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Showing posts from January, 2011

Dr. Frankenstein's Games Console

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I am a gaming Dr. Frankenstein, a Dr. J.S. Steinman, splicing together a gaming masterpiece in Rapture. But instead of relying upon a metropolis full of vain and willing cattle, I'm getting my slabs of flesh from EBay, Amazon and a neighbour's garage sale. This is the ultimate console, bringing together the best parts of a number of real-life platforms, past and present, to create a plastic Picasso that you can plug into your TV.

This is what the industry needs.
This is progress.
This is an excuse for a mid-week blog post.

1. The Name - The Magnavox Odyssey
As far as names go, the world's first video game console has yet to be bettered. I have no idea what a Magnavox is, but it sounds fucking wicked, like an 80's electronica band mixed with Sweden. That it had such an awesome name is quite surprising considering its unimaginatively titled games, such as "Hockey", "Shooting Gallery", "Volleyball", and "Dogfight". The Magnavox Odysse…

3DS, the UK, Region Locks and Hefty Markups - Weekly Recommendations 24/01 – 30/01

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Every week I give three gaming recommendations (very) loosely tied to something topical. These recommendations span platform, generation and genre and are all games that I have played, enjoyed and highly recommend. As always, comments are very welcome so please do chime in with any recommendations of your own.Check back each Monday for a new set, and click here for past entries.
Last week Nintendo gave us the final details for the 3DS launch. It will hit shelves in Japan on February 26th, March 25th in Europe and two days later in North America. Nintendo were also forthcoming with price details, ending months of speculation. The 3DS will go to retail at ¥25,000 (JPN) and $250 in the States.
Unfortunately, as has become standard, Europe will be paying well above the average. In the UK retailers will be setting their own prices for the 3DS, according to how much Nintendo charge them per unit. Amazon are taking pre-orders at £219.99, the cheapest I have seen anywhere, far above the Japane…

Gaming Wishes For 2011

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Much like I did last year, I am looking forward with some gaming wishes for the New Year. Some of them are firmly grounded in reality, whereas others are mere flights of fancy. The only thing that binds them together is that none are predictions. I’ll leave that thankless task to the Michael Pachters of the world.
Comments are always appreciated.

1. The PSP2 builds upon the success and failures of the PSP
With the notable exception of Japan, where portable gaming is still almighty, the first six years of the PSP have been a mixed bag. The unit sales are impressive enough and there have been some platform exclusive titles of note (Metal Gear Solid Peacewalker, God of War Chains of Olympus, Final Fantasy Crisis Core etc), but the system suffered a premium price point which has yet to sufficiently fall, and is notoriously difficult to develop for, resulting in a consistently sparse release schedule. UMD bombed as a movie format and Sony’s initial attempt to do away with physical media in th…

How Dragon Age Origins Rekindled My Interest in RPGs - A Review

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Every once in a while, a game comes along that reminds you of why you loved that particular genre in the first place. For me, Dragon Age Origins is that game. Back in the days of the PlayStation 1 I couldn’t get enough of RPGs. However, over the last few years I have gradually shied away from the genre. Alongside my ever diminishing attention span, and fuelled by a rapidly increasing library of games, I have been reluctant to invest long hours (40+) into any game. Dragon Age Origins, against all odds, won me back over.
Things start out with an in-depth character creation, where you can choose between different types and classes of humans, elves and dwarves, going into as much or as little detail as you desire when it comes to appearance, and even voice. I plumped for a human noble (I know, I’m boring) with an outstanding handle bar moustache and a war dog called Lionel. By the end of the game, I was so attached to my character that I couldn’t imagine his facial hair or p…

Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery – Weekly Recommendations 17/01 – 22/01

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Every week I give three gaming recommendations (very) loosely tied to something topical. These recommendations span platform, generation and genre and are all games that I have played, enjoyed and highly recommend. As always, comments are very welcome so please do chime in with any recommendations of your own.Check back each Monday for a new set, and click here for past entries.
It is said that imitation is the highest form of flattery, but try telling that to 'Splosion Man developers, Twisted Pixel.
Last week they called-out Capcom and their new App Store game, MaXplosion, citing plagiarism and “complete theft” of their best selling 2009 Xbox Live title, ‘Splosion Man. MaXplosion is accused of resembling ‘Splosion Man in more than just name, featuring the exact same gameplay concepts that made the Xbox Live original such a success.
To make matters worse, Twisted Pixel claim that they initially pitched the game to Capcom, who declined to pick it up.

Capcom’s “new” game aside, it is …

The Diary of a New Dreamcast Owner

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In February 2010 I filled a gaping hole in my video game collection by buying a Sega Dreamcast. I recorded the events in the form of a two part DC diary which I posted on a now defunct version of toomanywires. I am re-posting it here, as one article, for posterity's sake and in the hope that it will shame me into playing more of the DC games that I bought and still haven't got into. I'm so sorry Shenmue.

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That’s right, I now own a Sega Dreamcast, for the first time no less. What follows is a running diary of how that happened as well as my experiencing the games for the first time. It’s just like travelling back to 1999! I have tried to make it more entertaining than it initially sounds. Comments are always extremely welcome.


Wednesday 3rd February

I finally bought a Dreamcast. I was a diehard SEGA fanboy right up to the excruciating final death throws of the Saturn, when I uprooted and began a happy, and continuing, love affair with the PlayStation brand. In Japan, …

Cheer Up Sony – Weekly Recommendations 10/01 – 16/01

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Every week I give three gaming recommendations (very) loosely tied to something topical. These recommendations span platform, generation and genre and are all games that I have played, enjoyed and highly recommend. As always, comments are very welcome so please do chime in with any recommendations of your own.Check back each Monday for a new set, and click here for past entries.
Last week saw a team of dedicated hackers crack the PS3. FailOverflow succeeded in, and then released the details on how to circumvent the PS3’s security system which had remained intact for 4 years, significantly longer than the Xbox 360 and the Wii. This hack allows users to run any code and third-party firmware, enabling PS3 owners to install other OS, which was FailOverflow’s stated aim in response to Sony’s recent firmware which disabled the use of Linux. Of more concern for Sony is that this will inevitably open up the PS3 to piracy.
Sony are resolute that they will fix the hack by way of a new update, tho…

Video Games, The Media and Me

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I’m in the mood for a bit of a moan and in the process I am likely to make a number of sweeping statements about games, gamers, the mainstream media, and the public in general and do not intend on offering any solutions. This is merely an act of catharsis. Already slightly annoyed? I know I certainly am.
I consider myself tolerant and patient, relatively anyway. I have come to accept that common sense is not as prevalent as the phrase would suggest, and have learnt to ignore people and situations accordingly. However, when it comes to the portrayal of video games in the media, be it print, radio, TV, news or advertising, I do tend to get a little wound-up. I can be merrily hurling insults at X Factor contestants on a Saturday evening (I enjoyed that show far more than I’m comfortable with), only to have my viewing displeasure ruined by a Nintendo advert showing three people playing the same DS, or four idiots playing with PS Move, having the kind of "banter" that gives me che…

Turning Over a New Leaf – Weekly Recommendations 03/01 – 09/01

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Every week I give three gaming recommendations (very) loosely tied to something topical. These recommendations span platform, generation and genre and are all games that I have played, enjoyed and highly recommend. As always, comments are very welcome so please do chime in with any recommendations of your own.Check back each Monday for a new set, and click here for past entries.
Aside from eating and drinking too much, and of course watching Jools Holland on TV, New Years is good for making a change and turning over a new leaf. So in the spirit of the season here are three games that made a resolution to break away from the established formula of their respective franchises, striking out and succeeding with something a bit different.

1. Red Faction Guerilla – PS3, Xbox360 and PC (2009)
Red Faction Guerilla is a third person shooter set on a “sandbox” Mars, a departure from the series’ previous two installments which were FPSs. It continues the narrative and themes of the series and retai…