Xbox: The Next Generation

Everyone’s talking about what they’re expecting from the next Xbox console, so I guess I’ll give my two cents. Personally, I don’t care about a lot of the things that people seem to be looking forward to. I don’t really care about 3D, and as of right now, I’m not a huge fan of Kinect either. It’s not that I don’t like 3D, but it’s that I don’t think I really need it. I already wear a Turtle Beach headset when I play, so I don’t want to have to wear glasses too. Now if they came out with TVs that had 3D built in somehow, then I’ll join the party, but as of right now, I’m just not seeing it. As for the Kinect, it’s not that I don’t like it, but I don’t think that they have supported it in the right way. It has SO much potential to do great things, but only a couple of games have really embraced it to its full potential (I did however see the commercial during the Super Bowl where Microsoft showed some of the real-world capabilities of kinect, which I thought was cool). So as long as they don’t make every game in a way where Kinect is a necessity, or isn’t complete without it, I have no problems with it.  All I’m really looking for is better graphics, better online functionality, and an all-around smoother running console. I can’t think of any little add-ons that they need to put in it to make it better. Going back to the Kinect issue, if they were to put Kinect INSIDE the console, with the lenses next to the disc slot of something, I would definitely like that. Then people won’t have to go out and buy an all-new peripheral as soon as they buy a new console. That’s all I can think of right now, and I’ll post any more ideas as I think of them.

I’ll make a post tomorrow discussing what I’m looking forward to on the software side of the next console launch, so stay tuned! Don’t touch that dial! (Really, who has dials on their TVs anymore? Not sure why TV shows still say that…)

Achievement Unlocked!

I recently got my gamerscore above 50,000, and it feels like quite an accomplishment. There’s just something about the idea of achievements that I love. Achievements have caused me to play games in ways that I never have before. I purposely try to get every last achievement if it’s a good enough game, but I don’t know why. Why is it that I feel like I have some sort of obligation to get as many achievements as I can? After all, the points don’t really do anything. The only thing they do is show how much you play, but that’s not even what drives me. The concept of setting goals and completing them is exciting, and has kept me playing many games for a lot longer than I would have if I didn’t have achievements to unlock. However, I know a lot of people don’t feel the same way. Some don’t care at all about achievements. They think it’s stupid to “find all the hidden artifacts,” or whatever the goal might be within a given game. I think it might have to do with competitiveness. I’m a very competitive person, and I see achievements as a challenge straight from the developer saying, “I bet you can’t beat this on the highest difficulty!” or something along those lines. It’s also a competition against fellow gamers. I once had a competition with a cousin to see who could beat all of the expert levels first on an Xbox Live Arcade Game entitled N+ (I fully recommend it. It’s a fantastic game.). It was like a race, and I enjoyed every minute of it…

Podcasts Anyone?

I’ve listened to a lot of gaming podcasts, but most of them haven’t lasted. They either stopped making episodes, or just simply lost their touch. Even most of the gaming podcasts put on by the famous gaming channel G4 have come and gone. They only have a few good ones left. However, I have stuck to two specific podcasts that have helped me stay in the loop with a lot of gaming news. I know I’ve mentioned them before, but I haven’t actually talked about them in any sort of depth. The first podcast I listened to is one of the only ones that I have still stuck with all this time. The Official Xbox Magazine Podcast (KOXM) has been the greatest source of Xbox news I’ve ever had, besides their monthly magazine. I’ve been listening since episode one, and they’re now on episode 285. They have been around for so long that they’ve really perfected the art of podcasting. They have giveaways every week and I’ve won multiple times. After listening to KOXM for a while, one of the co-hosts left and started his own podcast because he was hired by Activision. He then started the One Of Swords podcasts, which also happens to be the other podcast I now listen to. They have great information on all types of gaming (related to Activision, obviously), and the co-hosts are hilarious. They’re both fantastic weekly podcasts and I recommend them both to all gamers. If anyone would like to check them out, the links are on the right side of the home page.

City Under The Moon

Catchy title, huh? Well unfortunately, it’s not mine. It’s actually the title of Hugh Sterbakov’s new book. Who’s Hugh Sterbakov you ask? Well, he’s a lot of things, including an Emmy-nominated writer for Robot Chicken, co-host on the One Of Swords podcast, and now he’s going to be a self-published author! I’m mentioning this because I listen to the podcast every week, and just recently, Hugh announced the plot to his long-coming thriller “City Under The Moon.” He has requested that everyone spread the word about his book, so that’s exactly what I’m doing, and you should too! I’m personally going to buy this book when it comes out because I think the plot sounds awesome, and I think everyone else should buy it too. If you’d like more information on it, go to his website or listen to episode 104 of the One Of Swords podcast. (I would recommend subscribing to the podcast anyways, because they put on a great show every week, and they provide listeners with all sorts of awesome gaming news.) So if anyone is looking for a good book to read in the near future (or purely looking to support a new author and independent publisher), check out City Under The Moon!

Gaming In The Super Bowl

I know everyone’s watching football and stuffing their faces with chips and dip right now, but I figured I’d make a post anyways. I was trying to imagine what the stats look like for something like Xbox Live right now. At first glance one would think that it’s pretty silent on U.S. servers, but I have a feeling that it’s actually pretty busy right now. Today’s one of those days where families get together, watch TV, and play games. Even if they aren’t playing games as much as I think they are, I’ve already seen the presence of gaming within several commercials during the Super Bowl. I’ve already seen an advertisement for the Kinect, as well as Call of Duty in a TV/internet provider’s advertisement. It’s actually pretty cool to see how games are treated nowadays. I think because of the fact that consoles are now more than just gaming centers (DVD players, Netflix, Music Players, etc.), more people have accepted video games as a social norm, and I think that’s awesome. Anyways, that’s all I have for today. Hope everyone is having a great Sunday! (And if anyone has any thoughts or opinions on the matter, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!)

Saints Row: GTA With More Comedy

So I played Saints Row: The Third not too long ago, and I have to say, what a fun game! The easiest way to describe the game to someone who has never played Saints Row before (and don’t care about the plot) is that it’s pretty much Grand Theft Auto, but with a LOT more comedy. And by a lot of comedy, I mean that I played half of the game as a giant, muscular, red-skinned bald guy with a strong british accent. I played the other half as a giant green man dressed like The Hulk with a zombie voice. He literally just grunted and moaned the whole time. I can’t explain how crazy the game is. I barely played the other two games, and I still had a blast. Because I didn’t play them, I didn’t understand the story as much as I wanted to, but it really didn’t affect me all that much. I was too distracted at hundreds of other things I could do besides follow the story, and even when I did play the story, it was SO over-the-top that I had a blast playing it anyways. The only thing I’d warn people about is the fact that it’s rated M for a reason. It is NOT a kids game by any means. There are a lot of sexual references throughout the game (I don’t think most kids would catch them, but that’s not the point), and it is pretty violent. All in all, I loved the gameplay and I have very few complaints. The things that were annoying in the game were pretty small and aren’t really worth mentioning. So if you’re looking for a fun, casual, and hilarious time, pick up Saints Row!

Neversoft Makes A Comeback!

Remember the OLD Tony Hawk games? The only real good ones, in my opinion. They lost me after Underground 1. How about the original Spiderman game? Or Guitar Hero? These were all games made by Neversoft. Now I know that they’ve made a lot more games than that, but these ones in particular were my favorite. I’ve stopped following them for a while because they’ve basically just dedicated themselves to Guitar Hero for the past couple years (until it shut down), and I stopped buying those games a long time ago (5 GH releases over the course of 2 years was ridiculous). But I follow Dan Amrich, the man behind One Of Swords (Go to his site for more info. He has a great podcast too), and he recently mentioned the fact that Neversoft is coming back with an all new game plan. They created a brand new Facebook page (Like the page to follow them, if you wish to do so), and they’re trying to gather their fan base for an all new project they’re working on. I actually commented on their wall post, and they said it was going to be an FPS, but that was all they could say. Personally, I’m extremely excited to see what they have in store, because I used to love their work. So I figured I’d spread the word in case anybody else was interested in checking it out as well.

Another Upcoming Release

The more I hear about it, the more I’m looking forward to Mass Effect 3. The game releases on March 6th, and I have a feeling there’s going to be a huge amount of sales starting on day 1. The last two games were amazing, and I can’t imagine this one being any different. The fact that they allow you to save the data from the previous two games and load them into the third is crazy. It’s now a true series, where something that was done in the first and second game actually affects a player’s experience in the third game. For those who don’t know what Mass Effect is, it is a 3rd-person shooter and RPG at it’s core. You play as Commander Shephard (a male or female character, depending on the player’s preference), who is hired to protect humanity (as well as other races) from a mysterious aggressor known as the Reapers. There’s a lot more backstory, but you basically fly around to different planets and solar systems where you choose to either be a good or bad guy (or girl), and help or hurt various other groups of individuals. There is a system of choices within every conversation, and this is where the RPG-style elements come into play. The only thing I am worried about is the support for Kinect that Bioware is adding. I really have a hard time imagining anyone wanting to virtually punch and stab every bad guy, as well as read the dialogue for the whole damn game, but who knows, maybe they do. We’ll see I guess…

My First Real Post!

I’ve been thinking about what to start talking about, and I think I’ve decided to discuss upcoming game releases that I’m looking forward to. To start things off, I’m personally looking forward to the release of The Darkness II. The first game was an extremely dark and gruesome FPS (First-Person-Shooter). However, it still had a heavy presence of sarcasm and humor throughout the story. The fact that a developer could have the player eat the hearts out of civilians and not have them cringe at the sight of it takes some talent. There was just something about the tone of the story, the whole “mobster attitude” that all of the characters had, that gave it such an original taste. Now in the 2nd game, Jackie Estacado (the main character) is the Don of his Italian mobster family, and after two years of silence, the demon inside of him has reemerged. Now you, the player, have to battle against an all new family in a huge mob war, while still battling against the demon inside of you. I just think the idea behind this story is awesome and I can’t wait to play it after it comes out on the 7th.