Does gore=quality?

The simple answer is of course not. But you'd think with all the painting of Nintendo as a company with a "kiddie" image the last few years (and the general reaction to any game that didn't have an "M" rating), you'd think the level of violence (and in some cases sex/nudity)actually correlated to the level of quality. And here's where the Manhunt series comes in. See, though the first one was essentially an exercise in pure depravity, which some people definitely got a kick out of, I wouldn't really consider a high quality title. Now with the highly controversial sequel finally hitting stores in a few days, one has to wonder if the game is actually any good? My honest to god guess is that it's going to be a fairly mediocre experience. But hey, at least you can't complain about the Wii not having any M-rated titles!

I'm making one last plea to all Wii owners, current and future: BUY ZACK & WIKI. This is a game you should not miss out on. I've mostly said my piece on this brilliant title, but maybe some highlights from the dudes over at Destructoid will help you make the right choice:




If you own a Wii and you don't purchase Zack and Wiki, you are a bad person.

I want to go out on a couple of quick plugs, first my buddy Kevin has a new site where he gives humor-filled reviews of bizarre old arcade titles-The Arcade Diaries. This is the one guy I know who can school me in just about any area of game knowledge, so he definitely knows his stuff and it's a very worthy read.

The second, in case I don't update before Tuesday, is for the sixth season of Scrubs, out on DVD Tuesday. As I said when discussing the season premiere, there are some definite low points, but the worst episodes of this show is still better than 95% of anything else on TV, so it's well worth your money to go pick this up.



The most terryfing thing about Saw IV....

Is it's mere existence. The continuing popularity of this ridiculously bad series perplexes me to no end. I mean really, how much can you stretch this concept, especially when you killed off both the main villain and his protege in the last movie, yet are probably making not just a 5th, but a 6th movie. I think what bothers me the most is not just that these things make money, but that people somehow think this stuff even passes for good trashy horror when it's really just trash. I hope people send a message this weekend by not going into theatres, but given the take of 30 Days of Night, another awful horror film, I seriously doubt it.

I was able to catch the season premiere of Scrubs, and it definitely showed a solid return to form, which is a good indicator of going out strong.

That's really all I got for today, but I'll leave you with these new Super Mario Galaxy gameplay vids that popped up on Gametrailers today:


Monkeys + Pirates=Pure WIN

Joining IGN, Kotaku, and just about every sensible gaming website/blog on the planet. I am pleading with every Wii owner to go out and buy Zack & Wiki this week. Preferably in about 10 hours when it should actually be in stores. You want to send a message that 3rd parties can succeed on the Wii, that not everything has to be a collection of 2nd-rate minigames, that something daring and original can actually succeed? This is your chance right here. For all the whining the gaming public does about cookie cutter sequels and shoddy rushed licensed cash grabs, when something daring and great comes along, they often miss the boat. We saw it with Beyond Good & Evil, we saw it with Psychonauts, and we really saw it with Okami (although at least that's getting a second chance on the Wii next year). I really can't say anymore on the subject except to just go out and buy the damn thing. If your budget is a little tight, the bigger games like Guitar Hero III will still be in plentiful supply whenever you have the money and you know it. With a game like this, you never know if the case is going to be the same, so don't miss out.

And also a quick reminder that the FINAL SEASON of Scrubs starts this Thursday. I fully admit that last season was a low point, but still had some really strong episodes, and hopefully they'll finish this off in a classy way unlike so many other long-running shows that essentially cop out or aren't even worth caring about anymore.

Trailer of the week: Drillbit Taylor

Drillbit Taylor - Trailer

Posted Sep 24, 2007

Two high school freshman are targeted by the school bully on the first day of school. The boys hire what they think is a low-budget soldier of fortune to protect them, but he turns out to be anything but.


Dumbledore isn't gay

Just to be clear, I don't care what sexual orientation of anybody, especially a fictional character in a book, is. But J.K. Rowling's recent "revelation" about Harry Potter's mentor when there was not even a hint of such a thing in any of the 7 novels and the fact that no hint was given by anybody else prior leads one to believe at this point she's just throwing random shit out there to try and drum up continual interest in the series even though it will probably be wildly popular for years to come. It really just seems like a cheap publicity stunt that'll have no merit. I mean, are we going to have any further delvings into Dumbledore's early years that dealt with this side of him? Probably not, which makes the "stunning" announcement pretty goddamn moot. Next she'll probably say Hermoine is a Neoconservative...

This is a huge week for gamers that may end up putting a huge dent in their overall holiday budgets. First off, we have the mega-hit series Guitar Hero III hitting every home console that still has a pulse. I get the reason it's so popular, but I honestly haven't ever picked up the controller for it and rocked out. I think the $90-$100 price tag gives me major pause as well. One day I may get into this series, but this just doesn't seem like the time with all the other games I'm much more interested in hitting stores now or in the near future.

2 of which do hit stores this week. First up is a great new puzzle game for the Wii; Zack & Wiki. For all those who complain the Wii is all about casual games, this is one of those quirky awesome games that hardcore gamers should love, but the look and style will probably cause it to be ignored by those who would enjoy it best. IGN has been campaigning for every Wii owner to pick this up and I wholeheartedly support them in this. This will be the Wii sleeper title of the year, and may even offer a more rewarding experience than Mario Galaxy.

The second is one of those games that finally makes PS3 owners dust off their systems and pick up a controller in Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. Granted, it's not much of a change from previous titles, which with 5 R & C games in the last 6 years may be a bit much. But hey, it's something until Drake's Fortune finally hits.

The dark horse this week is Eye of Judgement, which launches with the PS3 eye (aka eyetoy). It's an interesting experiment, to be sure, but it's still a freaking card game with an unnecessary peripheral that really adds nothing to the gameplay. I'd like to see this version of the eyetoy actually be put to some good use unlike on the PS2, but I seriously doubt it's gonna happen.

Free Game of the Week: Strategy Defense


Ben Affleck's future

May clearly be behind the camera. Unlike most jaded internet jackasses, this is not a dig on his ability to act. Hell, anybody who watched Hollywoodland should know the guy has some chops. But he's arguably getting his best acclaim to date in his directorial debut of the new mystery-thriller Gone Baby Gone. It looks great, so I'm definitely going to check it out this weekend and hopefully people won't avoid it just because Ben Affleck made a few bad films.

Sadly though, people will probably turn out in droves for the suckfest that will be 30 Days of Night. I mean really. Vampires in Alaska? With only Josh Hartnett to stand against them? Sounds like a 2nd rate Sci Fi channel movie, not a worthwhile theatrical release.

But also worth checking out this weekend is the re-release of one of my all time favorite films, The Nightmare Before Christmas. I haven't gotten a chance to check it out in 3D, which is something they've been doing for a few years now, so I expect to have a very good time checking it out this weekend.

Are game companies reading my blog? Probably Not, but two things I've been championing for awhile have sort of happened, so of course I'll believe it's all due to my efforts! Firstly Little Mac is actually in Brawl! Unfortunately, it's only as an assist trophy, which is a bit of a jip, but at least he's in there. Much more exciting though, is that Okami has been officially announced for the Wii! A true sequel would probably be a little more welcomed, but of all the ports being made, none makes more sense then Okami. Hopefully it will not be criminally ignored like it was on PS2. Actually makes me sort of glad I never finished the original...




Yeesh. Just after I get my 360 back, my computer completely dies on me. I'm not sure of the exact reason, as I've had plenty of times where the thing crashed and took awhile to right itself, but it usually recovered. I didn't have anything truly important on there thankfully, but it's already a pain getting new passwords for everything and I dread the long prospect of re-installing most if not all of my music (plus some files I'll probably have to download all over again). This forced me into buying a new computer, which I was sort of seriously thinking about anyways, but I'd rather I had time to pick something out I knew was perfect for me at a great deal than just having to grab one thing by the end of work today so I had something to keep me connected to the oh so precious interwebs. I definitely went for simplicity as although it's a new laptop that while most likely far superior to my relatively powerful as of 3 years ago rig, probably can't run any current top games. But as I thought about it, I couldn't think of many enough PC games that would warrant me spending the kind of money required for a suitable gaming machine, so I just went with the simple model that could easily do the basic stuff any pc these days should be able to do. Probably could've gone even cheaper if I went with the tower equivalent, but what the hell, I like the idea that I can actually take this with me if the need arises.

Making some headway in the mountain of games I'm currently trying to tackle, I did beat Bioshock on Friday. It's an incredible experience, to be sure. But I do think one area they could've improved on was boss fights, especially the final one, since he had a ridiculously easy pattern and was dumb as a rock in a game mostly praised for its AI component.

I also saw Michael Clayton, which while I thought it was a tad too predictable, was extremely well acted and an excellent choice for anyone craving a really solid legal thriller.

FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Portal: The Flash version


Bioware & Pandemic sell their souls

Bioware & Pandemic. Pandemic is a very solid developer in its own right, but Bioware has created some of the great masterpieces of the last decade; with The Knights of the Old Republic games & the upcoming Mass Effect under their belt. Now we may see nothing but quick cash-in sequels with little to no innovation, because they have been bought by EA lock, stock & barrel. I'm going to try and be optimistic and hope that EA is finally listening to their critics and acquiring some real talent to make some quality games. If they really give these studios creative freedom, we can see some great stuff (maybe even some great licensed games) come out of it. But I have a bad feeling we'll bee seeing yearly sequels of some sort meant to cash in on their previous efforts.

Nintendo follows up some of their best news ever (Sonic being in Brawl), with some of their worst, as they made it official today that Nintendo's all-star beat em up will not reach US shores until February. This is certainly disheartening news, but again, with so many huge titles out this year, I seriously doubt anyone will really notice it's absence. Wii owners will probably still be playing through Mario Galaxy.

I finally did see The Kingdom, which sort of plays like a slightly more competent Michael Bay message film. There is solid acting all around and hints of a taut political thriller, but anytime the plot starts really delving we get loud explosions and lots of gunfire, and sealed up in a trite attempt at how we aren't so different form one another or something. It's still a solid flick I'd recommend for a bargain matinee or a rental.

Which means this weekend I will most likely be checking out Michael Clayton, which does open nationwide, as it seems to be the closest thing to a safe bet. The only other major film even worth mentioning this weekend is We Own the Night, which seems more like a cheesy Steven Segal/Charles Bronson vehicle than something that Mark Wahlberg or Joaquin Phoenix should waste their time on. But of course Segal's career is long dead & Bronson is just plain dead so I guess somebody has to fill these kind of roles.

I forget to mention it in my last post, but if you own a PSP, you should probably pick up Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, which shipped out this week. The original is a true strategy classic that way too many people missed out on and is now a e-bay treasure. But if you have a PSP, you have no excuse not to pick this up & if you were thinking about getting one, this is a good reason to. It may never measure up to the DS, but I believe the PSP is finally becoming a solid choice for a portable system with a decent library finally shaping up. It's just a shame it took this long to get there.



Too much of a good thing?

The Orange Box is easily the biggest game release this week, and arguably the best deal ever. For a mere $60, you get arguably the greatest shooter to date, Half Life 2, it two episodic expansions, the heavily anticipated multi-player frag fest Team Fortress 2 & the very unique puzzle game known as Portal. Unfortunately, thanks to my 360 being out of commission for about a month, I may have to hold off on this purchase til I at least finish Bioshock and/or Stranglehold/Eternal Sonata/Blue Dragon. But if your gaming schedule isn't as clogged up as mine, I highly recommend picking up this great value.

OMG! SONIC IS CONFIRMED FOR SMASH BROS. Excuse while I joygasm, you can too while watching his intro vid:

In addition, some official titles for Nintendo's downloadable service, Wii Ware, were announced. Final Fantasy as a downloadable title? Could be interesting.

That's really all I got for today. But check out this sweet new music vid I made for the upcoming Wii title No More Heroes:


How about a seeker of movies that don't suck?

Cause this weekend major releases are sorely lacking in the quality department. First up, we have the latest attempt to spawn some new Harry Potter-esque franchise with The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. How much of this crap do we have to suffer through? The reason the Harry Potter films (and the Lord of the Rings films) have worked is because they weren't cheap obvious cash-ins. These latest attempts reek of of exactly that.

I really hope Heartbreak Kid delivers the message that everybody else as tired of Ben Stiller's one-note neurotic act as I am. He's still fairly funny in supporting roles that are different from his usual shtick (see Dodgeball), but the guy hasn't really been able to carry a film in years.

It doesn't open nationwide until next Friday, but George Clooney's latest, Michael Clayton actually looks worthwhile, and it's playing here, so I definitely plan on checking it out.

The PS3 store unleashed a demo of the upcoming Simpsons game by EA. That'll teach me to get excited about a licensed product. I honestly thought because EA wasn't rushing this, it'd be one of the few Simpsons games that didn't completely suck. But aside from really solid presentation. like many EA games, this was a mess of bad control and outright poorly designed gameplay that brings to mind who the hell thought this would be entertaining?

A $400, 40-gig PS3 is all but confirmed. Will this be the move the PS3 needs to finally compete? A decent selection of software wouldn't hurt, but this is a good step. The real question is what is being sacrificed aside from unnecessary hard drive space? The removal of a couple of usb ports and the card slot isn't very significant but I have heard rumors of a complete lack of backwards playability, which given the current (and for the near future) library, would be a very bad thing indeed. I honestly don't think price is as much of an issue as something to really sell the system, which probably won't happen until Killzone 2 finally hits. Assuming it even delivers.




The greatest potential of the Wii's virtual console is most definitely to play those gems we never really got a chance to play on their original systems, be it because they were just too obscure or in the case of today's releases, not even released on these shores. I mean sure, you could've picked up the real Super Mario Bros. 2 in a couple of compilations over the years, but this is the first time you get the original, completely unaltered version. And oddly enough, Treasure's 3D masterpiece, Sin & Punishment, never saw the light of day here in any previous form. Hopefully this is the first of a stream of unreleased greatest foreign hits (Mother 3, anyone?).

If the Halo hubbub has died down (or your just looking for some portable goodness), the next great game of 07 is upon us-Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass hits tomorrow and will probably be the last Zelda game for quite awhile given how often they pump out these things, so take your time with it. I'm not sure how I feel about the switch to strictly stylus controls, but if they are able to keep the game fun, that's really all I care about.

After two episodes, I'm about ready to give up on Chuck, NBC's new "high-concept" "comedy". It's too bad, cause the premise seems interesting enough, and I'll watch Adam Baldwin in just about anything, but this series just seems flat to me. It's not like there's much else on Mondays at 8 though, so I might give it a couple more tries before completely writing it off.


Stephen King's The Mist