Friday - December 5, 2008
Three weeks after buying the new expansion pack for WoW, Wrath of the Lich King, I've hit level 80 with Norlina. I still have a ton of content to see, though.
So far, I think this expansion pack is far better than The Burning Crusade. The starting zone for the new Death Knight "Hero" class is very impressive, but I just wish it lasted a little longer. As part of that experience, you see a new technology Blizzard calls phasing. Basically, as you progress through the story line the world changes around you. The game world may look differently to other players depending on where they sit in the story. You get to see it quite a few times in Northrend too, and it's done impressively each time.
The other major improvement in this expansion, is the fact you are frequently engaged into the main lore of the game. You see the Lich King and various other major figures very early in your journey. In the previous expansion, I never interacted with Illidan because he was hanging out in the hardest dungeon of the game at the time. I think that helps immerse you in the story.
Finally, the graphics have made a pretty big jump in quality. Some of the new character models are very advanced, along with some very impressive dynamic shadows and lighting. I actually did a little upgrading to my PC, and still can't run @ the highest settings across the board. I'll post some screenshots soon.
Overall, I give it a 9/10.
Posted by jcraven at 4:39 PM
Thursday - August 14, 2008
This year DirecTV is offering a PPV package for BlizzCon. Dorks everywhere rejoice. Details here.
DIRECTV Package Includes:
- Over 16 hours of crystal-clear high-definition coverage
- Exclusive interviews and commentary
- Main stage presentations including opening ceremony
- Select panels featuring Blizzard Entertainment developers
- Tournament coverage and team highlights
- BlizzCon 2008 World of Warcraft in-game polar bear mount with mounted, flag-waving murloc
Posted by jcraven at 10:30 AM
Wednesday - July 16, 2008
On Monday, Microsoft announced all kinds of goodies for the 360. Xboxic has a good rundown here.
- Play from Hard Drive (great if you're annoyed by the loud DVD drive)
- Netflix streaming
- Gears 2 release date set as November 7
I'm not 100% sold on the new interface. It seems like a cross between a PS3 and Wii. I guess we'll just have to see in a couple months when it's released. They also announced a price cut for the 20GB, down to $299. Overall, I think that was a pretty impressive press conference.
Posted by jcraven at 12:06 PM
Monday - July 7, 2008
Xbox 360 License Transfer tool
It's about time. Now you can easily transfer purchased items from one console to another. You can check it out here. Previously, you had to be logged into Xbox Live with your Gamertag to use the downloaded content on a new box. This was a problem if you wanted to play on a family member's Gamertag or if your internet was down. I'm glad to hear MS is listening to customers, even if it did take a while to implement.
I don't know if it's correct, but my account shows 428 Game Licenses and 26 Video Licenses available for move. Wow, I guess I've downloaded a lot of demos.
Posted by jcraven at 12:21 PM
Tuesday - June 3, 2008
Work is for people who can't play video games.
Over the weekend, we watched The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters on G4. It's a David vs. Goliath story focused around competitive Classic Arcade games. At first, I didn't know if Lara would like it, but by the end she was yelling at the TV in support of the underdog Steve Wiebe. Billy Mitchell makes an excellent villain, and the whole story is very fascinating. I am a fan of documentaries, but I think anybody would enjoy this one. Go rent it, or watch the repeat airings on G4 on Friday and Saturday.
Here's the trailer for anybody that's curious.
Posted by jcraven at 5:00 PM
Thursday - April 17, 2008
Soul Calibur goodness
Namco announced Soul Calibur IV will ship on July 29th. I'll definitely pick it up, since I've always enjoyed the series. I won't hold anything against them for making SC3 a PS2 exclusive.
They also announced the original Soulcalibur will be avaialble from the Xbox Live Arcade (sorry no PSN release). They didn't provide a release date, but I assume it will be prior to July 29th. You can find the press release here.
Finally, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out the most recent trailer here and the one from last Fall here. I'm not thrilled about the Star Wars guest characters, but I guess I'll overlook that.
Posted by jcraven at 2:15 PM
Tuesday - April 1, 2008
Free Rock Band DLC today
I'm hoping this isn't an April Fool's joke, but Still Alive is supposedly available for free today. I'll have to check it out when I get home. Details here.
Posted by jcraven at 11:11 AM
Tuesday - March 25, 2008
Halo 3 Heroic Map pack now free, and WoW 2.4 patch today
Today, the Halo 3 Heroic Map pack is now available for free.
Also today the 2.4 patch for WoW went live, named "Fury of the Sunwell". The official patch notes can be found here, once Blizzard's servers come up from maintenance.
Posted by jcraven at 2:10 PM
Tuesday - March 11, 2008
March Gaming update
I know, I've been slack about updating lately. Today, I'll give an update of games I've been playing over the past couple months.
- World of Warcraft - nothing new here.
- The Orange Box - I haven't had a chance to try out the Half-Life games, and Team Fortress 2 didn't impress me. But there's a big standout in the collection. Portal is absolutely great. It's easily the best game I've played in the last year, and possibly my favorite game of all time. I know, it sounds like I'm exaggerating, but it really is good. It has a 90 rating on metacritic (9.6 user rating). If you don't have a next gen console, you can even pick up the standalone version on the PC from Steam for less than $20. Go get it now.
- Rock Band - This is another great game. All the instruments are fun to play, although the drums seem to be the most difficult for the rhythmically challenged like myself. Lara and I play at least once a week, but 4-player is even better. I've had to have the guitar replaced once, but the return process was fairly easy.
- Gears of War - I've had this game since the 360 launch, and just now got around to finishing the single player campaign. Even on the 'Normal' difficultly, this game is very tough. I even called in Scott to help with the final boss. The game has a very large following, but I probably won't play it again now that I've finished the story. I'll probably check out Gears 2 when it is released later this year.
- The Simpsons Game - This is really a game for fans of the series. It includes all of the original voice actors, and each mission plays like an episode. The comedy is quite good, but the gameplay is nothing special. Also, there's not a lot of replay value, but if you're a fan you should still give it a shot.
- Project Gotham Racing 4 - I bought this one for cheap at Best Buy. It really should be called PGR 3.5, since there's not much difference from PGR3. It adds weather effects, and motorcycles, but overall it's more of the same. If you liked the previous versions, it might be worth picking up.
- Bioshock - I know, everybody loves this one, but I wasn't overly impressed. Don't get me wrong, it's fun, but it didn't hold my attention for very long.
I think that's it for now......
Posted by jcraven at 11:26 AM
Tuesday - December 11, 2007
Just in time for the Holidays......
Last week Microsoft released their Fall Dashboard update. Full details here. There are several new features, but the most important one for me is video support for DivX and XviD. I tried out an XviD file on a USB flash disk and it worked great. I would assume streaming it would yield similar results. Another interesting feature is the ability to download Xbox Original games directly to the hard drive. Right now they only have a handful of games, but the concept is cool if you never had an Xbox. Pricing is 1,200 points ($15).
Also, today Bungie released the new Heroic Map pack. The price is 800 points ($10), but will be free in 6 months or so. I'm impatient, so I'll prob drop the cash on it. Full FAQ here. Halo 3 sales have topped 5 million, so I'm sure this will give Microsoft a nice revenue boost regardless.
Posted by jcraven at 2:03 PM
Tuesday - November 6, 2007
Personalize your Xbox Live GamerTag
Here's a cool little utility if you're having trouble finding a good icon for your GamerTag. The GamerPic Scout lets you search through all the current GamerPics available on Xbox Live. You can even sort them based on most used or least used. There are a couple dozen that nobody in the world uses. If you want to be unique, or to figure out where a particular GamerPic came from, check it out. I even found an Appalachian one that I didn't know existed here.
Posted by jcraven at 2:12 PM
Ring of Fire
In honor of his trouble, here's the Ring of Fire parody.
Posted by jcraven at 10:17 AM
Wednesday - October 31, 2007
Halo 3 + zombies = win
Today, until 3AM PDT, there is a special multiplayer gametype in Halo3. Bungie is calling it "Infection" and it's humans vs zombies. Once killed by a zombie, you become a zombie. Awesome. I'll definitely be checking it out this afternoon..... More info on Bungie.net
Posted by jcraven at 2:44 PM
Tuesday - October 23, 2007
Over the weekend, with Scott's help, I finished up the campaign/story mode of Halo 3. Overall I think the story was pretty good, but I'm still a little undecided on the ending. I won't post any spoilers though, so I'll just leave it alone.
I also started playing some online matches, and you can check out my Bungie.net profile here. You'll see I even won a couple games, but here's an example. You can share screenshots and movie clips with fellow players, which is a nice little bonus. Overall I think the game has definitely lived up to the hype.
Posted by jcraven at 3:05 PM
Monday - October 1, 2007
Where can I get one of these?
Posted by jcraven at 10:56 AM
Wednesday - September 26, 2007
Halo 3 first impressions
After completing the first two levels, here's my initial thoughts.
1. It's very, very pretty.
2. The AI is much more intelligent, and can be quite tough even on Normal mode.
3. The Gravity Hammer is awesome, by far my favorite weapon so far.
The only problem I ran into, was that there was an 360 Dashboard update released a couple weeks ago, that I hadn't logged in to download. It kept trying to update itself last night, but due to server side issues it kept failing. This prevented me from any online play in Halo 3 or any other game. This morning I logged in just long enough to get the update, and it installed fine. Now I'm ready for some online play.
Posted by jcraven at 11:00 AM
Tuesday - September 25, 2007
Finish the Fight
Unless you're living under a rock, you already know that Halo 3 is being released today. I'll be picking up my pre-order around lunchtime. I'll post a review as soon as I get through it.
Posted by jcraven at 8:49 AM
Tuesday - August 21, 2007
Games update - August
This month I've been playing a handful of games (mostly thanks to Scott).
First on the list is The Darkness. I just finished up the Single Player campaign, and I thought it was great. The story and voice acting are the highlights of this game. Mike Patton, former lead singer of Faith No More, voices the evil force known as The Darkness. The other characters are well done too. The game is creepy enough to be interesting, without being too over the top. Now, everything isn't perfect in the game. Online play isn't great, and you spend a little too much time shooting out lights to feed your dark energy. Overall though, I'd definitely recommend it.
The second game is Dead Rising. I haven't gotten very far in the game, but so far, I'm not loving it. Even though I really enjoy zombies, there's just too many game flaws in this one. One glaring problem is firearm targeting. It's one of the worst I've seen in a long time. The melee weapons are better, but it can still be hard sometimes to hit the target. The second problem is the abundance of loading screens. Every section of the mall requires a load, along with any of the story scenes. Considering other games with much larger maps, such as Crackdown, have zero load screens, this seems like bad design. Finally, I dislike the save game system. Although I do think it's clever that you have to find a bathroom to save the game, having to click through 3 or 4 menus to complete the save, coupled with the aforementioned loading screens is very annoying. I haven't given up on it yet, but it's trying my patience.
Finally, I've been playing Hexic 2 from XBLA. If you enjoyed the original Hexic, you have to pick this one up. The single player modes from the first game all make a return, but the real gem here is the Battle Mode that you can play either locally or over Xbox Live. For $10 (800 pts) you really can't go wrong with this one if you enjoy puzzle games.
Oh yeah, and my GamerScore broke 6000.....
Posted by jcraven at 2:10 PM
Tuesday - August 7, 2007
Xbox 360 stuff
Microsoft announced price cuts on all three versions of the 360. Press release here. Go buy one now. :)
If you already have a 360, a small dashboard update came out today to add support for the wireless Guitar controllers. Major Nelson has the details.
Posted by jcraven at 11:31 AM
Sunday - August 5, 2007
Wrath of the Lich King
This weekend, at Blizzcon, Blizzard announced the next WoW expansion pack. This time players will fight against Arthas in The Wrath of the Lich King. There isn't a lot of details out there about the expansion, but they are raising the level cap and introducing a new 'Hero class' called Death Knight. The trailer looks decent, but doesn't have me as excited as the previous expansion. There's no release date yet, but we'll see if it's worth my time and money to reactivate my account when it hits.
Posted by jcraven at 5:02 PM
Sunday - July 29, 2007
Circuit City sucks
So about 9 months ago, I was pretty excited since they built a Circuit City within a mile of my house. Well I guess I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up. I've been to the store 3 times now, and walked away empty handed each time. The 3 strikes were:
1) I needed a part for my DirecTV satellite dish. After I didn't see it on the shelf, I asked a sales guy who had no idea what I was asking about. He just looked at me like a lost puppy dog.
2) I check for inventory of either the 120GB hard drive for the 360, or the 360 elite on launch day. Nada on both accounts. I head to Best Buy and pick up the drive.
3) Today, I wake up and I'm first in the door for this Sunday deal. They have 1 sitting on the shelf. I decide against getting the expensive 4000 pt card, and getting the 1600 card free. I then head to the CC that's 10 minutes away, and of course they don't have any either. Again, I walk away empty handed. (BTW, the sales associate recommended the nearby EB Games or Target if I wanted the cards..... lovely)
No wonder these guys are bleeding money, (their stock is down more than 50% over the past year). I could probably get over number 1 and 2 since they're a relatively small store. But, if you're going to advertise a special in your mailer, and include a nice little picture, you better have more than 1 in stock. Idiots.
Posted by jcraven at 1:21 PM
Friday - July 27, 2007
Games I'm playing now
So after I read reviews from Tim and Jake, I decided to pay my $10 for Bomberman Live on XBLA. I'm not great at it, but I'm getting better. I have to say, it's very addictive. I find myself compelled to just 'play one more game'. It features 8-player games on Xbox Live, and I only have a few minor complaints that will hopefully be fixed by the developer. The main one being that if the host quits the game, the whole game ends.
The only retail game I've been playing lately is Overlord. Check out the Gamespot review here. Being a fan of the 2 Pikmin games on the GameCube, this game brings back some of the memories. It's not exactly the same, but has similar elements. It also has some nice visuals and decent humor as you're playing through the campaign.
On a related note, I've also broken the 5,000 barrier on my GamerScore.
Thursday - July 5, 2007
MS extends 360 warranty to 3 years
This is pretty cool, and I think it's a sign that Microsoft is actually listening to their customers. In response to the negative press regarding the failure rates of the Xbox 360 console, they have extended the warranty to 3 years from purchase. It includes free shipping, and they're even retroactively reimbursing customers who previously paid for repairs. Maybe the Ring of Fire parody pushed them over the edge.
Check out Peter Moore's open letter to the community here. Say what you want about Microsoft, but I think this is a huge step. It's especially impressive considering that my 360 was purchased with a measly 90 day warranty, which was extended to 1 year not all that long ago.
Posted by jcraven at 9:39 PM
Thursday - May 10, 2007
New 360 Dashboard update
MS released an update to the 360 today, and it's got some neat features. Check the link for details: Xbox 360 Fanboy.
The IM features don't really interest me much, but the auto-off and low-power download mode are great. That makes it nice and easy when downloading large HD movies. I also like the fact that the dashboard now tells you the name of the game in the drive... nice touch.
On a related note, Double Dragon hit Xbox Live Arcade, and the Forza 2 demo also is available for download.
Posted by jcraven at 3:54 PM
Tuesday - April 10, 2007
All good things come to an end
Back in January 2006, I started playing World of Warcraft. Finally yesterday, I let my account expire. I'm sure Lara is elated, but at the same time it's a little sad. I made some friends over the past year, and have put in many (too many?) hours building my characters. I uninstalled the game today, and will probably get rid of the account to rid me of the temptation to sign back up. Why did I quit? Basically comes down to the fact that I wasn't having much fun anymore. After the expansion came out, it was great. Lots of new stuff to do. Now, I've pretty much seen all the single-player content in the game at least once, and I've become tired of having to find a group to do anything else to progress. Additionally, I was really annoyed by some of the newer faces in the guild, and I just got fed up. I guess Blizzard did a decent enough job though, as this is by far the most I've ever played a single game.
Thursday - April 5, 2007
For those about to rock.... we salute you
So yesterday, I picked up Guitar Hero II from Best Buy, since I had a $10 off coupon. This game is too awesome for words. If you want to check out several reviews of the game check here (all were 9+ out of 10). The soundtrack is fantastic, and is perfect for cranking the stereo up. Lara actually heard me playing outside the house. The easy mode of the game is accessible to new players, Lara beat a handful of songs after a little practice. But if that's not challenging enough, the Hard and Expert levels are absolutely insane.
My only minor complaints are:
1) Most of the songs aren't performed by the original artists.... finding somebody to sound like Eddie Vedder, Kurt Cobain, or Glen Danzig is pretty tough.
2) The guitar is a wired controller. Not a huge deal, and they have said a future version would be wireless. Actually maybe this is the problem, check out this comic strip. I bought a 6 foot USB extension cable from eBay for under $4 shipped.
Wednesday - March 28, 2007
360 Elite officially announced
Not a huge surprise, but MS unveiled the new 360 Elite yesterday. For $479, you basically get HDMI and a 120GB hard drive (and it's now black). I'll probably drop the cash on the new hard drive, but doubt I'll get the whole new console. It's nice that it comes with a transfer cable to migrate your old data. We'll see......
Wednesday - March 21, 2007
Shadowrun first impressions
Today, Microsoft released the NDA on the game I've been playing recently, Shadowrun. The game is loosely based on the popular tabletop RPG (of which I have zero experience). It's an interesting blend of typical FPS action and RPG abilities. Think Halo crossed with WoW.
First, you can play as multiple races, Human, Elf, Dwarf, or Troll. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Also, at the beginning of the match, you can 'buy' tech and magic upgrades. This is where it really starts to mimic your typical RPG. You can choose healing and resurrecting abilities and magic spells, or just go with big guns and grenades, or any combination. All magic and special abilities use 'essence' aka mana. So far my favorite setup is a Dwarf with the Summon ability. Dwarfs are small so a little harder to shoot, but they do move slower because of their short legs. Summon is similar to WoW's warlock class, and the summoned minion can work as offense or defense.
Considering the game isn't finished yet, it's still quite fun, and the graphics are quite nice. I don't know if there's much longevity in the game, since the beta only includes the multiplayer deathmatch/CTF type scenarios. Will the single player be any good? Only time will tell.
Posted by jcraven at 2:36 PM
Monday - February 26, 2007
Over the weekend, Lara wasn't feeling well, so that left me playing WoW a fair amount. My main character, Norlina hit level 70 (the new level cap in the expansion pack). Although it only took a month to get to 70, there's still a ton of content I haven't touched in the expansion. I still haven't stepped foot in 2 zones, so there are a lot of quests and rewards to be had in Shadowmoon Valley and Netherstorm. There's also a bunch of dungeons I haven't played through. I'll probably start working on my Arcatraz, Shattered Halls, and Karazhan dungeon keys.
Posted by jcraven at 11:28 AM
Tuesday - February 13, 2007
Most awesome cat ever
I think I'll spend this weekend trying to teach Maggie and Blue to play against this cat over Xbox Live.
In case you don't read through the comments, the breed is a Scottish Fold, and their ears are supposed to look like that.
Posted by jcraven at 1:51 PM
Friday - January 26, 2007
So I've been playing the WoW expansion for a week or so, and primarily focused on my existing characters. I did go ahead and create a new Hunter with the new Draenei race. I doubt I'll play her anytime soon, it's more of a placeholder. Anyway here's a screenshot of Norletta.
Posted by jcraven at 9:44 AM
Monday - January 22, 2007
Over the weekend, I watched some football, played with Scott's Wii (that still sounds dirty), and installed the WoW expansion back. I was able to get both Norlina and AngieJo to level 61, and have already replaced a fair amount of their old armor and weapons with new stuff. It's kind of sad to see some of the gear that took so long to originally acquire, replaced in an hour. Anyway, so far I'm impressed with the new content. It's fun, and even more polished than the old zones. I've got some screenshots of Norlina heading through the Dark Portal, and the battle on the other side. (click for larger versions)
And one random screenshot from one of the new dungeons, Hellfire Citadel:
Posted by jcraven at 11:34 AM
Wednesday - January 17, 2007
Woman Dies After Water Drinking Contest
In case you haven't been following the story, check here for the summary.
Today news reports indicate that 10 members of KDND have been fired. Also, here's a disturbing recording from the show. You'll even hear a listener call in and warn of the danger of water intoxication. Very scary, and quite sad.
Posted by jcraven at 4:22 PM
Tuesday - January 16, 2007
Halo 3 preorder details
Helmet + Base Dimensions (approximate):
* Height: 10"
* Width: 8.5"
* Depth: 11.5"
* Made from High Impact Polystyrene - similar to a motorcycle helmet.
Posted by jcraven at 11:08 AM
Burning Crusade day
The WoW expansion, Burning Crusade went on sale at midnight today. I ordered mine from Amazon, with free shipping, because I'm not in a huge rush to get it installed. I figure the new areas will be overcrowded with everyone trying to complete the same quests. I logged on this morning for about 15 minutes, and there's already a dozen or so folks online that leveled to 61, and I saw a handful of lowbie Draenei hanging out in town.
Here's some coverage of the local Raleigh EB Games launch. I'm actually a little surprised of the size of the crowd.
Posted by jcraven at 10:32 AM
Welcome to the club
Scooter got himself a 360 and new HDTV.
Posted by jcraven at 9:57 AM
Monday - January 8, 2007
Xbox 360 IPTV screenshots
This week at CES, Microsoft showed a demo of the new IPTV offering on the 360. No real details released yet, but the screenshots look pretty awesome.
Posted by jcraven at 3:25 PM
Tuesday - December 5, 2006
Halo 3 commercial and beta signup
The new Halo 3 trailer debuted on TV last night. You can download a small streaming version from Xbox.com. I'm sure an HD version will be posted later, or you can download the HD version on your 360 via Xbox Live.
Also, the beta signup is officially live on Halo3.com. Of course, I signed up this morning.....
Posted by jcraven at 9:43 AM
Monday - December 4, 2006
Quiet Your Xbox 360
ExtremeTech has a nice article on how to make your Xbox 360 a little less noisy. I agree the system can be a little annoying when playing a DVD-based game, but it's no worse than the original xbox, PS2, or my desktop PC. If I get brave enough one day, maybe I'll give it a shot.
Quiet Your Xbox 360
Posted by jcraven at 10:40 AM
Wednesday - November 29, 2006
So, you may have seen various reports of folks breaking things around the house when accidentally throwing their Wiimotes in the heat of gaming. Scott wrote about it yesterday.
But here's video of the carnage in action. Luckily he missed the TV though.....
And of course, PA has their own theory.
WoW 2.0 patch coming Tuesday
According to the forums, the new content patch named "Before the Storm" will be rolled out next Tuesday, December 5th. This sets everybody up to be ready for the expansion when it hits in January. It also institutes the new PvP reward system, and talent trees. You can get a jump on the new trees, by planning them out here. I should actually get a small boost to both my damage and healing due to the changes to the talent tree. Here is my probable setup.
Posted by jcraven at 10:23 AM
Wednesday - November 22, 2006
Xbox 360 Media downloads
Today, Microsoft released Small Arms for download. This is one of the most highly anticipated original Live Arcade games to come out in a while. Overall it seems pretty fun, if you like similar games such as Super Smash Brothers for the Gamecube. Could be very fun with both local multiplayer and Xbox Live support.
The other big news today. You can now download your favorite movies and television shows straight to your 360. There's 48 movies to choose from, and about a dozen TV networks, which is decent for day 1. TV shows are 160 points for the SD version, and 240 for the HD version. Movies are 320 and 480. 80 points is equivalent to approximately
$2.00 $1.00. The pricing for television is inline with similar services such as iTunes. The Movies are 'rentals'. You have 14 days to begin watching the rental, and once you start watching it, you can replay it as many times as you want for 24 hours.
I think it's a good start, but I think separating the prices based on SD/HD is a poor decision. Hopefully the selection and pricing will improve in months to come.
Posted by jcraven at 10:01 AM
Friday - November 17, 2006
PS3 on sale
I think PA sums up today....
Tuesday - October 24, 2006
BC delayed until January
Blizzard issued a press release last night stating that the Burning Crusade expansion will be released in January. I'm not terribly dissapointed, but it would have been nice to get some playtime over the holidays. Check out the statement here.
Posted by jcraven at 10:47 AM
Wednesday - October 18, 2006
Halloween in Azeroth
For the most part, I really enjoy the holidays in WoW. I think Halloween is my favorite so far. Every hour, you can talk to one of the innkeepers and 'Trick or Treat'. And that's exactly what you get, either a bag of random treats, or you get tricked. Usually when that happens, you get turned into something not usually found in the game. So far, I've been turned into a Ninja and a mini-Diablo seen in this screenshot. Of course, this is an homage to my other favorite Blizzard game, Diablo.
Posted by jcraven at 3:06 PM
Posted by jcraven at 9:56 AM
Monday - October 9, 2006
Nintendo circa 1988
The following video of "Inside Edition" from 1988 is pretty amusing. It's hard to remember a time when Nintendo wasn't a household name.
YouTube - Nintendo 1988 Inside Edition TV news report with Super Mario
Posted by jcraven at 1:09 PM
Thursday - September 28, 2006
Assassin's Creed gameplay video
Going for a 360 trifecta today.... check out the amazing gameplay footage of Assassin's Creed. Unlike the earlier Halo link I gave, this is actual in-game play. The collision detection stuff is just so cool.....
Posted by jcraven at 3:02 PM
Halo Wars = awesome
OK, I'm not a huge RTS fan, but Halo Wars is a RTS set in the Halo universe. This is *NOT* Halo 3..... pretty trailer here.
Posted by jcraven at 11:49 AM
Thursday - September 21, 2006
Posted by jcraven at 3:26 PM
Friday - September 15, 2006
Sucks you in....
Thursday - September 14, 2006
Nintendo Wii pricing/launch date released
November 19, 2006 for $250. Not bad I guess. I'm still holding off any judgement until I can play a couple games. PTB has a nice summary here.
Posted by jcraven at 11:14 AM
Tuesday - September 12, 2006
Newsweek on WoW
Newsweek has an interesting article about World of Warcraft. It touches on the various ways WoW (or other MMORPGs) affect real life. It has both the positive and negative sides of the story. Overall, it's a pretty good read.
World of Warcraft: Is It a Game?
Posted by jcraven at 10:47 AM
Thursday - September 7, 2006
7 million WoW players
It's impressive that Blizzard has added a million subscribers since March. I would guess that number is likely to spike later this year with the expansion pack as old players come back to the game, and new players are lured in at the same time.
World of Warcraft Hits 7 Million Subscribers - WOW Insider
Posted by jcraven at 12:42 PM
Wednesday - August 30, 2006
First AQ20 run
Last night, in WoW I made my first guild run into The Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj aka, AQ20. It went ok, considering the server was experiencing some pretty nasty lag, and that we only had 16-17 players instead of the recommended 20. We completed our goal of clearing out the first wave of trash along with the first boss.
Nate may appreciate the fact that I received a nice mace called Doomulus Prime. It's an amusing homage to the following Foxtrot comic strip:
Posted by jcraven at 10:04 AM
Tuesday - August 29, 2006
Newly released screenshots of DOAX2, show that the lovely ladies will now get tanlines while playing volleyball and frolicking on the beach. Check out Kotaku for a link to the screenshots. You can preorder it from Gamestop.
Posted by jcraven at 12:37 PM
Monday - August 28, 2006
Over the weekend, I was definitely a bum. I spent most of the time playing video games of some sort. Texas Hold 'em on the 360 is actually quite fun and you can play against 7 other people online. I also played through the first 2 levels of Tomb Raider: LEGEND, also on the 360. I was lucky enough to pick it up from Best Buy for a mere $30, which is half of MSRP.
In WoW, I did a couple of guild runs and picked up some nice loot. My favorite was the Book of Ferocious Bite V, which was just created in the latest patch a week ago. I also picked up Blackhand's Breadth and the unpronounceable Zandalar Haruspex's Bracers.
Posted by jcraven at 3:43 PM
Wednesday - August 23, 2006
Texas Hold 'em
If you want it, go get it now. For the next 48 hours, Texas Hold 'em on the 360 will be a free download for the full version. Afterwards, it will probably cost $5-$10 bucks. If you're lucky enough to get one of the Live Cameras, enjoy the innevitable game of strip poker......
Xbox.com | Texas Hold 'em - Game Detail Page
eBay - Live Vision camera, Accessories, Games items on eBay.com
Posted by jcraven at 3:07 PM
So with the new cross-realm PvP matches in World of Warcraft, everybody decided that it would be fun to sign up for the battlegrounds. The following picture was snapped at the signup point inside Ironforge. As you can see it's a little bit crowded which caused all kinds of lag issues with their new system. Fortunately today it seems to be much better. Click here for the full-size picture.
Posted by jcraven at 1:47 PM
Tuesday - August 22, 2006
WoW 1.12 patch
Blizzard released the 1.12 patch today that features several enhancements to PvP. Full release notes here.
Posted by jcraven at 12:20 PM
Friday - August 11, 2006
Video Game Violence
Here's an interesting clip of a debate between Adam Sessler and everybody's favorite lawyer, Jack Thompson.
Friday - July 21, 2006
Blizzard announced today that in the new expansion pack, Blood Elves can be paladins, and Draenei can be shamans. Now I do like the idea of getting to play a new class without switching factions, but now the two sides are nearly identical as these were the only classes that weren't available on both sides. Time will tell if this is a good move I guess.
Related 'switch' video courtesy of youtube.
Monday - July 17, 2006
Video game addiction
I've created a monster. Lara is hooked on New Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo DS. She actually beat the final boss over the weekend without any assistance. That's pretty impressive. The game itself is fantastic if you're a fan of the original SMB. It's also nice because it has 3 separate save-game files, so we can keep our own individual progress. In between Mario sessions, she's also been playing Brain Age. She's played it much more than I have, and so far I don't have an opinion on this game either positive or negative.
Now on to my own addiction, WoW. Over the weekend, I maxed out my reputation with Stormpike Guard and as a result have a nifty new trinket, and epic mount. The epic mount is a great pickup since now I can travel almost twice as fast around the various areas. Other than that, I didn't play much. I also decided to preorder the Burning Crusade expansion pack.
Wednesday - July 5, 2006
EBGames leaks info?
EBGames.com has a ship date for the WoW expansion pack, Burning Crusade. Currently it's listed as 10/2/06, which is quite a bit earlier than the original Christmas timeframe everybody was expecting. We'll see how accurate they are.....
On the other hand, is there any reason to preorder it? All the extra strain on the servers on launch day will probably mean long wait times to login, and possibly server stability issues. I'll probably wait a week and pick it up at Best Buy or some other local retailer.
Posted by jcraven at 2:06 PM
Friday - June 23, 2006
WoW patch 1.11
This week, Blizzard released the new 1.11 patch for World of Warcraft. There's lots of new content including a new 40-man raid dungeon named Naxxramas. The full patch release notes can be found here. If you have questions about the Scourge Invasion check out this nifty FAQ on their forums. For those of you that had trouble downloading the patch, you'll find the humor in this comic strip from Penny Arcade. I personally didn't have any issues once I opened up the appropriate firewall holes to allow their bittorrent-based client through.
Posted by jcraven at 1:37 PM
Monday - June 12, 2006
Since Lara was at the beach this weekend, I spent a fair amount of time play World of Warcraft. I finally hit Level 60, which is the level cap until the expansion pack comes out. I also did my first real Guild runs to Dire Maul. Since it was a Guild event, I got Teamspeak up and running for the first time also, which is a little bit like using Xbox Live's voicechat features. Surprisingly the 4 guildmates that I went with were all older than myself. Two of them were married, and the remaining two were a guy and his father-in-law. I got a couple quests out of the way, but didn't really get any cool loot.
After that, I decided to solo the first boss in Blackrock Depths, which was another new location for me. It took two tries, but I made it to the boss, and got the drop I needed, Idol of Ferocity, on the first kill.
Finally, on Sunday, I was just doing random quests when a Priest invited me to make a run to Scholomance. This makes the 3rd new dungeon of the weekend. We cleared the place out, included all 13 or so bosses. I got some great drops, including Death's Clutch and Frostbite Girdle which both dropped from the same boss. Overall it was a very productive weekend in WoW.
Posted by jcraven at 11:13 AM
Tuesday - June 6, 2006
Xbox update coming today
According to their press release, Microsoft will be pushing out the new dashboard updates for the 360 starting today. A list of all the new features, including Download manager and Boot to Dashboard, can be found here.
Posted by jcraven at 1:11 PM
Friday - May 26, 2006
Xbox Live dashboard updates coming soon
Microsoft has confirmed that a new dashboard update is less than a week away. It solves the two biggest annoyances I have. First, it allows background and queued downloading (as seen in the picture). It also allows you to disable the auto-play when a game is in the drive on bootup.
Posted by jcraven at 1:20 PM
Wednesday - May 10, 2006
WoW expansion pack
NYTimes has an article about the upcoming WoW expansion pack named 'The Burning Crusade'. At E3 today, they finally announced the new race for the Alliance, and it's a demon called Draenei. This goes along with the Horde's new race, the Blood Elves. Unfortunately there's no firm release date, simply Q4 2006. Overall, it looks like some pretty nice additions to the game, and the video preview gives a nice summary of them all. I like the last quote in the article:
My biggest hope is that for fans of World of Warcraft, the Burning Crusade will be the only game that’s better than World of Warcraft. Our biggest goal with it is to ensure that there is a lot of content that caters to everyone’s play style. We have a lot of people with a lot of different ways of playing the game, and we want everyone to feel like they’re getting what they need.
Posted by jcraven at 3:02 PM
For the WoW players, it's Children's Week. You can check out the official release on Blizzard's site. Basically, you get the opportunity to escort an Orphan to 5 sites around Azeroth, and as a reward you get your choice of a new pet rat, pig, or turtle. The quests are easy if you have a mount, and are all in low-level zones. I picked up the turtle, and chuckle evertime I see 'Speedy' run after me.....
Posted by jcraven at 10:15 AM
Halo 3 trailer
Finally, what all the Xbox 360 owners have been waiting for, Bungie shows off their new trailer for Halo 3. One thing to keep in mind that all the footage is rendered on the fly, using the current Halo 3 engine. The announcement is very tounge-in-cheek:
"Nobody saw it coming. Halo 3! Who knew? For the last year or two, people have speculated about what our next project was and surprisingly, in all that time, not a single person guessed that it would be Halo 3. Not one.
We declare it the best kept secret ever."
You'll want to get the 720p Quicktime version here, but be warned it is 150MB. You can also download it in all it's HD glory via Xbox Live, along with all the other trailers/demos that have been released this week. Is it 2007 yet?
Posted by jcraven at 9:26 AM
Tuesday - May 9, 2006
PS3, Xbox 360, Wii
OK, so after watching the major keynotes from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, I think Microsoft and Nintendo are leading the pack. Microsoft announced a ton of games (160 estimated by Christmas), the HD-DVD add-on, and their camera. In a surprise announcement, they set a release date for GTA IV on October 16th, with an 'exclusive partnership to provide exclusive episodic content through Xbox Live'. I'll have to download all the game trailers/demo on XBL later this week, and give updates later......
Nintendo spent most of their keynote introducing the public to the new controller for the Wii. I'm still not totally sold on the idea, but I'm willing to try it out at the store. They also announced that Zelda will ship for the GameCube and Wii at the same time (when the Wii launches). Unfortunately price/release date has been kept secret so far. They announced a decent launch lineup of the standard Nintendo franchises. I'm still worried about the video quality and it's possible lack of HD support.
Sony's press conference seems to have mostly bombed. Sure, the MGS and Final Fantasy trailers look great, but there's some major problems. First and foremost is the pricetag which weighs in at $499 (20g HD) or $599 (60g HD). Add on the inevitable game packages at launch, and you're looking at some major coin. Secondly, the new 'Dual-Shake' controller. It's basically the same controller Sony has had for 10 years, except it's wireless, and has tilting features similar to Nintendo's Wii-mote. Oh, and they axed the rumble feature. I'm sure the fanboys will still buy it, but I don't see how they will compete with two game systems that cost half as much.
Thursday - April 27, 2006
Nintendo Revolution.... err Wii
Nintendo unveiled the name of it's newest console, and it's Wii. Does anybody else think that's a bad name? An explanation can be found on Nintendo's website.
Posted by jcraven at 2:08 PM
Monday - April 24, 2006
Who needs human contact?
Why play real card games, when you can play UNO over xbox live? XBOXIC has the screenshots of the soon to be relased 360 download.
Posted by jcraven at 3:43 PM
We had a pretty quiet weekend. We did a little shopping, watched the Canes lose big on Saturday, and went to Angus Barn on Sunday. Other than that, we just stayed around house.
I played WoW a fair amount. I hit lvl 47, and maxed out my engineering at 300, along with a handful of quests. FYI, I have a link to my character on my main page. I participated in the Sunday fishing tournament (and did pretty poorly). I also made two runs to Zul'Farrak with random pickup groups (PUGs). Until this weekend, I've had fantastic luck with PUGs, but it all changed with these two runs. The first time, we actually did really well, but after the temple battle our priest pitched a fit when he lost his roll for Bad Mojo Mask to a mage. After that he just left, which is pretty childish. We continued and beat down 2 more bosses with a paladin healing, so it still worked out ok. The second run was a total disaster. The first time we wiped because of a low-level hunter attacking an extra enemy, which aggro'd 20 or so mobs. I'm now starting to understand why hunters have such bad reputations. Later on that run, the rouge aggro'd a bunch of mobs while trying to pickpocket them. After that, I gave up and left the group without even making it to the first boss. I still have one more quest to finish in Zul'Farrak, and a couple items I'd like to pick up, so I'll give it a shot again soon.
Thursday - April 20, 2006
Wireless xbox mod
Here's a pretty good mod for your old xbox. It gives details on integrating a wireless bridge into your xbox. If I ever change my setup, I may give this a shot.
Posted by jcraven at 4:52 PM
Monday - April 17, 2006
Rockstar (the makers of GTA) decided to release a 360-exclusive title. To everyone's surprise, it's Table Tennis. The trailer was posted today, or it can be downloaded in HD on your 360. Supposedly it will be released next month. I doubt I'll rush out to buy this one......
Friday - April 7, 2006
The other Lara
The demo for Tomb Raider: Legend, was released on Xbox Live Marketplace earlier this week. I tried out the demo, and have to say it's pretty impressive. The graphics are fantastic, and the motion physics are great. I've never been a huge fan of the Tomb Raider series, but this may be enough to make me change my mind. The game is still very tough (unless you cheat your way through the puzzles). Also, I'm not real fond of the camera, but it may just take some practice. You can also invert both the X and Y axis if you please. I would definitely recommend downloading the demo if you're a 360 owner, or maybe go rent it when it's released next week.
Posted by jcraven at 3:22 PM
Wednesday - April 5, 2006
A week ago, Blizzard issued a patch for WoW that included a ton of new features and enchancements. The full list is here. One of the new features is weather. Yesterday while in Booty Bay, I saw my first rainstorm. Kinda cool.
Tuesday - March 28, 2006
WoW patch 1.10 released
If you're having trouble getting it from blizzard, I found a fast mirror here.
Looks like the patch killed the servers. All realms are currently down. Oh well, hope they get it fixed tonight.
Monday - March 27, 2006
Last week, Nintendo released a trailer for the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the Nintendo DS. I'll definitely be picking this one up when it is released. Check out the video here.
On a related note, New Super Mario Bros. is scheduled to be released on May 15th. It's the first new 2D Mario game since the SNES. It's another must-have.
Posted by jcraven at 1:55 PM
Wednesday - February 15, 2006
Love is in the Air
Even WoW is celebrating Valentine's Day (sorry Dave). They have special events ending today. You can find details here. One of the rarer items is this black dress that I found for Norlina. I also got a red version after a quest, but it is apparently easier to find. Neither serve any functional purpose, but it does make her stand out in a crowd.
Posted by jcraven at 11:30 AM
Monday - January 30, 2006
Now in case you're wondering about the name, Lara and I based it on our favorite little town in NC. We've never actually been there, but driven past it many times. You can check out their circa-1995 website at http://www.norlina.com/.
Saturday - January 28, 2006
World of Warcrack
As I mentioned earlier, I had been playing Final Fantasy XI. The game is good, but fairly monotonous. Scott made me try out World of Warcraft though, and guess what, I'm hooked. As he says, it's like 'digital crack'. You do level up much faster in the beginning compared to FFXI, and there's many more enemies and quests in the lower levels which makes it much more fun to sit down and play. The only minor downside to the game, is that it's not as pretty. This is not necessarily a horrible thing, as I didn't need to go out and buy a new video card. Since I enjoyed the free trial so much, I've already placed my order for the full version.
Posted by jcraven at 3:39 PM
Thursday - January 26, 2006
New Nintendo DS Lite
All the tech blogs are reporting today about the new DS Lite announcement. Check out engadget here. I personally think it looks much better, but probably not compelling enough to make me replace my exisiting device. We'll see......
Posted by jcraven at 9:36 AM
Wednesday - January 18, 2006
Final Fantasy impressions
Wow this guy pretty much sums up all of my complaints with the beta. Glad to see I'm not the only one. One thing also to note, is that a keyboard is pretty much required, but any old USB keyboard should work fine. So far I'm enjoying the game, and have advanced to a measly level 6. Lara is still dumbfounded by the whole thing, and thinks it looks boring.
Posted by jcraven at 5:57 PM
Tuesday - January 17, 2006
I'll give a review/impressions later, but I was both amused and scared by this disclaimer that is shown each time you login.
Exploring Vana'diel is a thrilling experience. During your time here, you will be able to talk, join, and adventure with many other individuals in an experience that is unique to online games. That being said, we have no desire to see your real life suffer as a consequence. Don't forget your family, your friends, your school, or your work.
Wednesday - January 11, 2006
Realistic cities in PGR3
A PGR3 fan recently took a trip to Tokyo and took a couple pictures. Then he went into Project Gotham Racing 3, and found the same landmarks in the game. The results are pretty amazing. I couldn't imagine the amount of work involved to recreate cities like this. My favorite is still Las Vegas though. Hopefully somebody can do a side by side comparision for it too.
Posted by jcraven at 10:04 PM
Monday - January 9, 2006
Congrats to Sarah, Daniel, and Justin for thoroughly whipping my tail at Halo 2 tonight. It was fun, but I'll have to practice up before playing again. :)
Posted by jcraven at 11:51 PM
Over the weekend, in addition to watching a bunch of football, I finished up the single player of Project Gotham Racing 3. I finshed all the championships with a silver ranking. I also completed some of the side quests including the Ferrari and Lamborghini Owner's clubs. Check out my gamer card for the complete list. Also, if you want to try out a very tough game, play Geometry Wars Evolved in the Xbox Live Arcade. This game will make your eyes bleed.
Posted by jcraven at 4:10 PM
Wednesday - January 4, 2006
I picked up a copy of Halo 2 off of ebay, so I can play my sister and Daniel online. (BTW, I would highly recommend the seller, dinovelvet). I also bought the 12-Month Starter Kit from Circuit City. At the time, it was only 62.99, and I had a 10% off coupon that brought it down to 56.99. The kit includes 12 months of xbox live, 200 MS points, a copy of BankShot Billiards, a headset, and a $20 off rebate for any 360 game. With the rebate, it comes out cheaper than the standard 49.99/year subscription cost and you get all those extras.
Posted by jcraven at 9:07 AM
Friday - December 30, 2005
As you may have seen on my Gamer Card, I picked up Dead or Alive 4 today. If you've ever played the previous DOA iterations, you'll feel right at home. The graphics are top notch as always, and of course the absurdly proportioned fighters make a return (not that I'm complaining). Online play is fun, but has a couple issues with lag if you opponent is on a poor connection. Maybe they'll work some of the kinks out soon, but it is still very enjoyable. I've already unlocked some pretty good achievements including 10 straight online wins, and completing story mode with Kasumi.
Posted by jcraven at 9:31 PM
Wednesday - December 28, 2005
xbox 360 impressions
Mom gave us a brand new xbox 360 for Christmas, along with Project Gotham Racing 3. I plugged it up at my parent's house, and wasn't exactly blown away, but when I got home that changed. The combination of an HDTV, and xbox live makes this system a blast. I've already logged 10 hours or so. You may have noticed I also added my Gamer Tag to my main website. This shows you my game achievements, and what I'm currently playing. PGR3 is on there, along with a couple games I've played on xbox live marketplace. So far, I don't have any major complaints about the system. It works great. The only minor complaint, is that it does not come with a digital optical cable, so I had to use one of my Best Buy gift certs to pick that up so I could get Dolby 5.1.
Also, my sister gave me Mario Kart DS. Lara loves it. She already completed the 50cc mode. I haven't gotten a chance to play it much, but it seems very fun. Unfortunately, I was less than impressed with the online play. First, I had to hard code an IP address, as it wouldn't talk to my DHCP server. Once online, I found it hard to find enough racers to fill up all the spots. Usually, I could only find a single opponent. If anybody has any ideas, please let me know.
Wednesday - November 16, 2005
xbox 360 guts
So anandtech acquired a shiny new xbox 360, and then ripped it open to show us the guts. Lots of pictures included in the article here. The site is running a little slow right now due to the increased traffic.
Posted by jcraven at 3:01 PM
Thursday - October 6, 2005
Last night I picked up Trauma Center: Under the Knife, for the Nintendo DS. I've been waiting for this one since they showcased it at E3. So far, it's pretty good, but the difficulty does ramp up very quickly. I guess they didn't want to give the impression that surgery is an easy process. :) You can check out screen shots on the developers website here. I'll give a more in depth review as I progress through the game.
Wednesday - September 21, 2005
OK, I still don't know what to think about the new Revolution controller, but here's a leaked promo video for it. It could be interesting for some games (the sword fighting looks cool) but flicking the controller to jump with Mario sounds like carpal tunnel waiting to happen.
Posted by jcraven at 1:22 PM
Sunday - June 12, 2005
Damn you Scott
Previously, I had mentioned I was thinking of buying a Nintendo DS. Well Scott finally convinced me to buy one. I picked up the Electric Blue version from Best Buy (used a $10 off coupon). The games we played over the weekend were a combination of games we bought, and borrowed. The full list includes Super Mario 64 DS, WarioWare Touched, Yoshi's Touch & Go, and Puyo Pop Fever. I also borrowed the GBA game The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. Lara is hooked on WarioWare, and I had to pry the system away from her. But once I did, I spent most of the time playing the Minish Cap. The DS games are entertaining, and the game play is interesting, but as a general rule, they are way too short. The multiplayer is really cool though. The games we used only require one game cartridge. The second player actually downloads the game over the wireless link. I think there is a lot of potential, and of course I can't wait for Legend of Zelda: DS to come out at Christmas.
Monday - February 14, 2005
Nintendo + Palm ?
Interesting article about Nintendo's V-Pocket suite. Nintendo is probably trying to beat Sony to the punch with their upcoming PDA features......
Posted by jcraven at 2:13 PM
Wednesday - December 1, 2004
Scott is evil. He keeps sending me reviews and articles of the Nintendo DS. Now, I haven't owned a portable game system since the original GameBoy back in the late 80's, but this system intrigues me. With games like Metroid, Viewtiful Joe, Mario 64, and Madden 2005 there's definitely some interest. I'll probably at least wait until after Christmas before making a buying decision though, because it costs $150 plus another $40 per game.
Posted by jcraven at 3:46 PM