Category: Uncategorized

Someone should really organize the stuff in here a LOT better.

Xbox360: Harry Potter & the order of the phoenix

Beating school mates up with benches is great fun!

The only other HP game I have played was the Chamber of Secrets. This game is greatly improved over that one. It has many of the same problems though 1. bad camera angles 2. wonky controls 3. “wtf do they want me to do now” puzzle style
There are lots of things to find, secrets to unlock and you get rewards like behind the scene stuff about the game.
I completed the story of the game, now I am back at Hogwarts trying to figure out how to open certain locked doors & find Luna Lovegood’s crap for her.

The best thing you’ll play online today!

It may remind you of Miami Vice with the throbbing pink and blue neon, but Auditorium can hold your attention much longer than any 80′s TV show. One of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen on the internet, Auditorium is a music/puzzle game that also throws in some physics.

A stream of particles blasts across the screen in a mesmerizing trail which you bend to your will with a few gravity generators. The goal is to get the particles to pass through the appropriately colored clouds to pass near the appropriately colored meters just long enough to light them all up. It’s one part controlled chaos, one part balancing act and it’s quite gorgeous. As good as it looks above you’ve just gotta see it in motion, no 3D hardware or console system required!

Sega, can you hear this?

I don’t typically relay review scores or summaries here but this snippet from Game Informer’s writeup of Sonic Unleashed sums up pretty much 10 years of tragedy in one brief sentence;

Sega, if you really want to fix Sonic, the first thing you should do is stop trying to fix him.

Seriously, ditch the whole universe of forgettable characters, the vehicles, guns, swords, silly Wiimote gestures, and alternate forms. Let’s just take Sonic and make him run really fast across 300 levels per game. I don’t care if it’s 2D or 3D but I’d like to be proud of Sonic the Hedgehog again one of these days.

Behold the Power of PlayStation! HTML Badges!


Get Your Portable ID!

Better late than never, right Sony? While the PlayStation Network may have just tallied up as many “active users” as Xbox Live, a simple HTML badge has been a long time coming. Witness the awesome power of Sony’s ongoing PlayStation.com rework above. That is indeed my PSN name, icon, and About Me text displayed as an image… and I didn’t have to type in a thing! It just knows!

Hopefully we’ll see the launch (and integration) of Home sometime this year and these little badges will start displaying more timely details like games played, trophies earned, and maybe even our virtual Home personas. For now though, can we please get some more user icons? I’m down to a skateboarding ninja for God’s sake! Not really how I’d like to portray myself anywhere online.

Alien Resurrection (1998)

I always appreciate at least a glimpse of the advertised product. But I remember the time leading up to the movie and the game’s release that excitement was high enough that iconic imagery was enough.

Part of our gaming propaganda set on Flickr, BUY!PLAY.
Scans and photos of advertisements, press releases, one sheets, fact sheets, packaging, promotional junk, and anything else I have amassed over my years of being a gaming packrat.

$10 Tins of Licensed Shorts at Target

For the geek in YOUR life, Target is now carrying several themed pairs of shorts in moderately-to-completely-useless metal tins. The Wii one would be perfect for storing remotes, wrist straps, nunchuks, and other Nintendo themed paraphernalia but the only thing you could really stick in the Xbox one is, well, an Xbox controller.

More at Utterli.com

Club Nintendo hasn’t quite hit the U.S.

Apparently it’s not near enough the end of the year. Going through some old bookmarks that I used to check religiously I popped over to Nintendo.com’s Current Promotions page. Though it got a slick visual update when Nintendo relaunched the site, the promotions didn’t. Not that Nintendo of America ever had that much going on, but for the better part of 2008 the only thing to get excited over is that 90-day Wii warranty extension.

Once upon a time, however, there were pretty amazing goodies to clamor for, most of which were DS inspired. First was the pink Kirby stylus, then some Brain Age swag, then a Phantom Hourglass feather stylus. If Nintendo really is bringing their amazing Club Nintendo (fan)service to the U.S. they apparently haven’t been hinting at it here.

My Final Word on the New Xbox Experience – Part 2

Yesterday I geeked out over Avatars in the New Xbox Experience and promised some more today but Microsoft went and doled out the update to anyone who signed up for the early preview and the official launch is just a few hours away. With that in mind I’ll just mention a few minor things and shut up as most of you are probably sick of hearing about it or already knee-deep in the update.

First off, my heartstrings got a surprising tug when I tabbed through my Friends list for the first time. Avatar or not, each friend is represented standing in front of a white ‘n green backdrop. Though most “set pieces” look like stacks of Xbox boxes or funky spaceships, the one seen above bears an awfully striking resemblance to an original Xbox demo. The likeness isn’t exact but the connection struck me immediately. Another backdrop that made me outright laugh with glee is a large white X with a green sphere in the middle; an unmistakable homage to the very first Xbox prototype. Well played Dashboard Team, well played.

Backing out of the Friends list and onto the main menu, it’s a little startling to see there’s no beginning or end to your choices. Unlike the old Dashboard whose blades slide left to right, the list of options just keeps looping back and is always visible after you make your choice. It’s nice to not be constantly scrolling up and down to get to the top or bottom of the stack and the loop makes it feel like there are endless choices… even when there are only five or six.

The one thing that really strikes me about the NXE is the visual presentation of content. I smiled again as I clicked on the Xbox Originals of all things. I’ve never been very excited about rebuying an old game just to play it without the physical disc and mostly ignored the offerings on the old Dashboard. But seeing the cover box imagery pop up in a browsable row as if lined up on a store shelf made it feel tangible, more real. A few clicks on the title of choice (be it an Xbox Original, an Arcade title or even a retail release) brings up scores of well presented details and even a slideshow of screenshots.

Suddenly I realize that a whole lot more stuff is going to get sold over Xbox Live after the 19th. Microsoft is definitely onto something here and this could be the next eureka moment after the Wii. It feels a little sleazier (all about the money) and less innovative than Nintendo’s motion control interface but as far as embracing and engaging users the New Xbox Experience is pure genius.

That’s not to say I don’t have any complaints. We’re super excited about watching Netflix movies on the TV without rigging up a laptop but the menu seems more hidden than it needs to be. And like the Avatar menu, the Netflix channel technically boots you out of the Dashboard, breaking the image of the always-on, always-connected presentation.

I’m also not too keen on the Spotlight channel. On the old Dashboard it was a single text option that you had to choose, now it’s a full fledged presentation with sliding panes of promos, ads, and flashy glitz that you have to scroll past in order to get to My Xbox… where all your games are.

I appreciate the content and think it’s a great service for some users out there, but an option to minimize it or even turn it off completely would be much appreciated. After all, I’m already paying for a Gold membership and there’s a separate first-time-tutorial Welcome channel that has an option to tuck it away out of sight.

But in the end there’s really no choice in the matter. You’re going to end up with an Avatar and you’re going to end up looking at that Spotlight channel no matter how quickly you scroll by, so it’s good that the New Xbox Experience is overall exceptional. Not only does it streamline the massive amounts of content available and put a more communal focus on gaming, it gives the Xbox 360 a fresh new feel after three years on the market that will hopefully turn the page on all those image problems and Red Rings.

Go grab that update and give me a friendly wave or a dismissive belch next time I see you online!

Name of the… What’s My Name??


NOTICE: Roll over the Image for the Answer

Every Tuesday we’ll post a cryptically cropped image from a game. Take a guess, roll over the image for the answer and leave a comment about the game. Did you like it? Hate it? Ever finish it? Purchase a rare mint, boxed copy? C’mon, let’s reminisce.

The Super Elite 6-Days-Early NXE Post – Part 1

That’s right! We were chosen as part of the third-string wave of users to get “early” access to the New Xbox Experience and for a whole evening I did nothing else but fiddle with the 360′s menus. I was pretty excited about the NXE and put a personal boycott on many of the details, but I know coverage has been excessive. I’m not going to rewrite an FAQ or go all in-depth here, I just wanted to pop in with a few thoughts of my own.

After downloading and installing the NXe for the first time the familiar chrome-sphere-gets-melted-by-a-big-green-X animation is replaced with an ego-spastic, “wahoo! look at us”, minutes-long video that, thankfully, only plays once. I turned on the Xbox just now to make sure and though I was hoping for a new boot up animation, good ol’ Chrome Sphere is still in effect.

Once the rebranding propaganda finished it was time to reinvent the phrase Wii60. What was once an unexpected alliance between Nintendo and Microsoft fans in the face of the monolithic PlayStation 3 has now become a blatant “wow, what a great idea Nintendo, thanks for the inspiration” moment; the Avatar Creation Menu. They can explain away the similarities between Nintendo’s Mii characters and their Avatars all they want but that menu and even its music are irrefutably inspired by The Big N.

Not that it’s a bad thing. Nintendo is obviously onto something and though not many Xbox games are going to incorporate the family friendly Avatars, you’ll still come to identify yourself and your friends by the slick cartoony doppelgangers. And bonus props to the Dashboard team for including a few unwritten tricks to change facial expressions and even belch out loud. Those simple expressions come in handy in the Gamer Picture menu where you size up your Avatar with a viewfinder and snap a new pic that represents you across Xbox.com and the rest of the internet.

The process is simple and there’s enough freedom in the zoom, angle, and expressions that I could see myself changing my pic nearly as often as I change my social status on sites like Facebook and Twitter. At least, until I get tired of loading up the Avatar menu. The design is similar to the new dashboard but it takes a few seconds to load and kicks you offline until you’re done playing dress-up. It kinda tarnishes the whole point of the fancy new NXE — to be expressive and online at all times — but it’s a minor gripe.

This is getting longer than I expected so consider this Part 1 that will, with all luck, continue tomorrow. I promise I’m done talking about CG puppets… for now.