Monday, August 31, 2009

AION OBT Trailer

Released in Korea Nov. 2008, this MMO is going to be big.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

EA Exec On The Future of Gaming

Electronic Arts' Chief Creative Officer said that Sony and Microsoft, "nearly expired crossing the finish line as they launched their consoles," and don't want to build the next generation any time soon.

"I expected we'll see a PlayStation 3.5 before we see a PlayStation 4 and an Xbox 560 before we see an Xbox 720," Rich Hilleman told Dean Takahashi and VentureBeat."The biggest shift is how fast packaged goods games are changing and going away."

That means online distribution. On the console side, Hilleman blamed piracy and used sales for what he says is the end of games "long tail." But, he said, markets like Korea show there's plenty of growth upon which a corporate behemoth may feed.

"If I want to go to see the past of gaming, I go to Japan,"
Hilleman told Takahashi. "If I want to see the future, I go to Korea." There, he says, are 28,000 parlors where Internet gamers pay by the hour, and the establishments reap high margins off of concession sales.


Monday, August 24, 2009

2nd Tour, Hope I Dont Die

If you want to get a little bit of a sense of what the wars are like in Afghanistan and Iraq — a small, distant sense of the on-the-ground horror — pick up a book of color photos called, “2nd Tour, Hope I Don’t Die.” It’s chilling.

Most Americans have conveniently put these two absurd, obscene conflicts out of their minds. There’s an economy to worry about and snappy little messages to tweet. Nobody wants to think about young people getting their faces or their limbs blown off. Or the parents, loaded with antidepressants, giving their children and spouses a final hug before heading off in a haze of anxiety to their third or fourth tour in the war zones.

The book is the work of the photographer Peter van Agtmael, who has spent a great deal of time following American combat troops in both countries. One of the photos in the book shows an Army captain standing exhausted and seemingly forlorn on the blood-slicked floor of a combat support hospital in Baghdad. Mr. van Agtmael was sensitive to the heavy psychological load borne by the medical personnel, writing in the caption:

“Their humor was dark and their expressions often flat and distant when they treated patients. The worst casualties were given nicknames. One soldier melted by the fire caused by an I.E.D. blast was called ‘goo man.’ But certain casualties would hit home, especially injured children. Some staff resorted to painkillers and other drugs.”

The war in Afghanistan made sense once but it doesn’t any longer. The war in Iraq never did. And yet, with most of the country tuned out entirely, we’re still suiting up the soldiers and the Marines, putting them on planes and sending them off with a high stakes (life or death) roll of the dice.

“2nd Tour, Hope I Don’t Die.”

Or maybe it’s the third tour, or fourth, or fifth. The book’s title came from graffiti scrawled on a wall at an Air Force base in Kuwait that was one of the transit points for troops heading to Iraq. America’s young fighting men and women have to make these multiple tours because the overwhelming majority of the American people want no part of the nation’s wars. They don’t want to serve, they don’t want to make any sacrifices here on the home front — they don’t even want to pay the taxes that would be needed to raise the money to pay for the wars. We just add the trillions to deficits that stretch as far as the eye can see.

To the extent that we think about the wars at all, it’s just long enough to point our fingers at the volunteers and say: “Oh yeah, great. You go. And if you come back maimed or dead we’ll salute you as a hero.”

And what are we sending them off to? There’s a photo of Nick Sprovtsoff, a sergeant from Flint, Mich., lying awake in his bunk at a patrol outpost in Afghanistan. He looks like a tough guy in the picture, but he also looks worried. The caption says:

“On his third tour, he was there to advise a local platoon of the Afghan army. The Afghan soldiers rarely wanted to patrol, preferring to watch DVDs and smoke hash. Their favorite movie was ‘Titanic.’ ”

(A Page 1 headline in Sunday’s New York Times read, “Marines Fight With Little Aid From Afghans.”)

A clear idea of the pathetic unwillingness of the American people to share in the sacrifices of these wars can be gleaned from a comment that President Obama made in his address last week to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “We are a country of more than 300 million Americans,” he said. “Less than 1 percent wears the uniform.”

The president was not chiding those who are not serving, he was only intending to praise those who are. But the idea that so few are willing to serve at a time when the nation is fighting two long wars is a profound indictment on the society.

If we had a draft — or merely the threat of a draft — we would not be in Iraq or Afghanistan. But we don’t have a draft so it’s safe for most of the nation to be mindless about waging war.

Instead of winding down our involvement in Afghanistan, we’re ratcheting it up. President Obama told the V.F.W. that fighting the war there is absolutely essential. “This is fundamental to the defense of our people,” he said.

Well, if this war, now approaching its ninth year, is so fundamental, we should all be pitching in. We shouldn’t be leaving the entire monumental burden to a tiny portion of the population, sending them into combat again, and again, and again, and again ...

Bob Herbert
The New York Times

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Zero Punctuation: Silent Hill 2

Yahtzee describes SH2's story as "like fucking a burning dolphin."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Avatar Trailer

3D gaming comes to the Xbox 360 and PS3, but you need a 120hz TV.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why We Need Health Care Reform

Our nation is now engaged in a great debate about the future of health care in America. And over the past few weeks, much of the media attention has been focused on the loudest voices. What we haven’t heard are the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them.

I don’t have to explain to the nearly 46 million Americans who don’t have health insurance how important this is. But it’s just as important for Americans who do have health insurance.

There are four main ways the reform we’re proposing will provide more stability and security to every American.

First, if you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of high-quality, affordable coverage for yourself and your family — coverage that will stay with you whether you move, change your job or lose your job.

Second, reform will finally bring skyrocketing health care costs under control, which will mean real savings for families, businesses and our government. We’ll cut hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and inefficiency in federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid and in unwarranted subsidies to insurance companies that do nothing to improve care and everything to improve their profits.

, by making Medicare more efficient, we’ll be able to ensure that more tax dollars go directly to caring for seniors instead of enriching insurance companies. This will not only help provide today’s seniors with the benefits they’ve been promised; it will also ensure the long-term health of Medicare for tomorrow’s seniors. And our reforms will also reduce the amount our seniors pay for their prescription drugs.

, reform will provide every American with some basic consumer protections that will finally hold insurance companies accountable. A 2007 national survey actually shows that insurance companies discriminated against more than 12 million Americans in the previous three years because they had a pre-existing illness or condition. The companies either refused to cover the person, refused to cover a specific illness or condition or charged a higher premium.

We will put an end to these practices. Our reform will prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage because of your medical history. Nor will they be allowed to drop your coverage if you get sick. They will not be able to water down your coverage when you need it most. They will no longer be able to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or in a lifetime. And we will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses. No one in America should go broke because they get sick.

Most important, we will require insurance companies to cover routine checkups, preventive care and screening tests like mammograms and colonoscopies. There’s no reason that we shouldn’t be catching diseases like breast cancer and prostate cancer on the front end. It makes sense, it saves lives and it can also save money.

This is what reform is about. If you don’t have health insurance, you will finally have quality, affordable options once we pass reform. If you have health insurance, we will make sure that no insurance company or government bureaucrat gets between you and the care you need. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. You will not be waiting in any lines. This is not about putting the government in charge of your health insurance. I don’t believe anyone should be in charge of your health care decisions but you and your doctor — not government bureaucrats, not insurance companies.

The long and vigorous debate about health care that’s been taking place over the past few months is a good thing. It’s what America’s all about.

But let’s make sure that we talk with one another, and not over one another. We are bound to disagree, but let’s disagree over issues that are real, and not wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that anyone has actually proposed. This is a complicated and critical issue, and it deserves a serious debate.

Despite what we’ve seen on television, I believe that serious debate is taking place at kitchen tables all across America. In the past few years, I’ve received countless letters and questions about health care. Some people are in favor of reform, and others have concerns. But almost everyone understands that something must be done. Almost everyone knows that we must start holding insurance companies accountable and give Americans a greater sense of stability and security when it comes to their health care.

I am confident that when all is said and done, we can forge the consensus we need to achieve this goal. We are already closer to achieving health-insurance reform than we have ever been. We have the American Nurses Association and the American Medical Association on board, because our nation’s nurses and doctors know firsthand how badly we need reform. We have broad agreement in Congress on about 80 percent of what we’re trying to do. And we have an agreement from the drug companies to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors. The AARP supports this policy, and agrees with us that reform must happen this year.

In the coming weeks, the cynics and the naysayers will continue to exploit fear and concerns for political gain. But for all the scare tactics out there, what’s truly scary — truly risky — is the prospect of doing nothing. If we maintain the status quo, we will continue to see 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance every day. Premiums will continue to skyrocket. Our deficit will continue to grow. And insurance companies will continue to profit by discriminating against sick people.

That is not a future I want for my children, or for yours. And that is not a future I want for the United States of America.

In the end, this isn’t about politics. This is about people’s lives and livelihoods. This is about people’s businesses. This is about America’s future, and whether we will be able to look back years from now and say that this was the moment when we made the changes we needed, and gave our children a better life. I believe we can, and I believe we will.

Barack Obama
The New York Times

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nowhere To Hide

The A-Team made it all the way on our very first try at Nowhere.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The A Team Intro - Metal Remix

In 2003, a crack commando unit was formed playing Burnout 3 online. These men promptly escaped from Operation Burnout to the greater Xbox Live underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire...

The A-Team.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

RAGE Quakecon Trailer

So this is the trailer for id software's newest game Rage, which uses their brand new Tech 5 graphics engine. The game promises a post apocalyptic, Mad Max style game world, where fuel, race wins and headshots are the commodities of choice. While the idea sounds interesting, and the game still some develpment time before its 2010 release, this trailer didnt do too much to impress me. Apparently the engine was created with developers in mind, not users, so pure graphical quality was never the ultimate goal, ease of use was, although the engine does support some ridiculous texture sizes.

Ultimately the quality and utlity of the engine will be judged by other developers, and the games they make, as well as the public who consumes them. RAGE could prove to be an intersting romp, but from the trailer alone Im thinking I might be better off playing Fallout 3 for a few hours and then a bit of Burnout 3 or Motorstorm. Those are 3 games which create unique, compelling experiences which draw the user back over and over again, and if Rage can come remotely close to duplicating the gameplay of any of them, it will be a huge success.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Brutal Legend Soundtrack Reveal

The Brutal Legend track list is so long, so epic, so metal, that it was possible for game designer Tim Schaffer to solve a Rubix Cube in the time it takes to read the whole list aloud. After reading the list, I can certainly agree it immediately vaults into the conversation for greatest game soundtrack ever. It is printed in the comments section for those of you that wish to peruse over the 100+ songs.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Lag Switch is Real, Frighteningly

This video has almost 600,000 hits on Youtube.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Zero Puncuation: Wii Sports Resort

I have been playing this over the past few days, Uber Crunch has checked it out as well, and we have to agree the game is amazingly fun, very simple to pick up or put down, and seriously addictive. Uber seems most fond of the Table Tennis and the Sword Fighting, and is already a Canoeing expert, Im quite enthralled by the Golf, Frisbee events, Archery, and the exploratory Flight mode. Overall, I have to say its a must buy for Wii owners - the promise of full analog control has finally been delivered on. If you havent checked out the amazing Wii Motion Plus acessory, I highly recommend you do so first with this game, and of course a few good friends.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A-Ha: Take On Me

Was it a dream? Was it reality? Or just an artists illusion?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Turtles In Time ReShelled: GT Review

Bond and I played through most of this last night and I have to say it was pretty fun and brought back many good memories. While the new graphics look nice, the music and sound are a definite downgrade from the original arcade version, which is a disappointment. The game remains extremely simple to play, even for an arcade style beatemup. There are 2 attack buttons, jump, and you move from left to right killing everything and dodging myriad environmental obstacles, while fighting the occasional boss. For 800 points its a fun trip down memory lane, but I cant see myself playing it more than once in a while, especially with a top notch vintage beatemup like Streets of Rage 2 on XBLA, and next gen beatemups like Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 coming down the pipe.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trials HD Trailer

Its Flatout on a motorcycle with a level editor, coming 8/12 to XBLA.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fat Princess: IGN Review

Fun and zany downloadable game available only on PS3.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday, August 2, 2009