Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gamers Bill of Rights

Edge Online is running an article about a Gamers Bill of Rights created by Stardock and Gas Powered Games. The article says that it's a PC Gamers Bill of Rights, but with this gen of consoles featuring online play and updates a lot of these apply to every gamer.

We the Gamers of the world, in order to ensure a more enjoyable experience, establish equality between players and publishers, and promote the general welfare of our industry hereby call for the following:

1. Gamers shall have the right to return games that don't work with their computers for a full refund.
2. Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.
3. Gamers shall have the right to expect meaningful updates after a game's release.
4. Gamers shall have the right to demand that download managers and updaters not force themselves to run or be forced to load in order to play a game.
5. Gamers shall have the right to expect that the minimum requirements for a game will mean that the game will adequately play on that computer.
6. Gamers shall have the right to expect that games won't install hidden drivers or other potentially harmful software without their express consent.
7. Gamers shall have the right to re-download the latest versions of the games they own at any time.
8. Gamers shall have the right to not be treated as potential criminals by developers or publishers.
9. Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the Internet every time they wish to play.
10. Gamers shall have the right that games which are installed to the hard drive shall not require a CD/DVD to remain in the drive to play.

I have to say that I'm impressed by how in-touch Stardock is with most gamers and how progressive this Bill of Rights is. The thing I like is that it is very customer centric with rights such as 2 and 8. With so many games coming out almost finished not only pisses of consumers, but also hurts the game developers in the long run.

Lets face it, gamers are a different type of consumer and it is a different type of industry. If a developer treats it's customers right, then those customers turn into fans and those fans will support that developer. The potential goes beyond the game itself and stretches into gaming merchandise, developer merchandise, and just the general hype that fans can bring, which is free advertising for the developers next project.

Sure not every game can be a Mario, Halo, or Metal Gear, but developers can still snag a smaller level of fans/customers and the best way to do that is by starting with the Gamers Bill of Rights. The next move will be to have a Gamers Bill of Rights for the console. Number one shall be that we have the right to a console that doesn't red ring.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Download Red Alert for Free

On Sunday, EA will allow gamers to download the original Red Alert for the PC for free from the official site in celebration of the upcoming Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3. Red Alert's over ten years old but a good RTS game nonetheless.

It's not really clear if this is a one day only giveaway or if August 31st is just the first day you can download. EA is also letting gamers download Red Alert 2 if you pre-order Red Alert 3.

Sunday is the 13th anniversary of Command & Conquer.

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Left 4 Dead Online Details

Valve just announced that their upcoming zombie survival thriller Left 4 Dead will be on dedicated servers for anyone who plays online no matter the platform. They also announced that the Xbox 360 version would include two person splitscreen mode for online play and the splitscreen can be horizontal or vertical - your choice!

Dedicated servers are always a great idea since it means less lag and no host advantage. All games should implement dedicated servers.

And I am also always a fan of splitscreen co-op. Too many games have moved away from this feature.

Overall, I was already extremely excited for this game, but this makes it look that much better. Keep it up, Valve!

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Saturday, August 23, 2008


The current rumor on the upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV downloadable content is that it will be released on Xbox Live in October or November and cost 1600 Microsoft Points($20).

What exactly the DLC will entail has never actually been confirmed, but most believe it will be very big like an expansion.

The rumored release time seems about right to me because that's when Saint's Row 2 will be coming out, and everyone knows there's no love lost between the games.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Comic: God of War?

Obviously this comic is a little different than my normal ones. My tablet pen ran out of batteries while I was working so I found some screenshots that were similar to what I was thinking and used them. I'll try to finish the drawn version when I get some AAA batteries. I wouldn't want to deprive you of art like this:

Anyway, I've been playing Too Human since its release Wednesday. The first mission is pretty easy and you kick some ass. After that, I tend to die... A lot! And it seems weird since I'm supposedly a god. It's also annoying because you can't skip the little scene of the Valkyrie coming to get you or speed it up. It's a nice visual, but after you've seen it 20 times, it gets old.

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Guitar Hero Dropout

Sorry for the lack of updates lately, but with work and this current tropical storm/hurricane Fay going through the area, I've been kinda busy. This news item hit the presses over the weekend, and I had to post about it. A 16-year-old in Raleigh, NC(Blake Peebles) has convinced his parents to let him drop out of high school so he can concentrate on Guitar Hero.

I believe this is where the phrase "WTF?!?" was originally invented to go. Why would his parents allow such a thing? They say they were sick of his complaining. He's 16! He's a teenager! He will complain, no matter what!

Fortunately, it's not a simple dropout situation. He is basically being home schooled by a tutor so he's not just sitting there playing Guitar Hero non-stop with no learning. But what is this mythical career in Guitar Hero that he believes he will pursue? In the news report, there are vague talks about tournaments and competitions, but most of their information about how much professional gamers can make are from leagues like Major League Gaming which competes in first person and third person shooters.

So far, Peebles has made about $1,000 in his Guitar Hero career. That's not $1,000 cash, though. Much of it is in the form of prizes like free meals from Chik-Fil-A and other some material goods.

This just seems like a terrible parenting decision. Good luck, Blake Peebles.... you'll need it.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bad Company Conquest Tomorrow

Remember when DICE and EA released Battlefield: Bad Company and promised they would eventually release other multiplayer modes other than Gold Rush? Well, that day is tomorrow when Conquest goes live on Xbox Live.

Conquest is a territories type multiplayer game where players capture and control flags. You can spawn from any flag your team controls.

As promised from the beginning, Conquest will be free.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fallout 3, Now With Over 500 Endings...

That's the word from a recent interview with Bethesda's Peter Hines. There are over 500 different variations at the end of the game.

Now, sadly most of my so-called "gamer" friends have never played Fallout or Fallout 2 so they might not understand what this means. Does this mean there are over 500 individual endings? No. There are variations.

See, in Fallout and Fallout 2, at the end of the main quest, they do a little ending. In this ending, they tell you what happens to the various factions, groups and settlements in the game. Some of them are destroyed, some prosper. It all all depends on how your character interacted within that group or if you encountered them at all. In the first two, I believe there could have been as many as four endings for each faction(and some only had two) and I wouldn't say there were more than ten factions(the Brotherhood, Enclave, various towns, etc.) so 500 is still an impressive number.

I'm also enjoying all the Fallout 3 information that is pouring out. Bethesda actually did their reporter previews right. They let them play the game for 30 minutes. They don't force them to go on any particular quests or anything. Most of the articles I read the reporters simply head out into the wastelands and start exploring. Since it's a totally open world, you get a lot of different things from the different reporters. Good job, Bethesda! I've been looking forward to this game for a long time.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Play Red Faction: Guerilla Beta... for a Price

THQ is currently holding a Red Faction: Guerilla beta for the Xbox 360. However, there is a catch. You must be a Gold Xbox Live member and a member of FilePlanet or IGN Insider.

I went to FilePlanet and activated a month's membership for $6.95. I was able to get an activation key and download the beta with no problem after filling out the questionaire. But be warned that there are supposed to be a limited amount of slots in the beta.

Red Faction: Guerilla is being developed by Volition and takes place on Mars 50 years after the first Red Faction. There are two factions, the re-established Red Faction and the oppressive Earth Defense Force. The single player campaign will have the player helping the Red Faction fight against the EDF. The game will be released for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in fiscal 2009.

The beta is around 640 MB in size and is only limited Multiplayer of the game.

There is no tutorial for the beta so in the beginning, you'll have to deal with some trial and error and ask your teammates any questions.

The most common game is usually a type of territories. There are three "territories" that your team can control. There is a machine on each of these territories when a team has control of it. You must destroy any enemy machines there and then build your own. You get a point every second or two per machine(maximum one per territory). The first team to 400 points wins.

Your starting equipment varies from game to game, but I think you always start with at least an assault rifle, a sledgehammer and a repair gun thing. There are also modules around that give you a backpack which gives you special abilities.

The Concussion power knocks enemies off their feet(good to then go in and smash their face with your sledgehammer as they're getting up). The Rhino power lets you tear through barriers(and enemies). The Fleetfoot power lets you run really fast. The Firepower power allows you to increase your damage.

Every once in a while in the beta you play a simple team deathmatch, but so far I've only seen one map.

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Bungie Update Makes Individual Exp Per Playlist

So Bungie announced that their new update to the Halo 3 Matchmaking Playlist will include individual experience points and ranks per Playlist. So players will now see that some players are Generals in Lone Wolfs, but a Sgt in Team Slayer Social.

I think this is cool. I've noticed that some Generals and Brigadiers aren't that good in Big Team Social. This should give players a better understanding of how experienced a player is in certain game types rather than the broad ranking and experience system that is currently in place.

If Shane and I join up in Rocket Race, then we'll be Generals in no time. For those that don't know, we are pretty good at Rocket Race.

Also there will be some Banhammer updates since people are abusing the file share system. It's amazing how people figured out to upload nudy pictures to their Halo file share for others to enjoy.

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Burnout Paradise City Update Crashes Onto Xbox Live Monday

The newest Burnout Paradise City update, named Cagney, will be available for gamers on Xbox Live August 4th for free. Criterion continues to add more and more to this game with even more promised on the way. This update will add three new freeburn game modes(Road Rage, Stunt Run and Marked Man), 70 new challenges, two new cars and five new liveries as well as some changes to the game itself.

Most of the game changes affect the multiplayer aspect of the game only, but there are some changes to the single player game as well. One of the changes("Boost chaining no longer possible by drifting in open areas") means that getting the Boosting Around the World(Got a 20x Boost Chain) achievement will be a lot harder!

Criterion's next update for the game will be in September. And the next update should introduce motorcycles to the game!

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Wii Sports Not As Good For You as Real Sports

File this one under "well, duh," but a new study has determined how many calories the various games in Wii Sports burn compared to actually playing the real sport. Shockingly, playing the actual sport burns more calories than the virtual one.

Here are the calorie burning per minute breakdowns from the study. The first number is the Wii Sports number, the second is the real sport number.

Baseball - 4.5/7.3

Bowling - 3.6/7.2

Boxing - 3.0/10.2

Golf - 0.8/3.9

Tennis - 2.8/8.1

So according to the study, baseball burns the most calories. Of course, I think the study is misleading since they brake it down as calories burned per minute. Some of these games don't have activity that lasts even a minute straight. Therefore, while bowling seems to burn calories the second fastest, it doesn't pan out since bowling doesn't have constant activity.

Also, most of the time the real sport involves holding a heavier object - be it a bowling ball, tennis racket or baseball bat. So that's going to help burn more calories.

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XYBA Podcast Ep 20

XYBA Podcast Crew is Andy, Eric, Josh, and Marco. This is Marco's final episode. We talk about some E3 stuff and of course the usual topics. Guitrollers FTW!

0:00 - Opening with Andy, Eric, Josh, and Marco
0:55 - Games We're Playing :|: Civilization DS and 360, Wii Fit, Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law, Metal Gear Solid 4, and Rockband
19:05 - Gaming News :|: E3 stuff
36:07 - Rountable Discussion :|: New XBOX 360 Upcoming Updates
42:19 - Games We're Looking Forward to :|: Prototype, APB, Saints Row II, Infamous, Gears of War II, Fallout 3, Little Big Planet, Left 4 Dead, Rockband 2, Resistance 2, and Ghostbusters
1:01:05 - Rants :|: Corrupted files on Xbox harddrive
1:03:18 - Shoutouts :|: Good luck Marco

Download XYBA Podcast Ep 20

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Xbox 360 Repairs: Day Twelve

My replacement Xbox 360 arrived from the Repair Center today around 1 pm. They had put it in a real box instead of the fake box I had created to send it off. I transferred over all of my licenses and everything seems to work fine.

I was glad to see that the 360 Arcade they sent to replace the one I sent in still had an HDMI output. It seems to make a slight hum that my old one didn't, but it's not really that noticeable.

And while transferring over my licenses, I figured out that I never had from my first one to my second so the licenses from both are now transferred onto my replacement. I don't think it makes that big of a difference since I was always using the same harddrive so everything was there anyway, but it's good if you need to re-download something.

Now it's time for some gaming!

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August Game Releases

It's the end of the summer and more importantly, my birthday. What wonderful games do developers have for me to celebrate the fact that I survived another year? And in what I hope becomes a trend, Microsoft actually announced some of their Xbox Live Arcade games that would be released in August so I included those.

DS Titles

Professor BrainiumAugust 5
• The Cheetah Girls: Passport to Stardom
• GRiD
• Little League World Series
• Professor Brainium
• Puzzler Collection
• Quick Yoga Training
• Rock Blast

August 12
• Bangai O Spirits
• Bratz Ponyz 2
• Imagine: Teacher
• Line Rider 2 Unbound
• Madden NFL 09
• N+

August 19
• Commando Steel Disaster

August 25
• MLB Power Pros 2008

August 26
• Digimon World Championship
• Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli
• From the Abyss
• Harvest Moon: Island of Happiness
• My Chinese Coach
• Picto Image
• The Sims 2 Apartment Pets

PC Titles

August 1
• Legend: Hand of God

August 5
• Murder in the Abbey
• Wildlife Zoo Deluxe

August 11
• Silent Hunter 4 Gold

August 12
• Dracula 3: Path of the Dragon
• Line Rider 2 Unbound
• Sinking Island
• Space Siege

August 18
• Adventure Anthology

Two WorldsAugust 19
• Two Worlds Epic Edition

August 26
• FlatOut: Head On
• The Sims 2 Apartment Life

August 29
• Prison Tycoon 4: SuperMax

Mercenaries 2August 31
• Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

PS2 Titles

August 5
• B-Boy
• Hannah Montana: Spotlight World Tour

August 12
• Madden NFL 09

August 26
• Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli
• Tiger Woods 09

August 31
• Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

PS3 Titles

August 5
• Monster Madness: Grave Danger

Madden NFL 09August 12
• Madden NFL 09

August 26
• Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice
• Ferrari Challenge
• Tiger Woods 09
• Vampire Rain: Altered Species

August 31
• Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

PSP Titles

August 12
• Madden NFL 09
• N+

August 26
• B-Boy
• Tiger Woods 09

Wii Titles

August 5
• Little League World Series

August 12
• Line Rider 2 Unbound
• Madden NFL 09

August 19
• Rebel Raiders

Mario Super SluggersAugust 25
• Mario Super Sluggers

August 26
• Ferrari Challenge
• Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility
• Kidz Sports: Crazy Golf
• Tiger Woods 09

Xbox 360 Titles

August 6
• Braid (XBLA)

August 12
• Madden NFL 09

August 13
• Bionic Commando: Rearmed (XBLA)
• Fable 2 Pub Games (XBLA)

Too HumanAugust 19
• Too Human
• Smash Court Tennis 3

August 20
• Galaga Legions (XBLA)

August 26
• Tales of Vesperia
• Tiger Woods 09

August 27
• Castle Crashers (XBLA)

August 31
• Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

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