way. But man, that is a) going to be expensive with two babies in the house and b) a really messed up family. Counseling may be required years down the road.

Jordan just sent me this Snoops article of the youngest mother on record being a five-year-old Peruvian girl. See that, the Brits lose again!

Oh and don't stop reading at the end of that article at Daily Mail, because some of the comments are just priceless.

May 14, 2006

PS2 Review: Ace Combat Zero - The Belkan War

For the fans of the Ace Combat series, it's best that the game doesn't change radically from one edition to the next. Any actual game play tweaks are buried inside changes made elsewhere in the game, and it's hard to find fault in this approach. It's been successful for years, and that's a streak that The Belkan War continues.

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May 15, 2006

Nintendo DS Review: New Super Mario Bros.

The new Mario side-scroller is here. You really don't have to read this review. But since you are here, humor me.

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May 17, 2006

Movie Review: Silent Hill

As soon as those familiar chords started up over the company logo sequence, I knew we were in business. Here's the breakdown:

  • Presentation: 6/10.
  • I'm including the $10 ticket price in this, though you might find it for cheaper. What that bought me, besides a big empty theater with no other players, was a series of promos I could not skip through no matter how hard I mashed the buttons, and then another 20 minutes of unskipable introductory exposition Hideo Kojima would have been proud of. Also at that price, I could not afford any peripheries like, say, popcorn.

  • Graphics: 10/10. As Ken said when we saw it at WalletRape Cinemas in Perrysburg, "It's like watching it on the PS9!" Everything was crisp, dark and creepy, and loadtimes were not a problem - which is good, because this movie is 80% cutscenes.

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Xbox Review: King of Fighters - NeoWave

While there are those out there who feel differently, people fear change. They hate it so much they're willing to deal with the status quo no matter how dull it's become just to avoid having to start over. Why else would fans of the King of Fighters franchise stick with it year in and year out?

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Xbox 360 Review: Dynasty Warriors 5 - Empires

It's utterly amazing that a series based on ancient Chinese history with brutally repetitive fighting has made it to its fifth sequel, let alone multiple spin-offs like Empires. It rejects every theory we have on repetition and how much the human body can take. There's a reason for its success, and it comes back to that it's never boring to take out 50 enemies with a single press of a button.

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Nintendo DS Review: Resident Evil - Deadly Silence

Memories can be cloudy things. For instance, we look back at the Playstation launch title Battle Arena Toshinden and wonder just what exactly was so special about it or how we found it enjoyable in any form. The answer is we didn't like it; we were blinded by fancy graphics. For Resident Evil though, it was something new, and those cloudy memories are hiding what is an archaic design that shows right through in this DS remake.

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May 18, 2006

PS2 Review: Rebel Raiders - Operation Nighthawk

Rebel Raiders doesn't try to be anything more than what it is: a budget title. This small $20 flight game makes up its own physics, gameplay mechanics, and cheap story to provide quick, tight arcade action. Unfortunately, its budget gets in the way of forcing out the repetitiveness, unavoidable bland graphics, and total lack of multi-player.

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Book Review: Play Between Worlds

It's no surprise that massively multiplayer online (MMO) games have caught on. They're unique to the video game industry in how they portray social interactions. In fact, they rely on that element to draw players into their worlds. And, beyond the capabilities of one's avatar, whether it be orc, human or goblin, there's a lot more to MMOs than people realize. Author T. L. Taylor's goal in Play Between Worlds is to make sense of it all.

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May 19, 2006

Louisiana Passes Violent Video Game Law On Lies

How can anything in our political system pass when its reasons for existence are nothing but lies? Louisiana recently passed a bill, thanks to Rep. Roy Burrell, to keep video games out of the hands of minors. Obviously, the debate on whether or not that's our government place is other issue entirely. The problem with this bill is HOW it passed.

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May 20, 2006

Movie Review: The Da Vinci Code

Is Tom Hanks our lord and savior? I guess that is better than Tom Cruise.

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Sci-Fi Channel Original Review: Abominable

While it has the unique blend of Rear Window and a creature feature, Abominable doesn't succeed in doing much right. It takes forever before things being moving into the horror territory the audience expects, and even then, the goofy grin on the monster suit fails to be terrifying. Anything leading up to that is sheer boredom.

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May 21, 2006

"WARNING: IT MIGHT NOT BE 'JUST A RAT'!!!!"

Here is a sample from SomethingAwful.com's "Ye Olde Oblivion Bulletine Boarde." They are all really freakin' funny.

WARNING: IT MIGHT NOT BE "JUST A RAT"!!!!

If you hear some strange sounds near you, like the sounds of heavy footsteps and grown men killing each other with two-handed swords, DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE I DID AND MERELY DISMISS IT AS "JUST A RAT!!!" I heard some odd noises last night in my bandit cave where us bandits hide a bunch of lockpicks for no real reason, and foolishly chalked it up to rats, or possibly drinking too much. I even said something like "what's that noise? Oh, it's probably just a rat" and "boy I shouldn't have drank so much mead last night," even though nobody else was in the room. As it turns out, these sounds I heard weren't made by rats; they were being created by A HUMAN BEING WHO ATTEMPTED TO MURDER ME!!! As a general rule, rats make "squeak squeak" sounds, while humans stabbing your friends to death sound more like "ugh argh stop stabbing me aaargh" or something along those lines.

DON’T MAKE THE MISTAKE I DID!!! Sign up for my five week, comprehensive class at the Cheydinhal Castle County University entitled "How to Differentiate Rats and Murderers." An optional lab component will study, in depth, the different audio properties between rats and grown men wearing 200 pounds of weapons and armor.

May 22, 2006

Nintendo DS Review: New Super Mario Bros.

In 20 years, we'll look back on the release of New Super Mario Bros. and wonder why it took 15 years for it to happen. As some of the best selling games in the history of the industry, waiting for that period of time from a financial standpoint couldn't seem any dumber than it is. Yet, from a current point of view, it's obvious. Anticipation sells, and if it takes another 15 to gives us the next true 2-D platform Mario game, so be it.

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May 23, 2006

Xbox 360 Review: X-Men - The Official Game

Deep down, we all want to see a revival of genres thought long dead. The beat-em-up is one of those, and why Sega has yet to grace us with a new Streets of Rage remains one of those great gaming mysteries. Then, out of nowhere, we get something like X-Men - The Official Game. Not only are we still wondering what it's the official game of, we're also wondering why we're being charged $60 for a beat-em-up that had its mechanics trounced by Final Fight.

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DVD Review: High Tension

High Tension makes no sense. There's no need to discuss plot points, dialogue, or acting, because this movie makes no sense. The ending is the real killer here, not the guy walking around with a saw chopping people up. It's a shame too, because the movie lives up to its name until the final moments.

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May 24, 2006

"Greatest Movie of the Century" - Reverse Shot review of DaVinci Code

I still think "The Die! Vinci Code" would have been a better title.

But. Here is a clever review at The Reverse Shot.

Sample excerpt: "For those who have read Dan Brown's eloquent, Faulkner-esque novel, the rest won't come as much of a surprise. Dave is killed for being the monk who knew too much--that Jesus impregnated Mary with a child, who grew up to be....no no, I can't give it away, but let's just say he was one of the cast members in Cast Away."

It's even funnier than Toledo Blade critic Christopher Borrelli's assertion that Monty Python lurks behind the movie, which is destined to become the next Rocky Horror.

TRITTON AX360 Headphones First Look

One of the many products introduced at E3 this year was the TRITTON Audio Xtreme 360 Headphones.

I just received my review unit today. Setup was a snap. So far I have tested both Mission Impossible (Special Edition) and Condemned on my Xbox 360.

I should have a full review soon but I will leave you with this teaser.

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May 25, 2006

PSP Review: Untold Legends - Warrior's Code

A surprise hit out of the gate for Sony's PSP, Untold Legends offered decent gameplay with a completely lacking presentation. Bombarded with a story told through text, abysmal music, and simplistic multi-player, it's not a game that fared well with critics. The sequel, Warrior's Code, tries to fix everything without upgrading the now dry action.

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TV Review: Sci-Fi Channel Original - Komodo vs. Cobra

Most Sci-Fi Channel disasters fall into the unbearable category. They're not funny, serious, or entertaining. Then something like Komodo vs. Cobra rolls along and you can only imagine being on the set as the actors spout off some of the most unimaginative dialogue ever put on film. This is a hysterically funny movie, whether intentional or not, and has every reason to become a classic for fans of horrible cinema.

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DVD Review: Wrestlemania 22

What a night for the WWE. This year's Wrestlemania reminded us all why we pay extra for the event, and then begin the wait for the DVD. Unforgettable spots were so numerous, they could’ve opened the following night’s Monday Night RAW using nothing but clips from this pay-per-view. Its few downers were in no way enough to ruin the night, and the impressions left by some of the insanity will take years to slip from our minds.

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May 26, 2006

DVD Review: Godzilla (1998) - Monster Edition

It's impossible to describe the sheer hatred Godzilla fans have for this American adaptation. While there are a small number of closet fans, they would be wise to keep their thoughts to themselves. Dean Devlin's own admittance to not liking the previous films, a cheap shot at Godzilla fanzine G-Fan's editor JD Lees, and the abomination of the creature itself doom this film into the lowest depths of summer blockbuster history.

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Movie Review: Silent Hill - Complete

Jordan and I have a revised and complete review of Silent Hill posted over at Blogcritics. Be sure and check it out.

Jimmy Hoffa('s marriage license) Found in BG

The search for the body continues, but the location of Jimmy Hoffa's marriage license is no secret any longer - it's in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The teamster president's 1937 application and license were unearthed in the Wood County Court House recently, the Sentinel Tribune (my own paper) and Toledo Blade reported Thursday. He and his fiancee, Josephine Poszywak, were living in Detroit at the time, but came to BG since in those days, apparently, it was a place for Las Vegas-style quickie weddings.

No word yet on how bored the couple were upon visiting the town.

May 27, 2006

Accessory Review: Griffin iFM PSP

Griffin's iFM PSP is a two-trick pony, acting as a FM radio and media remote for your PSP. For $49.99 MSRP, the iFM is a great addition to any PSP road-warrior's bag of tricks.

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May 28, 2006

TV Review: Sci-Fi Channel Original - A.I. Assault

While it isn't saying much of anything, the special effects in A.I. Assault manage to be above par for a direct-to-cable Sci-Fi Channel schlock piece. The metallic pods, eerily similar to those in Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds, do some believable damage to a small group of suckers stuck on an island inhabited by no one. It's almost a shame people had to be in this movie to spout off ridiculous dialogue and fire guns that never need to be reloaded instead of giving us extra A.I. cheapness.

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May 30, 2006

Top 10 Strangest Gadgets of the Future

Check out the Top 10 Strangest Gadgets of the Future. A number of them are gaming related, including a fully immersive virtual environment (something that I actually have experience using and coding for thanks to my BGSU education) and the “On Target” Video Game Urinal that is already a reality.

I want a transparent toaster. Just for the hell of it.

DS Review: Pokemon Trozei

Planted firmly in the difficulty level of "child," Pokemon Trozei won't become the next great item in puzzle gaming. Its absurdly low difficulty in the endurance mode is inexcusable, even for a game aimed at the younger set. Versus, confusing co-op, and brief initial story mode don't help matters. The only addictive aspect is, of course, collecting the Pokemon.

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Hilarious Review of Komodo vs. Cobra

This is just a classic review of an abysmal movie. I thought it was awful enough to be hilarious all the way through, but this guy puts it best:

"Have you ever seen that old black & white footage of the two kitty cats in a tiny boxing ring wearing little boxing gloves wailing away on one another? The actual komodo vs. cobra smackdown makes those boxing kitties look like a fight scene from Ong Bak."

Kudos to the guy who wrote that one!

Movie Review: X-Men III

Actually, rather than review X-Men: The Last Stand, I have an interactive simulation of watching the movie for you to try at home.

1) Take all your X-Men comics, all your old classics and the new ones, and put them in a big pile. If you have copies of the cartoon or the first two movies, throw those on the pile as well.

2) Set the pile ablaze with some fantastic pyrotechnics -- sparklers, cherry bombs, roman candles, whatever you have. Say some cheesy one-liners as it all burns.

3) Once the flames die down, take a giant crap on top of the ashes. Bury the whole mess under ten feet of dirt.

4) Charge everyone $10 to see it.

May 31, 2006

Xbox Review: Jaws Unleashed

One of the numerous games stuck in "development hell" for years, Jaws Unleashed finally makes it into a barely finished (and "finished" depends on your personal definition) $30 release published by Majesco. It's a game that seems to have the right pieces in place, like developer Appaloosa Interactive who crafted the memorable Ecco the Dolphin games. It also has a giant shark that eats people.

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'XBLA' Podcast Recorded

After a month hiatus, I return to BCRadio. We will blame it on Suss, and his life long banishment. Josh was so nice to pass on part of that banishment to me during my first appearance. It sucks to live in Ohio, what can I say.

At any rate. I talked about Xbox Live Arcade, and gave a short review of Astropop. I will also have an article up about XBLA that I teased to in the segment. I love teasing to articles in the podcast.

After chatting with Njiska on Xbox Live, I have come up with the perfect headline for said article. It shall be known as "Xbox Live Arcade: Best Thing Since Sliced Bread, Fire." Look for it soon, or at least before Monday when BCRadio gets published.




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