A man out of time...

I hope everybody had a great Christmas, I finally got (in addition to  few other things) the killer apps for the 3DS, Super Mario Land 3D and Mario Kart 7. They are great games to be sure, classic examples of a near perfect formula Nintendo has been relying on for decades, but it also is a fairly blunt reminder that they haven't really tried anything truly new for awhile. Mario Land 3D is classic hop-n-bop play, but aside from some nifty 3D effects, it isn't any huge leap forward. Mario hasn't really had a huge leap forward since Super Mario 64. Galaxy was a refinement of that, and 2 was even more of that. Great games, but nothing truly new. This one actually takes a step further back by re-introducing a time limit on levels that actively discourages really playing around in the areas and exploring. Granted the areas aren't that big, but it's still annoying.

But Mario Kart 7 commits far bigger crime. Again it's a good game, a very fun game, but it's also an incredibly lazy game. The cast of racers is pretty small, the long overdue customization options fairly limited and the new tricks like gliding and going underwater don't do anything. I got Mario Kart DS 6 years ago and still play it to this day, it is arguably the best iteration of the series. Now it's always hard to top the high point, but this one doesn't even try. When Nintendo with "7" for this title, most people's reactions amounted to, "it's only the 7th game?" meaning fatigue was setting in and this title has done nothing to even really try and stop it.

Now these aren't bad games, far from it, but they are really showing Nintendo's reluctance to actually try new ideas. If they can't learn to do this, people will stop buying the same game with a new cover at some point, and they won't have any clue how to fix that...

That's all for today, I should have another post up in the next couple of days. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Prometheus


Vita=epic fail?

So the PS Vita launched in Japan. While the PSP wasn't a success worldwide, in Japan it was right up there with the DS, an essential thing for people to own. Now while it's turned things around with a solid library and a massive price cut, the 3DS was kind of a bust after the initial hot sales. Well, the PS Vita certainly avoided those issues right?

Well, not according to the initial launch figures. It actually did significantly worse than the 3DS performed, and considering it did have a solid launch lineup and came out during the crucial Christmas season (which if you aren't aware is just as big in Japan as it is here) that implies far worse trouble down the road. What was the problem? Well it pretty much boils down to price. At minimum buying a Vita, a game and a memory card would run you over $400! Did Sony learn absolutely nothing from the horribly botched PS3 launch? The ridiculous expense was cited as a major factor for no one buying it at first, and here we go again. Maybe they'll be able to pull a major u-turn much like the 3DS has been able to do. But, considering Sony as a company has been hemorrhaging money for several years and they have repeatedly shown a rather bull-headed approach to... well, everything; it's unlikely they'll get the message that in a world of a pretty savage economy and cheap mobile games, that a portable system costing more than a big screen TV isn't going fly.

That's it for today, I will try and get another post in before Christmas, but no promises. In the mean time, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Hobbit


The Top Ten 2012 games I'm looking forward to.

Christmas is nearly upon us and most of us gamers will hopefully have a heaping pile of games to play with, but that's no reason to not already be thinking about all the awesome games we already know are due out next year. While there will certainly be some surprises coming, here's 10 that I'm really looking forward to checking out:

#10. Final Fantasy XIII-2: A lot of people were divided over FFXIII with it's very linear structure and the fact that about 90% of the game felt like a tutorial. I still enjoyed the story and battle system so this is something I'm really looking forward too. And seeing that it's coming out at the end of January it should be a good rpg fix to hold me over right until Mass Effect 3 hits in March.

#9: A Game of Thrones: I haven't watched the TV show yet, but I've spent the last couple months completely engrossed in the absolutely amazing fantasy series by George R.R. Martin, so I'm very potentially excited about an RPG based on it. Granted the margin for error is high, but hopefully the importance of the license will make the developers actually give a rat's ass. After all, this isn't something you can market to a wide audience to begin with given the subject matter.

#8: Xenoblade Chronicles: Aka a reason to turn on your Wii in 2012. In what will certainly be it's twilight year, with the Wii U on the horizon and releases slowing to a crawl, the Wii may still have one of it's best years for core gamers with a few rare gems coming out and Xenoblade Chronicles being one of them as it's one of the best reviewed Japanese rpgs of the last few years.

#7: Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time : As much as Ratchet & Clank are the definitive Sony platforming series, Sly Cooper had a series of completely awesome games and then seemed to be sadly forgotten. But then we got the Sly Cooper collection and the announcement of a new game for the PS3! It should easily be one of the most awesome platformers to come out this year.

#6: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch: Level 5 hasn't had the greatest track record as of late but they made some of my favorite PS2 rpgs and this collaboration with the legendary Studio Ghibli looks absolutely gorgeous and promises to be a worthy and magical experience like most of their films.

#5: Luigi's Mansion 2: Luigi's Mansion on the Gamecube didn't really get a fair shake, but then again it was a good quirky title not a showcase title or killer app that sells a ssystem. It was a really fun game, and so I'm happy to see a much-expanded sequel happening, plus I've always been very partial to Luigi over Mario, so seeing him get some spotlight again is awesome.

#4: Bioshock Infinite: After the second Bioshock, I think most people thought the steam had run out and were wary of yet another adventure in the underwater utopia gone astray. Infinite went pretty much the opposite way. taking things to the sky, adding an actual protagonist and a skyline you can ride to boot. All the previews have looked incredibly stunning and this looks to be GOTY material already, I don't know who wouldn't be excited about it.

#3: Paper Mario 3DS:  Aside from a brief showing at E3, we don't know a whole lot about this newest Paper Mario game, but given all the previous ones have been completely excellent, the mere existence should be enough to excite any 3DS owner. The Paper Mario games always deliver compelling gameplay and humor, this one should be no different.

#2: Kid Icarus: Uprising: AKA the game that the 3DS should've launched with. I mean seriously, this is the game that got everybody excited, and they've been fine tuning it for goddamn ever. So it better be awesome. Luckily all the evidence points to it making another strong case that while the 3DS did have a rough first year, it's really turning things around in 2012.

#1. Mass Effect 3: Yeah it's an obvious choice, but that doesn't make it wrong. The epic final chapter of arguably the greatest franchise of this generation of consoles, can it possibly live up to the massive hype? My money is actually on yes and I can't wait to save the galaxy with Mordin, Garrus and the rest of the crew of the Normandy.

That's all for today. I should get another post up Tuesday. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Santa Rockstar 4



It's a well established fact that everyone's favorite speedy blue hedgehog has had a rough go overall this generation, his best game being a rather half-hearted attempt to mix the glory of his past with the shame of his present. In fact anyone who started with this generation might justifiably wonder why anybody ever held Sonic in high regard to begin with. If you want to show or see why, check out this week's XBLA release of Sonic CD. Few even played this as it was released on the very terrible Sega CD, but it was not only one of the few great games for that system, it is also generally regarded as the best Sonic game made so at a measly $5 it is well worth your time to download this classic, maybe as a gift to yourself or possibly even your kids who have only seen the terrible modern Sonic games.

And with the year almost out, we finally have a full list of the free GBA games for those of us who were early 3DS adopters. It isn't officially confirmed for the US, but it seems pretty likely we'll be able to download them tomorrow with everyone else in the world. I'm sure there will be some bitching, there always is, but I haven't gotten to play a lot of these games and they are all highly regarded so I'm pretty stoked, especially about Mario Kart Super Circuit (only Mario Kart game I've never owned) and Minish Cap. I know it was off to a pretty rocky start and the slide pad still seems awful and unnecessary but it's got some solid titles now with more on the way and is selling incredibly well so as usual the prophets of Nintendo's doom are way off.

That;s all for today, I will try to get another post up for tomorrow, until then here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: G.I. Joe: Retaliation


The week of half-assed updates

So if you own either a 3DS or a 360 there was a big update this week. That didn't seem fully fleshed out. The 3DS added a couple of nifty things like 3D video recording and a much evolved Find Mii sequel so that's cool, but how about some other games or more ways to collect coins to use in them? Nintendo Zone seems like an potentially interesting idea, but if it's a guessing game of us taking our 3DS' to various locales just hoping for content that's kind of lame. And where the hell are the last 10 free games? Nintendo has been swearing us early adopters should be getting them by the end of the year, and that's fast approaching with no set date.

But Nintendo's update wasn't a big deal to begin with so maybe we shouldn't expect so much. Microsoft's yearly update is considered a big del however and it has stumbled right out of the gate. Not even offering half of the promised content such as Youtube or HBO Go(which is now just coming at some point next year), bricking some 360s and maybe I'll get used to it, but the new "metro" design seems clumsy as hell. Pretty much the only good improvement I see is the Bing search feature which does make it easier to look for stuff. But it seems like Microsoft really dropped the ball here.

That's it for today, I'll hopefully get in another post this weekend. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Mario Mini Golf


A little rainfall...

You can find petitions and causes for just about anything these days on the internet. Most of the time it's pretty pointless and nothing gets accomplished but once in a rare while the internet shows it does indeed have some pull. Firefly would not have gotten a feature film without the internet. Futurama would probably not have gotten a second life without the internet. And the future of the brilliant and criminally underwatched Community may hinge on the internet since that's the reason it's on the cover of TV guide this week.

There are many game petitions as well and with good reason since a lot of quality games never see the light of day over here. Of course 99% amount to nothing, but the folks over at Project Rainfall may have actually accomplished this rare feat, as one of the major games they are campaigning for, Xenoblade Chronicles, is now due for a stateside release next year, thus giving Wii owners an actual reason to turn on their Wiis next year. Sales of Xenoblade Chronicles may lead to the release of the other 2 titles Operation Rainfall is petitioning for, Pandora's Tower and The Last Story (which I have been salivating over and hoping for myself). I certainly plan to purchase Xenoblade Chronicles in April, and I hope the core Wii gamer speaks up for once and gets it too. It may prove there's a bit more life left in the system after all.

That's all for today. Here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Cabin in the Woods


The Top 10 actors who should be considered for the Doctor Who movie...

A Doctor Who movie is coming, no use whining about it. The fact that David Yates is the one directing gives me some faith because he managed to do a pretty awesome job with the last few Harry Potter films and could turn Doctor Who into the worldwide phenomenon it deserves to be if it's done correctly. Of course key will be casting someone who pull off the many facets of personality the make The Doctor. Someone who can be in turns funny and serious, goofy and terrifying, and above all insanely brilliant. Very few actors can fit that role nicely, but I've compiled a list of 10 I think could give it a very good go. I have stayed away from obvious top nerd picks like Nathan Fillion (He can't be in everything people!) and Simon Pegg (he could do goofy sure enough, but I would never think of him as a serious threat), but I think most nerds would be pretty pleased with this casting as well.

#10: Stephen Fry: Not a chance in hell, but British comedic legend Stephen Fry would absolutely kill in a off-kilter casting decision. Maybe as a more worn-down tired of saving humanity's ass time and time again and needs to find a reason to keep going. Fry has the ability to show the real brilliance that shines through in the best Doctor Who moments, and the acerbic with and lack of tolerance for idiocy the Doctor has when he's at his wit's end as well. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure Michael Bay has a better chance of winning best director than of Fry's name even being suggested.

#9: Eddie Izzard: Slightly more likely than Fry but not by much. Bitingly and savagely brilliant though, which would make him an unusual casting choice but a great fit with the right script. And he can do good serious drama as he's shown in a few roles over the years. I think if this was strictly a British affair he might at least get a serious audition if he was interested, but they are understandably going for a bigger worldwide audience.

#8: James Marsters: Already a huge sci-fi icon, and an actual Whoverse alum, playing Captain John Hart in the spin-off series Torchwood. He's shown huge range, namely in his longest running and most well known role as Spike the vampire in the Buffy and Angel shows. He went from terrifying killer to hero and being an occasional goofball in-between effortlessly. Also in keeping with the fact that the Doctor seems more ageless with each incarnation, he's nearly 50 and looks like he's in his late 20s. A bit of a dark horse because obviously he hasn't landed that huge breakthrough role, but this could be and should be it.

#7: Helen Mirren: The Doctor doesn't have to be a man, but has always been played as one. Mirren is easily at the top of the list of a few women who could bring every great nuance needed to the role of an ancient yet timeless soul. The best thing about Mirren and what makes her perfect for the role is that she is absolutely fearless and seems to get more so every year, which any real top choice for playing the Doctor should be a per-requisite. If they are going to go for the first female Doctor, Mirren should really be the only one they are even looking at.

#6: Robert Carlyle: As great as most of the previously named actors are at playing some of the more well-known facets of the Doctor, one thing any actor playing the Timelord needs to be able to do is show just how haunted he is. This is a man who makes difficult, universe-altering decisions on  regular basis, and not everything gets wrapped in a tidy bow, Friends have gotten hurt or killed, innocents get murdered, entire races are destroyed and never to the Doctor's enjoyment. He doesn't like destroying his enemies, and it weighs on him a lot. Few actors can do haunted like Robert Carlyle. So if you want to do something of a more serious time-traveler who has been weighed down by all the decisions he had to make over the centuries, Carlyle should be right at the top of the list.

#5: Chiwetel Ejiofor: Much like there has never been a woman Doctor, there has yet to be a Black Doctor, and there are few Black actors out there who would be able to pull off and not overshadow the role, because while Ejiofor is certainly a known face and respected actor he isn't a Denzel or a Smith. It could be the overdue breakout role for him (assuming he is not cast as Black Panther, which would be awesome).

#4: Gary Oldman : Whether it's as the one good cop in a corrupt city, or crazy villain in league with a sentient evil force, Gary Oldman is one of the most awesome actors living today, and a complex role like the Doctor is pretty much his bread and butter. He's got enough talent to do the role justice and enough star power that he might actually be considered, so let's hope he's at least in the running.

#3. Alan Rickman: But if there's someone more awesome than Oldman, it's Alan Rickman. And to date, he's never really played a big damn hero role, really Severus Snape is the closest thing, and that was obviously a tragic hero. This could be his long overdue chance. He can play to the Doctor's comedic, dramatic and brilliant sides with great ease. He;s probably almost too perfect for the role, so we probably won't get that lucky.

#2: Hugh Laurie: Though he's become famous for his role as brilliant jackass Dr, House, Laurie's roots are in comedy, and the fact that he can cover both so flawlessly and is a huge international star makes him an easy top contender. He'd probably play it closer to Christopher Eccleston's take and be a bit harder and jaded than most, but he'd do it well. He also recently stated that after House ends, he's pretty much done with TV, so this would be a great next project for him.

#1: James McAvoy: Ok, this being Hollywood, they will want a franchise, arguably with some hot up and comer. You want someone who will do the role justice and yet meet those criteria? I give you James McAvoy. He already has played roles he's nerdy and a little goofy or a bit of prick yet serious threat, and of course he's hot of practically re-inventing Professor X from the surprisingly excellent X-Men: First Class film. Arguably if you want someone Hollywood suits can get behind without ruining the Doctor Who name, James McAvoy should be at the top of everyone's list.

That's it for today, I should have another post up this weekend, until then here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Fall Damage