Monthly Archives: August 2009

The Games of Fall 09 (on GamesRadar)

While most folks mourn the end of summer, gamers are different. They creep around in their dark rooms all summer staring at brightly lit computers yelling things like, “Eat it, motherf*(*&^%!!!” And “Hey mom???!!! Where’s my motherf*(*&^%!!! milk!!!!” Gamer rejoice when summer is over.Birthday_NOHUD--article_image

The reason is simple. It’s a well known fact that they dread human contact and sunlight. (It’s true! Check Wikipedia.com). But there is a second, less significant reason. It’s more of a footnote about a guy born in a barn…

The end of summer means the beginning of the game season. Publishers jam the fall with games to challenge the true worth of your credit card–a double dog dare in 2009. And contrary to what you might have heard about a handful of games shifting into 2010 (some of which is true), this fall is still bursting at the seams with an enormous lineup of top-notch games. Here are the noteworthy games for this fall.

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Activision Ghetto-izes Guitar Hero Van Halen

In what appears to be a badly hidden secret, rather than a big six-pack celebration like it should be, Activision is given Guitar Hero: Van Halen the super ghetto treatment.

vanhalenboxart

Starting with its nearly hidden appearance at E3 2009, stashed away in a dark corner of Sony’s booth, and then following up with this super budget like garage sale site, Activision appears embarrassed by its own game. It’s true that this is like Guitar Hero number 47, and the company has exploited and spammed the world with an over-abundance of 31 flavors of the same game, three to four times a year, in fact. But they should have hidden Aerosmith, not this one.

Is Van Halen really that embarrassing? Wasn’t it one of the more popular bands in the ’80s? And isn’t it named after one of the greatest virtuoso guitar players in the world–Eddie Van Halen, who is in the band? And, um, aren’t they touring again? The fact that Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony are excluded from the game doesn’t bother me, but it’s sort of rude, don’t you think? Or it that just Eddie being his old self again?

Anyway, here is the song list and addition bands in the game.

Van Halen Songs
“Ain’t Talkin Bout Love”
“And The Cradle Will Rock”
“Atomic Punk”
“Beautiful Girls”
“Cathedral” (solo)
“Dance The Night Away”
“Eruption” (solo)
“Everybody Wants Some”
“Feel Your Love Tonight”
“Hang ‘Em High”
“Hear About It Later”
“Hot For Teacher”
“Ice Cream Man”
“I’m The One”
“Jamie’s Cryin”
“Jump”
“Little Guitars”
“Loss Of Control”
“Mean Street”
“Panama”
“Pretty Woman”
“Romeo Delight”
“Running With The Devil”
“So This Is Love”
“Somebody Get Me A Doctor”
“Spanish Fly” (solo)
“Unchained”
“You Really Got Me”

Other In-Game Tracks
Alter Bridge – “Come To Life”
Billy Idol – “White Wedding”
blink-182 – “First Date”
Deep Purple – “Space Truckin”
Foo Fighters – “Best Of You”
Foreigner – “Double Vision”
Fountains of Wayne – “Stacy’s Mom”
Jimmy Eat World – “Pain”
Judas Priest – “Painkiller”
Killswitch Engage – “The End Of Heartache”
Lenny Kravitz – “Rock And Roll Is Dead”
Queen – “I Want It All”
Queens of the Stone Age – “Sick, Sick, Sick”
Tenacious D – “Master Exploder”
The Clash – “Safe European Home”
The Offspring – “Pretty Fly For A White Guy”
Third Eye Blind – “Semi-Charmed Life”
Weezer – “Dope Nose”
Yellowcard – “The Takedown”

The game ships December 22, 2009 on PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii.

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How Airtight Games started a console game studio with just $24,000

DarkVoid_image1In 2004, Microsoft canceled a sequel to its Crimson Skies game, prompting the game’s executive producer, Jim Deal, to leave the company to create a startup.

He and his team of four other ex-Microsoft game people had $24,000 of their own money and an idea to create an action-adventure game where you could fly. But that wasn’t nearly enough to launch a new console game, which is a near impossible thing for a startup to do these days.

Read the full story on VentureBeat.com.

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GameStop: Play Halo 3: ODST Firefight Early

Seen enough Halo 3:  ODST previews and impressions? Ready to play? Your time has come, rookie.

In conjunction with Microsoft and GameStop, Bungie is fueling its custom Halo 3: ODST Transport and is scheduled for a  22-stop, nationwide roadtrip to offer gamers a chance for hands-on sessions of Halo 3: ODST’s new Firefight mode.

Visit GameStop in the day to play Firefight at night.

Visit GameStop in the day to play Firefight at night.

Starting at 12 pm, Saturday, August 22 at the GameStop in Redmond Tiwn Center, Seattle, WA, Major Nelson and his Xbox Live crew will head up competitions that start this Saturday in the Pacific Northwest and end at the Sunset Plaza in North Babylon, New York on September 19.

For those folks who live in the Bay Area, the “Bungie-Mobile” will stop at Union Landing, Union City, CA on Tuesday, August 25, and Wednesday, August 26, at the Center at Slatten Ranch, in Antioch, CA.

Check Major Nelson’s blog for the full schedule.

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Gamescom 09: Rock Band Unveils Sgt. Pepper’s and Rubber Soul DLC (All Tracks Revealed)

From Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, Harmonix CEO and co-founder Alex Rigopulos today confirmed that The Beatles: Rock Band will not only see the full Abbey Road album become available via DLC on October 10, 2009, but following it will be the full albums Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in November and Rubber Soul in December. Beatles fans, rejoice!

Hey, wait, that's not Abbey Road!

Hey wait, that's not Abbey Road!

To sweeten the announcement, Rigopulos said that tracks from Queen, Nirvana, Tom Petty, Elton John, Iggy Pop, The White Stripes, Pantera, Talking Heads, Korn, The Raconteurs and other artists will be available in a suite of options for Rock Band owners.

Listed below are the details for the three DLC Beatles albums.

Abbey Road (1969); Release Date: October 20, 2009; Cost: $16.98 (or 1360 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360) for album; $1.99 (or 160 Microsoft Points for Xbox 360) for individual tracks;

  • “Come Together”
  • “Something”
  • “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”
  • “Oh! Darling”
  • “Octopus’s Garden”
  • “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”
  • “Here Comes The Sun”
  • “Because”
  • “You Never Give Me Your Money”
  • “Sun King”
  • “Mean Mr. Mustard”
  • “Polythene Pam”
  • “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”
  • “Golden Slumbers”
  • “Carry That Weight”
  • “The End”
  • “Her Majesty”

Buyers of the full Abbey Road album will have the option to play the famous 16-minute B-side medley as a single continuous track, including “You Never Give Me Your Money,” “Sun King,” “Mean Mr. Mustard,” “Polythene Pam,” “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight” and “The End.”

Party on, Paul!

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967); Release Date: November 2009

  • “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
  • “With A Little Help From My Friends”
  • “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”
  • “Getting Better”
  • “Fixing A Hole”
  • “She’s Leaving Home”
  • “Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite”
  • “Within You Without You
  • “When I’m Sixty Four”
  • “Lovely Rita”
  • “Good Morning Good Morning”
  • “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)”
  • “A Day In The Life”

One more drum solo, Ringo!

Rubber Soul (1965); Release Date: December 2009

  • “Drive My Car”
  • “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”
  • “You Won’t See Me”
  • “Nowhere Man”
  • “Think For Yourself”
  • “The Word”
  • “Michelle”
  • “What Goes On”
  • “Girl”
  • “I’m Looking Through You”
  • “In My Life”
  • “Wait”
  • “If I Needed Someone”
  • “Run For Your Life”

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GamesCom 09: Molyneux Unveils Kingdom in Fable IIm

Cologne, Germany holds the annual European show, GamesCom, and this year the surprises are bigger and better than in years past. For one, Sony announced a $100 price cut for PS3 along with its new PS3 slim model. Second, Lionhead Creative Director Peter Molyneux revealed his studio is in the works not only with Milo and Kate of Project Natal E3 fame, but with Fable III. (Check the video here.)

It's good to be the king...

It's good to be the king...

Unlike a most designers trained by PR folks to hold back information and stick with the cue cards, Molyneux dives right into the details of his new game, due exlcusively on Xbox 360 in 2010. Fable III is connected to Fable II in that the game will analyze your indescretions and those will play a part of how you are perceived in Fable III.

The third in Molyneux’s action-RPG series, Fable III puts you in the shoes of a son or daughter of your character from Fable II. Only now yuo are positioned to inherit the role of king of Albion, and the world has changed dramatically. It’s industrialized, there is more crime, and you are a politician who must figure out how to make things work, while essentially trying to please everyone.

“We’ve spent a lot of time at Lionhead thinking about how we can innovate the gameplay and progress the world of the Fable games for its third chapter, and we’re confident that players won’t second-guess what we have planned for Fable III,” said Molyneux. “Though I can’t give too much away right now, players should expect to have to make much tougher choices with far wider consequences than ever before in Albion—and with many more interactive adventure elements.”

Good or bad? You will decide your kingdom's fate by passing judgment or investigating crimes.

Good or bad? You will decide your kingdom's fate by passing judgment or investigating crimes.

Molyneux introduced two new mechanics for next year’s Fable III: Judgments and Touch. When you are king, you’ll see numerous people come before you who have committed crimes. Should you punish them outright or investigate their story? These judgment situations serve as quests. You can summarily sentence the person, setting an example for the rest of the kingdom, or you can investigate. Molyneux said, for example, a young girl was caught stealing. If you investigate, you might find that she was trying to feed her starving family.

The other mechanic, Touch, enables players to turn a simple handshake into a hug or a kiss, or something more, according to Molyneux, who sheepishly teased the audience. Another example he gave of Touch was of you saving a child who was stuck in a burning house. In Fable II, you would just prress a butto and save the child. In Fable III, you would actually go in and walk out with the child, where everyone could see you. “I’m going to tease you with how we’re doing this, and it’s one sliver of what we’re doing with Fable III.” Could he possibly be talking about Project Natal? Hm…when was Molyneux ever subtle?

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Brutal Legend Demo Slated for September

Electronic Arts today announced it will offer a free demo download of Brutal Legend on PSN and XBLA this September. Tim Schafer’s outrageous game is slated for October 13 in North America and October 16 in Europe.

If you value all that is right in this unholy world, you will download the metal goodness.

brutallegend_themouthofmadness_view

“We just couldn’t wait,” said Schafer, president of Double Fine Productions. “Villagers have surrounded our offices with torches, demanding the game. So we’re releasing a demo and hope that this taste of metal will keep the mob at bay until Brutal Legend comes out this Rocktober.”

For more on the Brutal Legend demo, go to brutallegend.com/demo.

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