Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Screw Attack: Streets of Rage

The original is a classic, but I have to say the second one is by far the best in the series. The third one is good, but the music sucks and it has some extremely cheap parts. The second one is just epic. What I want to know is, why havent they made Streets of Rage 4 for XBLA and PSN? I would buy it in a heartbeat. Please Sega! Make it happen!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mariano Rivera - The Greatest Ever

Mario Rivera captured his 500th save on Sunday, further cementing him as the greatest relief pitcher of all time. He might not ever pass Trevor Hoffman for the overall saves lead, but I think we can all agree Rivera is on his own level when it comes to greatness. I could list some of his stats here, but there really isnt any point. What Rivera does on the mound goes way beyond statistics. Its artistry. He personally carried the Yankees to 3 consecutive World Championships, and is well worth every penny of the more than $100M the Yankees have paid him over his career.

As Tim McCarver said, Rivera is the only dominant pitcher in history to defy the basic logic of pitching: Work quickly, throw strikes, and change speeds. Rivera only has 1 pitch and it goes 94mph, spinning sideways.

We've never seen anything like him before, and when hes gone, we wont ever see anything like him again.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tiger Woods 10: Wii Motion plus

Its freaking amazing, the best golf video game on the market by far.

Friday, June 26, 2009

lol donkaments

Went pretty deep in the FTP Fifty-Fifty only to get busted by some trash talking guy on a crazy move. In No Limit Holdem, A-K is my favorite hand. I got it all in preflop, the way I like to, and it missed. Only, I wasnt coin flipping against Queens or Jacks - the guy had J-10 and I was almost a 2-1 favorite, with the money in sight. People say that your variance is a lot higher in big field tournaments, and as mostly a cash game player Id have to agree. All I can say is the same thing as Barry Greenstien: lol donkaments.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bethesda Parent Company Buys id Software

Two of the most acclaimed game development studios of all time are joining forces. ZeniMax Media, parent company of Fallout 3 and Elder Scrolls development studio Bethesda Softworks, announced today that it is purchasing legendary Doom and Wolfenstein studio id.

John Carmack, id CEO Todd Hollenshead and ZeniMax CEO Robert Altman said the purchase will change none of the principles or principals of id and Bethesda but will allow id to grow like it never has before. The purchase does not affect plans for previously announced games from id that are slated for release through other publishers, including the Activision-backed Wolfenstein and the EA Partners-planned Rage.

Why did id sell?

"We're really getting kind of tired competing with our own publishers in terms of how our titles will be featured," Carmack said. "And we've really gotten more IPs than we've been able to take advantage of. And working with other companies hasn't been working out as spectacularly as it could. So the idea of actually becoming a publisher and merging Bethesda and ZeniMax on there [is ideal.] It would be hard to imagine a more complementary relationship. They are triple A, top-of-the-line in what they do in the RPGs. And they have no overlap with all the things we do in the FPSes."

Hollenshead said ZeniMax's acquisition will allow id to grow its internal teams, staffing up the groups working on the next Doom — which will now be a ZeniMax game — and the Quake Live team, for starters.

The goal, explained Carmack, is for id to handle all of its own IPs. "We can build the pipeline and have a regular pipeline of releases."

Altman described the deal as a "win for fans of id."


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why We Arent Getting Virtua Tennis 2009

They messed up the doubles. The balls move slower, all the players move quickly and you cant force errors with smashes like you could in VT3. Its much more of an attacking game at the net because thats the only way to score points consistently. There is no Virtua Tennis TV, you cant watch other peoples matches and the lobby is only 4 players! Having played the game online at a friends house, I have to say its a huge disappointment because the rest of the game is great. The minigames are improved and playable online, which is sweet, but its not enough to justify the atrocity they committed with the doubles. Huge bummer, but they cant take away VT3 from me; they will have to pry the copy from my cold, dead hands.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Steroid Era

The New York Times has reported today that Sammy Sosa, #6 on the all time home run list, tested positive for a performance enhancing substance in 2003, the latest in a string of top baseball stars implicated in the sport's steroids scandal of the past decade.

The Times said Sosa is one of 104 players who tested positive in baseball's anonymous 2003 survey, which has been the subject of a protracted court fight. The paper did not identify the drug. It cited lawyers with knowledge of the 2003 drug-testing results and reported they spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to publicly discuss material under court seal.

So what does this mean? Nothing I tell you, nothing at all. People are going to cry and bitch and moan about how we were lied to and how he cheated - whoever he happens to be. Today, its Sosa. Yesterday, it was Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez. Tomorrow, it might be Albert Pujols or Johan Santana.

However, Im here to tell you something different. Nobody lied. Nobody cheated. Except you, to yourself.

Baseball made the conscious decision sometime in the early 1980s to look the other way in regard to performance enhancing drugs. The league, the owners, the players union, and especially the fans - we are all responsible. We chose to NOT regulate the sport, we made the decision to NOT test the players like they do in the NFL - until it was too late. And now, we cry like babies, and its so fucking pathetic it makes me want to puke. Baseball players didnt lie to us - we lied to ourselves.

First, some history lessons.

For as long as anyone could remember, going back before the 1960s, there were two coffee machines in the New York Yankees players clubhouse. One for the players, and one for the coaches. The coaches coffee was totally normal. The players coffee, however was juiced with amphetamines (aka speed). Relied on by many a gold glove winning fielder, this speed laced coffee was never questioned by anyone - reporters, owners, nobody cared. It was just part of the game. Fielders needed their juiced coffee to speed their reflexes and stay alert, and the teams provided it without question or comment. Legend has it that the great Yankee clipper, Joe Dimaggio, used to drink half a cup of the stuff (along with a cigarrette) in between every single innning of every game he played.

Gaylord Perry, the great Hall of Fame pitcher, relied heavily on a mixture of sandpaper, vaseline and pine tar in his back pocket or on the corner of his glove to get a little something extra on his pitches, especially later on in his career. It wasnt exactly a secret either. One time, when an umpire noticed Perry obviously doctoring up the ball late in the game, he approached and asked Perry if he was applying foreign substance. Perry, in his classic North Carolina drawl, replied "No Sir, this pine tar is made in the United States of America." He titled his biography, Me and the Spitter. To say Perry was shameless about his cheating would be an understatement of gross proportions. Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991, Perry was selected for Major League Baseball's Team of The Century, and was rated by baseball historian and stats guru Bill James as one of the 10 best right handed pitchers of all time, and one of the 50 greatest players of all time at any position.

Whats great about baseball (and there are many, many aspects of its greatness that I could discuss at length) - is its immensely long history. People have been playing baseball professionally in the USA since the late 1800s. Its 2009 now. Thats a lot of time, and a hell of a lot of baseball games. If there is one aspect of the game thats markedly different from other sports (ahem NBA, Im looking at you), its that we know that baseball isnt fixed. The results of the game are legitimate. This isnt Jai Alai, this isnt horse racing, this isnt boxing, tennis, or even the NBA, where we have to wonder whether what we are seeing is real - whether the outcome is prefixed or the result of a legitimate competition. Why? Baseball went through its growing pains a century ago, in a little incident called the Blacksox Scandal of 1919. Baseball got through a cheating scandal - real cheating - a long, long time ago.

People demonizing Sosa and Bonds and Arod need to get a little sense of history. This is a sport which almost collapsed in on itself - only to be saved by an obscure left handed pitcher wearing the number 3. The Blacksox scandal was as real as cheating gets, i.e., players taking bribes for purposefully making errors and playing poorly. The 1919 World Series was fixed! Can you imagine what that did to the game?! Without Ruth, the fans might have never come back. What the players of The Steroid Era are accussed of doing - pumping up with some "extra strength wheaties" - is a joke by comparison, an absolute joke. The integrity of our sport was never imperlied by players taking steroids. They took the steroids with the intention of becoming better players - and - wait for it - because there were no rules against taking them. Dont ask, dont tell was the motto of baseball's Steroid Era. Everybody knew, but nobody was saying anything, and everybody was just looking the other was because hey! McGuire was hitting 70 freaking home runs! And Sosa was right behind him! Baseball was back from its prolonged deadzone in the 1980s/early 90s, fans were coming back to the park and TV ratings were going up. Owners were making money again finally, the players started getting huge contracts, and nobody wanted to spoil the party. Not me, not you, not anyone. Thats why we are all to blame, not just him.

Finally, I would like to make the point that had steroids been readily available in the 1920s-1970s, many players would have certainly taken them. The only thing that makes The Steroid Era uniquely modern is that fact that steroids are a product of modern medicine becoming fully commercialized.

So when you hear someone bemoan a player accused of juicing - be it a talking head on TV or a friend or some guy at the bar - ask him if he went to a baseball game in the 1990s or watched one on TV. If he did, just tell him, "its your fault." As much as the players, the owners, the unions and the coaches are guilty, the fans carry the greatest blame. We the fans were the ultimate enablers, because we paid for it all, in blissfully willful ignorance, and now we are reaping what we sowed.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ship It: Ivey Wins 2nd Bracelet of 2009

Ivey defeated a strong field of 376 players to win the $2,500 Omaha high-low/seven-card stud high-low split Event 25, his seventh WSOP bracelet and his second this Series. He now is tied for sixth all-time with Billy Baxter and is just one behind Erik Seidel.

"It's nice to catch people," Ivey told Nolan Dalla. "This is poker history, as you like to say. And so, to have the chance to catch someone like Erik who is (fifth) in the bracelets, to get into his category would be nice."

Ivey joins Brock Parker as the only double-bracelet winners in 2009 -- Ivey also won Event 8 -- an accomplishment that hasn't happened in Las Vegas since 2006 when Bill Chen and Jeff Madsen accomplished the feat. Ivey was the last player to win three bracelets during one WSOP, a feat he managed in 2002. But why the change of heart? Ivey's daily presence at the WSOP this year has been a change from years' past and with his dominating performance this summer, who can say that a third bracelet is out of the question? Ivey is more confident than ever heading into Sunday's WSOP events.

"Well, before last year I pretty [much] skipped a couple of years at the World Series," said Ivey. "I didn't play in as many tournaments as I used to because I figured, it's doesn't really make much difference, you know. But then, as I started getting older I started to realize this does matter. Winning bracelets, it does matter. Just having the chance to put myself in poker history and I know I have the chance to win and be the all-time bracelet leader if I can continue at this pace. So, I'm looking forward to the opportunity.

"I think [last year] I really wasn't into it," he continued to the WSOP. "I don't know, I am just feeling good right now. I think last year I had a lot of distractions, especially in my personal life. And there were a lot of things going on outside of poker. I wasn't able to focus as well. Also, I think I am a better tournament player now than I was a year ago."

If winning a WSOP final table wasn't hard enough, Ivey was also playing in another event at the same time. During breaks from his attempt for his seventh bracelet, Ivey was playing in the $5,000 pot-limit Omaha high-low Event 27. After accumulating chips during earlier breaks, Ivey was being blinded out while he played at the final table and made his last stand just a few players before the money bubble. Ivey finished 22nd out of 198 players in that event … that he didn't even focus on! Ivey has done a lot in the poker space, but reaching the final table in that event would've been a new one.

With spectators surrounding all of Ivey's tables on Saturday, he wasn't he only superstar that fans were cheering for. 2001 WSOP main event champion Carlos Mortensen finished third in Event 25, Dutch Boyd finished fourth and Jon Turner finished fifth. Ming Lee was Ivey's final victim, but with Ivey holding the chip lead going into heads-up play, he was never given an opening to come back.

Ivey won $220,538 for the victory and when he was asked when he'd get started on No. 8, he simply said, "Tomorrow."

- Andrew Feldman ESPN.com

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Phil Ivey Wins WSOP Event #8: 2-7 No Limit

The 40th anniversary of the World Series of Poker was the overriding theme coming into the 2009 edition: a celebration of the game, its people and its history. The plan coming in was to trumpet the tournament's legacy and poker's as a whole. Little did the organizers know, however, how quickly the present would come to the forefront in the form of victory for a man who may eventually go down as the greatest player ever to ruffle chips.

Phil Ivey is the present. On Thursday night, the former Atlantic City regular added to his legend and lore by winning his sixth WSOP bracelet, taking down Event 8, $2,500 no-limit deuce-to-seven draw. The win, which netted Ivey a $96,361 payout, made him the youngest player to win six bracelets and moved him into a seventh-place tie on the all-time bracelet list with T.J. Cloutier, Layne Flack, Jay Heimowitz and Men Nguyen.

Ivey emerged victorious from a seven-player final table that saw his stack go as low as $65,000 of the $1.11 million in play with six players left. He was again threatened with elimination when his stack dropped to $100,000 with three players remaining and once more when he got it all-in with a draw in a tough heads-up match against veteran Los Angeles cash game pro John Monette. Monette, who was looking for his first WSOP bracelet, won $59,587.

Ask any educated follower of the game to name its best player, and "Ivey" is the most likely name to escape their lips. Such witnesses as Doyle Brunson and Daniel Negreanu have given testimony to this effect. If he wanted it, Ivey would be the most famous poker player in the world. The truth, though, is that he has no use or desire for fame.

Reputed to have a stratospheric bankroll well over nine figures, Ivey is a fiercely private man who's proved so good at poker and business that he hasn't found a need for endorsement dollars. His bankroll runs deep enough that he supposedly won some $3 million in proposition bets by winning this bracelet in 2009.

"There are some disappointed people in Bobby's Room," Ivey said after the win, referring to those who bet against him.

While Ivey may not want fame, his accomplishments demand attention. Six bracelets (three of them coming in 2002), 30 WSOP cashes, a WPT victory in one of eight final table appearances, the most successful online record of anyone at cyberspace's highest stakes and massive reported success in his bread-and-butter live cash games … all at the age of 33. As the WSOP celebrates its history, it also celebrates history in the making. Ivey's feat is the just the latest development in a WSOP that seems to be rewarding the game's best players and creating high drama by the night.

- Gary Wise ESPN.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Screw Attack: Dig Dug

Craig makes his case for Dig Dug being the most insanely violent, sociopathic gorefest ever developed. Who knew Dig Dug was 1982's genocide simulator? I was so naive.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Super Pissed Vixen With Guns In Her Heels

Bayonetta doesnt just look good - it looks fucking incredible. As an IGN writer put it, this game looks so sweet your face might melt off from maximum awesome. Bayonetta is a super pissed, voluptuous witch vixen with stylish glasses and a gun in each hand, a gun in each high heel, and as if that werent enough, magical attacks from her hairdo, and sometimes she wields a katana she likes to cut people in half with. Did I mention that this game is going to be freaking sweet and that we may never hear from Darth Mikal again as he tries to get all 1000G in it?

Director Hideki Kamiya, (also creator of the critically acclaimed Ōkami and Devil May Cry series), has said that "Bayonetta will blow the doors off the action genre." Judging from just the video above alone, I have to say hes right. Weve never seen anything quite like Bayonetta before. September 1st 2009 cant come soon enough.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Super Mario Galaxy 2 Trailer

Fun. Pure and simple. Thats what I think of when I think Super Mario Bros. Looking at this video, its clear that the designers at Nintendo understand fun on an extremely deep level. Take a look at everything in the video, from the the expressions on the enemies "faces" to the color palette to the camera work to Yoshi shooting his tongue out to latch on like a Bionic Commando extension. The variety of stages presented is nothing short of astonishing. When it comes to 3D platforming games, Nintendo has no peer. But beyond the constant innovation and the constant purity of the gameplay in their Super Mario Bros series, its somehow still incredibly fun 25 years later, and thats what makes Nintendo different from other developers.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

History in The Making

Today Roger Federer won his 14th career Grand Slam title, tying him with Pete Sampras for the most all time. Defeating Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4, the same man who stunned Nadal in the fourth round, Federer became just the sixth man in history to win all 4 major tennis titles.

The disappointment for me is that Federer didnt have to go through his true rival - Nadal - to win the title. Soderling is a fine player, but was clearly outmatched in the final. In Federer, you have a player with possibly the greatest single weapon in the history of the game - a forehand shot so electrifying many times opponents simply dont even go after the ball, rather than hit a weak shot or make an error trying to return it. Add to that one of the top ten serves on the tour and a blistering net game, and Soderling was very lucky to keep the second set close. When Federer is on his A game, there are only a handful of players in the world who can touch him, and only one who has proven he can consistently beat him - Nadal.

I wanted to see another epic final match between these two titans of the tennis world, but Nadal's knee didnt agree and now hes questionable for Wimbledon. Its amazing how quickly things can change at the top in pro tennis. After Nadal won the French, Wimbledon, the gold in Beijing and then the Australian Open, there was no question who the best tennis player in the world was. Now, we are left hoping Nadal's knee problems arent career threatening, and Federer has further cemented his place as the greatest player of all time. Heres hoping we havent seen the last battle between these two all time greats - lets see them meet in another 10 grand slam finals before they are done.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Alan Wake E3 Demo

Developer Remedy has been working for years on this game, spent tens of millions of dollars, and now its finally ready - for release in 2010. Sigh. Im sure its going to be amazing when it finally gets here. Its just hard to maintain excitement for years on end, especially for a single player only game. Its a huge gamble they have taken, because this game will need to be one of the most popular of this generation to succeed, which is no small feat. Hopefully by this time next year, we will actually be playing Alan Wake.

Alpha Protocol: CGI Trailer

Dont know much about this game, other than it looks awesome.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Trailer

This is the first MMO Ive been excited about since Age of Conan - and that game was a huge bust so if this doesnt get me into MMOs, I think Im screwed. If it really is free to play online with item based microtransactions only, and it holds up to its promise of being a truly epic Star Wars game, this has the potential to drag me away from my 360 for a long, long time.

CastleVania: Lords of Shadow Trailer

Holy crap! Kojima does Castlevania? Am I dreaming?!

Uncharted 2 Gameplay

Original game is a PS3 classic, and the sequel is looking awesome.

Left 4 Dead 2

It seems too soon for a sequel no? 10,000 others thought so.

Shadow Complex: Epic Tries XBLA

Major developer takes a shot at XBLA, will it be time and money well spent on a must own XBLA classic or will this be an Epic Fail?