Commercial Wars: Best use of a Rap

parappa the rapper
parappa the rapper

Rap is universal, sure it may be dominated by African American artists, but rap is for everyone. Well, everyone except video game companies. Don’t get me wrong, you have to do what you can to grab a younger generation but most of these were just really bad commercials. Also I have yet to find an old video game commercial using rap that has actual African American kids. Oh well, on to the voting!

Atari 2600: The Fun is Back

The fun is back oh yes er re it’s the 2600 from Atari. Oh my lord you know that guy went on to make millions in the music industry.  When Atari packaged its system for a new low price of just $50 you know it was time to make a rap about it.

Nintendo: Zelda Rap

Oh Lord where to start. Okay first, does anyone else get the vibe that the kids are looking at an adult magazine and not Nintendo Power? I mean besides the “”Nice Graphics” quote it sounds like something I would have said while checking out Playboy.

Next is the “rap” I have to guess this is a parody of rap because even Solider Boy isn’t that bad. Not only is the beat box out of something you’d see on rapping granny, but the “lyrics” sound like they were pieced together from a fortune cookie.

Finally and again the way they talk about the game toward the end, “Ya go Link ya, get some.” Is that not a line from every Ron Jeremy movie? I just think these children need more parental supervision and a kick in the ass.

Sega Genesis: Toe Jam & Earl

I can’t hate on this one too much because it does fit the style of rap at the time and the game was to have a “hip hop” vibe. Does this rap not sound like the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme? I know when I saw this commercial the first thing I did was call my home boys for some two player action. Err…wow that just doesn’t read right.

This Ain’t American Idol

However, we need your vote. Which rap best fit the theme and style of the commercial?

[poll id=”9″]

Buy 2 Games get 1 Free

video game store
video game store

It must be a hive mind thing because three different stores are offering Buy 2 get 1 free deals!

First up is Target which has a good number of games to choose from. This promo ends November 6th.

Next is good ol’ Best Buy. Here there are a select number of titles to choose from, but they include good ones like Fable 3, Star Wars Force Unleashed 2 and 2K11.

Last up is Amazon which gives you the largest list to choose from. Many of the titles qualify for free shipping. This offer also ends Nov 6th.

The Art of the AFK II

AFK shirt
AFK shirt

The Art of the AFK II

So now you know about my adventures in A.F.K, but now it is time to talk about others. We all know World of Warcraft can either take a ton of time or just a few minutes depending on what we want to accomplish, but if you are going for that purple ring then it can take hours. On raids good leaders try to make it easy on members by taking breaks, however, some just don’t take advantage or go a little overboard.

Cooking with Nax

My good friend Rizim sends me a whisper inviting me to a 25 man Nax raid telling me it would be fun and allow me to switch out some of my 10 man pieces. I was bored at the moment and decided to go. The part pug, part guild had reached Gluth which happened to drop something I needed.

You know how Gluth works, you have a group fighting him and hunters or mages kitting the zombies. Well, I was put on the zombie team. It was no problem I have done it many times. The problem was the other hunters somehow forgot to hit their trap button, so, we wipe. We run back, Rizim is yelling instructions in Ventrilo and just as we engage him for a second time I see this:

wtf cat
wtf cat

PhyscoHeals tells the raid: A.F.K. turkey dinner for the kids.

I start laughing thinking this is a joke. I mean PhyscoHeals is our main healer and happens to be leader of the raid, but no she is not kidding and disappears in the middle of the fight. We wipe, I’m cursing out loud in the house and sending Rizim tells that I plan to come over to his house and kick his dog for pulling me into this God awful raid.

Who the hell starts cooking a turkey dinner in the middle of the raid? I get it; you have kids, but W.T.F., A.F.K. Thanksgiving?!!! I had this picture in my mind of her PC just sitting there, unused:

Needless to say I ran out of that raid like a Democrat at a town hall meeting. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised with a name like PhyscoHeals.

A.F.K, tired of writing

afk gamer cat
afk gamer cat

There’s more to come on my series on, The Art of the A.F.K, but what about you guys and gals out there? Got any stories to share, let us know about them.

Páll Ívarsson: CCP

CCP logo
CCP logo

Name: Páll Ívarsson (CCP Fear)

Company: CCP

Profession: Senior Game Designer

Favorite Classic Game: Civilization

Quote: I was 8 years old when it came out, and I think I got it about a year later through a friend of my mom’s. I was super excited about it, the concept being “You rule your own civilization” and out of a selection of a few games she had got me, this was the one I needed to install on our new 386 computer. The main problem was that I didn’t speak a word in English (being from Iceland) except a few words here and there and my mom claimed I wouldn’t understand it. But I ignored her warnings, and I’m glad I did. Empowered by English to Icelandic dictionary I spent hours in front of the screen, trying to make any sense of the game. My main problems were with building roads, irrigating my barren lands and what messages I was receiving. But I stood the test of time and by writing my own small pocket book of strategy I was able to play Civ again and again. These moments, and many others shaped me into the gamer and the developer I am today.


OGS: The NES Show

NES console
NES console

OGS is finally back with a brand new show! This show we tackled the NES from its beginnings, all the great games and accessories for it and much more. We were joined by our newest NES and SNES writer Luis and had OGS regulars Umar Khan and Edgar Median call in and share their experience with the Nintendo Entertainment System.

All in all it was a great time, lots of laughs and we know you will enjoy it. So head on over to the OGS main page to listen or you can download the show using ITunes.

Community Profile: Single Gamers FTW

Dating Game logo
Dating Game logo

Single Gamers FTW

Trying to find that special someone can be difficult no matter whom you are, but when it comes to gamers the challenge can be even harder than Battletoads. While gaming is a much more social outlet than it was just ten years ago there is still the concern of spending too much time playing a game and not enough time out meeting new people. Add to that in most cases gamers tend to stick together with their friends and less time looking for someone new. Even if you find someone 9 times out of 10 you are not going to give up gaming so the question is, will your new interest understand your gaming or will it cause a rift before anything really gets started.

Online dating has been the great equalizer because you already share something in common, that being you both used online dating and at least have some computer experience. Secondly you can search for the type of person you want and take a chance. Most of the time you will know if your gaming will become an issue before the first date. However, sometimes diving into the public pool isn’t the best solution maybe the key is finding a special group that fits your specific wants and needs.

Believe it or not some gamers have found their special someone within a game. World of Warcraft has been really good at connecting two gamers together. Now to be fair it does not always become a happy ending, but the ability to meet someone within a game offers a special dynamic because much of the strains of meeting someone and the opening conversation is lessoned because you already have interacted with someone. This happens in game lobbies as well from Xbox Live to Stream and even Ventrilo.

Specialized dating sites are nothing new, but only recently have they turned their attention to gamers. The idea is to create an atmosphere where the people you interact with are, in theory, just like you. Enter Single Gamers FTW, a website where gamers can meet other gamers and hopefully make that connection.

Obsolete Gamer had a chance to talk with Jose and Jason, creators and owners of the FTW (For the Win) networks which includes gaming reviews, hardware and dating sites.

Single Gamers FTW logo
Single Gamers FTW logo

Obsolete Gamer: Give us an overview of Single Gamers FTW.

Single Gamers FTW: Single Gamers FTW (for the win) is an online dating site that we have created that caters specifically to the gamer community. Unlike other sites that match you based on personality points or other criteria, we figured we’d create something that starts users off with the main interest they all currently share — games!

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about how came up with the idea of Single Gamers FTW?

Single Gamers FTW: Being gamers ourselves we thought about all the resources that are available on the internet to the gamer community and the only one that really didn’t stand out was dating.  I mean in all honesty when people think of gamers they don’t immediately associate romance with the term so we figured hey, gamer’s need love too! So we hatched this idea of creating a site that would allow gamers to look for love amongst others that share their same main interest.

Obsolete Gamer: What went into creating Single Gamers FTW and what were some of the challenges?

Single Gamers FTW: Single Gamers FTW took a lot of time and beer that’s for sure!  We wanted to create something unique but at the same time useful and community driven.  I think the biggest challenge was trying to figure out how we would distinguish ourselves from all the other dating sites out there.  We didn’t want to be “just another dating site.”  We wanted a target audience and we wanted that audience to blatantly know what we were all about.  I think we’ve been able to do just that in the few months that we’ve been up and running.

Obsolete Gamer: How hard is it to market to people who are gamers with so many dating sites out there?

Single Gamers FTW: Well given the recent rise in e-romance sites the web itself is heavily saturated with dating sites making it tough to really stick out.  So aside from traditional marketing we also promoted on known message boards, social networks, and also in game chats to get our name out there.  I believe it’s an advantage we have over other sites in that we come from this community so we know where it lives and where we can talk to its citizens.  It’s worked out pretty well so far.

Single Gamers FTW logo
Single Gamers FTW logo

Obsolete Gamer: What makes gamers unique in your opinion to warrant their own dating site?

Single Gamers FTW: Anyone can play video games, but to be a Gamer, well that is unique. To allow yourself to fall into the story or to be affected by what is happening inside the game takes a particular kind of thinking. Just like movie or book lovers, Gamers just don’t play the games, they experience them. A lot of people don’t seem to understand that fact when a Gamer gets upset or excited while playing or when they suddenly cheer at the end of a level or during a cinematic trailer as if their NFL team just won the Super Bowl. Those that do though are the ones that have LAN parties together, that play different games together for hours at a time and can all become immersed in the game together. That is why we made Single Gamers FTW, to help bridge that divide.

Obsolete Gamer: Besides being for gamers what else about Single Gamers FTW makes in unique?

Single Gamers FTW: We have regular drawings for various types of prizes, are speaking with various local businesses in regard to hosting gaming events and tournaments and have also successfully merged a dating site with a social community. In the future we will also be looking at other platforms for delivering services and information.

Obsolete Gamer: Do you think in general two gamers have a better chance at a lasting relationship?

Single Gamers FTW: Absolutely.  There’s nothing better than sharing time in an activity both people love.  So if that activity is a game or gaming in general then its all that much better.  I’ve personally been around couples that have actually met due to the fact that they were playing the same game and to this day they are happily married and have spawned little gamers of their own.

Obsolete Gamer: Do you think the still present social stigma of being a gamer might hinder membership?

Single Gamers FTW: It’s a challenge, sure, but since our site is centered around gamers we feel that it helps to alleviate that worry of “oh what if they find out I’m an avid gamer” because all the members are gamers themselves.

Obsolete Gamer: What is the key to balancing gaming and a relationship?

Single Gamers FTW: I would say it varies.  You have couples that love to spend hours online within the same game and that’s their way of bonding and romancing each other while still some others have set dates that they play together and then spend the rest of their time offline.  The real key is communication, as long as both parties are clear from the get go as to what they want out of each other then everything should be ok!

Obsolete Gamer: Have you found a good ratio of men to women members with gaming still being a male dominated activity?

Single Gamers FTW: It has been slow but we have started to see the numbers evening out a bit. From our research we have actually found that there are more female gamers, a lot more, then people realize. The problem is how they are generally treated or looked upon. You would be really surprised at how many people on your friends list, whom you think are guys, are actually women. Gaming is certainly, at this time anyway, male dominated but as any smart Man-Gamer knows, it is only that way because the females let it be that way.

Single Gamers FTW logo
Single Gamers FTW logo

Obsolete Gamer: What are some of the ways you get the word out and promote yourselves?

Single Gamers FTW: We use traditional online marketing as well as targeted marketing to gamer websites, forums, and even in-game promotion where allowed!

Obsolete Gamer: Tell us about the FTW network?

Single Gamers FTW: FTW Networks is our main hub to which all of our satellite sites will roll up into.  Essentially, before we came up with the idea for Single Gamers FTW we had another larger vision — an all-encompassing gaming nexus.  With FTW Networks we wanted to provide a flow of information tailored to the gaming community that encompassed all of our sites and partner sites presenting the users with a vast array of gaming information and a community in which they can participate as well.  I think that’s all I can say for now but once we launch the site I can share some more.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about your background in gaming?

Jose: I’ve been avidly addicted to gaming since I had my first NES console so I’ve been gaming for over 20+ years. As I worked up through the consoles I eventually found my home with the PC.  I think of all the platforms the PC is definitely the most dynamic and provides the most immerse experience.  My all-time favorites are real-time strategy games — you can’t beat never knowing what will happen.

Jason: My first console was one of the original Sega’s. I ended up going the NES route and sticking with Nintendo for a long time. Switched back to Sega instead of Sony and then jumped to XBOX. I have always enjoyed all types of games; sports, action, RPG, etc. I generally enjoy playing on the computer more, just like Jose, but there are certain games that I just like to chill on the couch and play with a controller.

Obsolete Gamer: What is your favorite classic video game and why?

Jose: Kirby’s Dream Course: It’s pure insanity, especially with other players!

Jason: Tetris! Those blocks were cutting edge man!

Obsolete Gamer: What are you currently playing?

Jose: StarCraft II

Jason: Starwars the Force Unleashed II

Obsolete Gamer: How important are communities such as yours and gaming ones in general to gaming culture?

Single Gamers FTW: Very!  The gaming community has always been a very vibrant and dynamic community and sites like ours and others help to augment it and support it by providing a forum or outlet where fellow gamers can come together and share their common interest and experiences.  I believe that’s one of the unique qualities of the gaming culture, in that no matter what happens in the real world, people will always find a common outlet in gaming that leads itself to lasting friendships, camaraderie, and by our view even romance!

Cosplay: Leadership

A small posting note, the Fappathon Cosplay can now be found every Friday on Obsolete Gamer so no more random days. End your week with some FAPP!

Shout, shout, let it all out

One of the many jobs during my time at Alienware was taking chats from customers. It was simple, you clicked on the chat box and it opened a java chat window and we would try to answer customer’s questions. For the most part it was a good job, but for some reason people though it would be fun to spam chat agents. There was even a message board event telling their members to go out and spam and prank chat agents at various computer companies.

We had two teams for chat one in the day and one in the evening. I was working the evening shift with one other person and after a long hard day I received one of those spammers. I tried my best to remain professional, but the chat was going on for over an hour. Every time the guy would get rude to where I could cut him off he would turn back to computer stuff because he knew I had to help him.

Well I couldn’t yell at the customer so I yelled out loud to myself. We were the only two people in the entire building or so I thought. In the middle of a yelling rant with some choice words I turned to the other worker to see a look of deathly shock on his face. Sure, I used some curse words, but it wasn’t bad enough to warrant a look like he was giving me. Then I noticed he wasn’t looking directly at me, but behind me.

I turned to see one of the big bosses behind me and a chill of death came over my body as if Sub-zero had touched my spine. The boss just said “come with me” and walked toward his office. I was sure I was fired, but the boss knew about the pranks and my hard day and gave me a break, but warned me other bosses might not have been so forgiving. I was thankful that he was so cool and make sure to only rant and yell in my head while at work.

Via Cosplay.

 

 

Melissa Burns: The Museum of Mobility History

Museum of Mobility History logo
Museum of Mobility History logo

Name: Melissa Burns

Company: The Museum of Mobility History (MuMoh)

Profession: Principal, Mobility Public Relations

Favorite Classic Game: Pitfall on Atari

Quote: Pitfall Harry entertained me for a week straight in the early 80’s while I was stuck at home trying to deal with the Chicken Pox. Even at a very young age I loved the thrill of completing a task under a tight deadline, and collecting all those treasures while timing the hazards just perfectly was the ultimate in entertainment. It kept me hooked well after I recovered from the pox.


How important is the gaming community to gaming culture?

community panel

With the way the internet can be sometimes you would expect gaming communities to be bunch of Comic Book Guy’s from the Simpsons complaining about everything. While it is true there is no shortage of anger and criticism there are a ton of great communities that not only help the gamer, but the industry as well.

Since the beginning of the internet there have been places where people can go to find information on games from where to locate them, how to install them and even how to play them. From general information communities branched out to bring you mods for games so you can play custom maps or even a completely new type of game within an existing game.

User created communities have exposed us to the history of a game from the development process to behind the scene tidbits. We have seen games in a whole new light with special codes and bugs being found by communities. Through the eyes of fellow gamers we have listened to new versions of video game music and have seen player created videos from our favorite games.

That same criticism that is sometimes looked upon negatively has helped make games better. From FPS to RTS and even MMO’s, many companies look to players and their communities to test and perfect their games. They have taken suggestions from communities and even entire games have been created based on community feedback.

Beyond business there is the social aspect of gaming communities. They can be a place where even those who feel they have nobody that understands them can find comradely with someone else. Friendships can be built with people of all types from around the world brought together by the love of gaming and someone dedicated enough to create a place where they could meet.

There is no doubt that communities have helped gamers and gaming culture in extraordinary ways and we at Obsolete Gamer are happy to do our part which is why we will continue profiling communities in the future.

If you have a community or know of one you would like to see profile please click on the envelop tab on the side bar to e-mail us about it.

Let’s turn to our panel to see what their thoughts are on gaming communities.

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote: It’s very important. The fans and their passion are what have always driven us to make better games.

Jason Shankel from Stupid Fun Club wrote: There’s no mystery as to why user created content is becoming more and more important for the long-term shelf life of games. This is because, moreso than in other media, the audience is part of the artistic creation.  Successful games have to resonate not only with the audience’s tastes, but with their own interest and willingness to participate in the experience.

Players are co-creators of the gaming experience, if not the game itself, and the gaming community gives players as a group the voice they need to make that contribution.

Aaron Hunter from Playtechtonics Inc wrote: The community aspect of gaming is new for developers and a bit of a surprise. It is not our specialty, but the vibe of the community is probably as important as anything else to how much fun it is to participate in an MMO.

Mathew Anderson from Petroglyphgames wrote: For most games I’d dare to say that without a community, there essentially is no game, even single-player offline games. In today’s world of social networking, a game’s pulse is dependent on who talks about it, and a community around the game is this core discussion base. And since by definition “culture” is dependent on a community base of some sort, it’s as important as it can be.

Zone 40 Wireless Gaming

Zone 40 Wireless Gaming console
Zone 40 Wireless Gaming console

Why oh why would you want to knock off the Wii? I mean you could just load up Yahoo games or an emulator. Fine, I will stop hating, but this console struck me when I was in Denver attending the beer fest. This was behind the counter at a CVS drugstore and I kind of brushed it off at first and then once I got home looked more into it.

What we know


Well the system looks a lot like a Wii console and it offers wireless gaming. However it is called the Zone 40 because 40 games are built into the console and that is the limit (so far) as far as software titles. There is an expansion slot, but it is not clear what it is used for. So you get two controls the console, rca cables, 40 built in games (11 of which are sports interactive), a stand and instruction manual for $39.99.

The word on the net

For those who don’t just scream “It’s a fake!” the reviews still aren’t good for the Zone 40. Pretty much it is said to be a system for a six year old and looks horrible on a HD TV. The sweet spot for this game is a 27 to 32 inch tv, normal definition.

It’s the games stupid


Depending on who you ask the games on the Zone 40 are either really horrible or terribly crappy. Some even say the graphics on the original 2600 look better. The 11 sport interactive games play sloppy and don’t have the look or reaction time of the Wii and the arcade games are not even as good as flash games you can find on an ad on a porn website.

Here is the title list:

100 METER  110 HURDLES ARCHERY BASEBALL BASKETBALL BEE FIGHTING BOMBER-MAN BOWLING BOX WORLD CHESS MASTER COMPETIVE FENCING DANCING GIRLS DARTS DISCUS FIRE MAN FISH WAR FISHING GOLF HIGH JUMP HIGHWAY RACING HITTING MICE JAVELIN LONG JUMP MOTOR STORM PING PONG SHOOTING BALLONS SNAKES SOCCER SPEED RACING SQUARES SUDOKU SWIMMING SWORD OF WARRIORS TANKSTENNIS THE MOUSE AND THE CAT TRIPLE JUMP UNDERSEA ADVENTURE WALKING-RACE ZUMA

The verdict

I haven’t played this, but it doesn’t look worth the cash, but if you want me to test it send my PayPal account $50 bucks and I will do a full review. Why $50? $40 for the game and $10 for the beer I need to make it through the review.

World of Warcraft Client Patch 4.0.1

World of Warcraft patch notes
World of Warcraft patch notes

Gotta love patch day!

The latest test realm patch notes can always be found at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/test-realm-patchnotes.html

The latest patch notes can always be found at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/patchnotes/

Cataclysm Systems Patch

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will be in stores on December 7, 2010 and the time has come to prep for the official launch by implementing its first major patch. Players can experience many major game and user interface systems updates in the first official patch for the upcoming third expansion, patch 4.0.1.

General

  • Cataclysm Launcher Update
    • The new Cataclysm Launcher allows you to stream game data while you play. This will reduce the time you spend downloading, installing, and patching World of Warcraft. We’d like to get your feedback on the toolset and gameplay experience. Please head to the forums here for additional information.
  • Reforging
    • Players can now visit special Reforging NPCs in capital cities located near Enchanting trainers. 40% of any one secondary stat on an item can be allocated to add a new secondary stat to the item. The stat being added cannot already exist on the item. An item cannot have more than one reforged stat at a time, though the Reforging of an item can be undone and changed.

Dungeons & Raids

  • Flexible Raid Lock System
    • Icecrown Citadel and Ruby Sanctum now use the new Flexible Raid Lock system. This system provides the opportunity for a character to defeat each raid zone’s encounters once a week. A character may now complete the encounters during the week with different raids of either 10 or 25 players.
    • Learn more about this feature by visiting our official forums here.
  • Icecrown Citadel
    • The Chill of the Throne effect has been removed.

Currency

  • PvE Currency Changes
    • All Emblems of Frost and Emblems of Triumph have been converted to new Justice Points.
    • Any dungeon or raid which awarded these emblems will reward Justice Points instead. Anything below Emblems of Triumph, including badges from The Burning Crusade dungeon and raid content, have been converted into gold and sent to players via the in-game mail system.
    • Any bosses players defeat that are level-appropriate to them award Justice Points.
    • All items that previously cost emblems or badges of any type now cost Justice Points.
    • Higher-tier Valor Points will be awarded to players who kill dungeon and raid bosses in the latest tier of PvE content after the launch of Cataclysm.
  • PvP Currency Changes
    • All Arena Points, Honor Points, Battleground Marks of Honor, Stone Keeper’s Shards, Venture Coins, and Spirit Shards have been converted into new Honor Points.
    • Honor Points will be awarded instead of these currencies, with the exception of Arena Points.
    • Higher-tier Conquest Points will be awarded to players competing in each of the latest Arena or Rated Battleground seasons after the launch of Cataclysm.
  • For more information on the changes to the currencies and conversion rates for each type, please visit ourCataclysm forum.

Classes: General

  • Many class talents, spells, and abilities have been overhauled, added, or removed.
  • All spell and ability tooltips will now display damage averages rather than minimum and maximum damage potential. This feature is on by default but can be changed via the Display settings under User Interface options.
  • Ammo has been removed from the game.
  • The character levels at which classes gain new spells and abilities have changed.
  • Many item and class stats have been changed or removed.
  • Mastery rating has been added as a new stat which provides unique benefits for characters based on class and talent specialization. Mastery rating does not currently exist on items in the game, however, Reforging can be used to add Mastery rating as a secondary stat to existing items.
  • Rage has been normalized.
  • Spells and abilities no longer have multiple ranks and now scale with character level.
  • Talent trees have been altered. All player talent specializations have been reset, allowing for free re-specialization.
    • Each specialization has been reduced to a 31-point talent tree.
    • Players will now get a total of 41 talent points to spend.
    • Players will be asked to choose a specialization at level 10. Doing so will result in the unlocking of a spell or ability unique to that specialization, as well as one or more passive bonuses.
    • Once a talent specialization has been chosen, players may only place points in the primary tree until at least 31 points have been spent there.
    • The initial announcement regarding these talent tree changes can be found on our Cataclysm forum.

Death Knights

  • A dedicated tanking tree (Blood) has been implemented.
  • The effects of Blood Presence and Frost Presence have been exchanged.
  • The way in which runes recharge has changed.

Druids

  • A new Eclipse mechanic has been added for druids.

Hunters

  • Five pets can now be stored with the hunter at all times. Any one of these five pets can be summoned via the Call Pet ability.
  • Focus has replaced mana as a new resource.
  • Hunters now start with a pet at level 1.
  • The Stable will now store 20 pets. If a pet is moved into the Stable, its talents are wiped.

Mages

  • There is now a new spell fly-out UI feature for mage portals. Clicking on the Teleport or Portal buttons will expand the list of choices available.

Paladins

  • Paladins now have a new resource bar.

Warlocks

  • There is now a new spell fly-out UI feature for warlock pets. Clicking on this single button will open up the list of available pets to summon.
  • Soul Shards have been removed from the game as items. Instead, they now exist as a resource system necessary for using, or altering the mechanics of certain spells.

Items

  • Resilience no longer reduces the chance a player will be critically hit by an opponent.
  • Durability: cloth, leather, and mail now have as many points of durability as plate, making the repair cost on death much closer to equal for all classes.

Professions

  • The glyph system has been updated to now feature three different types of glyphs. Many class glyphs have been added, altered, or moved to different glyph types.

User Interface

  • Spell Alerts have been added to notify players when procs on select spells and abilities occur. A visual notification will display around the character and the activated ability will be highlighted on the action bar.
  • The Guild Interface has been redesigned to incorporate additional functionality, including new sorting and organizational options.
  • The Arena Teams pane has been improved.
  • The Character pane has been redesigned. Character stats can now be shown or hidden via the Show All Details/Hide All Details button on the bottom left. When shown, all character stats will be visible in a window to the right of the pane. Stat sections can be reorganized by clicking and dragging them up or down the pane.
  • The Professions panes now have more filtering and search functionality, as well as buttons to easily link recipes in the chat frame.
  • A Professions screen has been added to the Spellbook to better display the details of a character’s primary and secondary professions.
  • Many of the yellow System Messages that would display in the chat frame when leveling up have been removed.
  • New text animations now alert players as they level up, also providing information on when new talents, spells and abilities are available.
  • Professions and Class Trainers windows have been altered to more clearly display available and upcoming purchases.
  • New Raid frames are now available. They can also be used in place of the standard 5-player party interface via the User Interface options.
  • The Spellbook interface has been improved for greater ease-of-use and visual appeal.
  • For additional notes on Lua and XML changes please visit the UI & Macros forum.

Graphics

  • Improved water and lava rendering system (Video Options – Liquid Detail on the Graphics Panel)
  • Dynamic Sunshafts effect (Video Options – Sunshafts on the Graphics Panel)
  • Multi-monitor support (Video Options – Monitor on the Graphics Panel)
  • OpenGL Hardware Cursor support for Windows (Video Options – Hardware Cursor on the Advanced Panel)
  • Experimental support for DX11 (enabled by passing ‘-d3d11’ on the command line or adding SET gxApi “d3d11” to the Config.WTF file)

Check out this video of the Deathwing flyover event.

Ted Brockwood: Kalypso Media USA

Kalypso logo
Kalypso logo

Name: Ted Brockwood

Company: Kalypso Media USA

Profession: Head of PR (North America)

Favorite Classic Game: Yar’s Revenge – Atari 2600

Quote: Yar’s Revenge was fun because it had a very simple gameplay mechanic, and basically one enemy, but it just kept getting relentlessly harder the more you played, until it was so fast, it was almost impossible to play. That, and I had one of the highest scores in the U.S. for a short time according to the official Atari 2600 magazine.


Bio/Current Event: At Kalypso USA, we’ve published popular titles like Tropico 3 (a great remake of the classic Tropico games), and have just released Patrician IV and Disciples III, both sequels to some very popular classic titles.

GAMES COMING OUT FOR CONSOLES: NOV 2nd 2010

vote McCain Obama Super Mario Bros
vote McCain Obama Super Mario Bros

Hey, its election time and you have the awesome choice between spineless yes men and tea baggers, why not skip all that and play some video games instead. Okay, fine. MTV told me to rock the vote so how about you game the vote. While you are out picking up these games stop over at your local voting station and get your democracy on.

God of War: The Ghost of Sparta

I have a love hate relationship with the PlayStation portable. I like the games and all, but why all the remakes and such like Final Fantasy and Parasite Eve being PSP only? Oh, well in GOW Sparta we follow the events of our hero between the story from GOW 1 and GOW2. This story takes place during Kratos visit to Atlantis and if it wasn’t sunk before we now know how it got that way. The game is the second to find its way onto the PSP and has all the brutality it did before and stunning visuals to boot. One thing we know for sure, he really dislikes King Midas.

Golden Eye 007 – Wii

Hey, pop quiz, how do you get people to keep playing the Wii, answer, you remake games that were awesome on previous consoles. Yes, my Wii hate runs read, but my love for Golden Eye never dies. It was one the best console shooters of all time and even ranks up high for all-time best FPS shooters. Now those of you with the Wii gathering dust have a reason to celebrate as a remake of this classic is coming to you Nov 2nd.

Now the game is new meaning new graphics and even a new bond as you play as Daniel Craig, but all the classic gameplay that made it great is still there. You can still decide how you want to finish missions going in Rambo style or playing it like Bond really would being stealthy and cool. Multiplayer is back with a four person split screen tons of modes and support for the Wii and classic remote, nunchuk and even the zapper. Will I be buying a Wii to play this, no. Will I get my friend to buy it and camp his house, yes.

What about the Kinect Games?

Yeah, about that, as I said this list is for games I would buy and this week these two are the only ones I would consider. However there is also the new Sonic Free Riders and Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2 that look good. However, I need to be a little more hash and this week you only get two from me. Next, week we will be back for our countdown to black Friday report so stay tuned and until then keep the spending to a minimum.

Community Profile: Game Casa

GamaCasa.net logo
GamaCasa.net logo

Game Casa

From the very first video game there have been fans and followers who wanted nothing more than a place to learn, interact and discuss gaming with fellow gamers and so community groups were formed. Today there are thousands of sites to visit for just about every type of game.

Today we look at a social gaming site that brings together casual and hardcore gamers alike to immerse themselves in all things gaming. The site offers news, reviews, editorials and more on everything gaming and they have a great sense of humor to boot.

Obsolete Gamer had a chance to talk with one of the founders of Gama Case, but first here is a video from their Youtube page about how they got started:

Obsolete Gamer: How long as Game Casa been around?

Josh: Game Casa has been around in various forms for almost five years. Originally it was a forum site and a myspace page that would have the links to podcasts.  GameCasa.Net was started up which gave people a central home to go to so they could connect with each other, read reviews and news, check out videos and leave comments.  GameCasa has branched out to GameCasa.Net, and we also have homes on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and ITunes.

Obsolete Gamer: How important is social networking and community sites such as yours to the gaming community and gaming culture in general?

Josh: Social Networking is one of the driving forces that keeps the gaming community alive.  Back in the day the only way you could get to talk about games was by passing around a copy of Nintendo Power and before that you would have to go to the local arcade to connect with other games and you’d usually end up losing all your parents’ quarters if they gave you any.  Nowadays with sites like ours, people can with common interests can come together and find out who is playing what, when, etc.  A lot of the people who work on GameCasa are in the same guild on World of Warcraft, so that’s yet another benefit the site brings.  It’s good for the various sites to be familiar with one another.  Everyone brings something different to the table.  One person can serve as a go between and share content and spread the word of mouth for so many different sites.

Obsolete Gamer: What is the key to keeping members and fans interested in Game Casa?

Josh: Right now the key is providing the audience with informative and unique entertaining content.  There’s a lot of places where people can get news and reviews on games, but we try to make it a little bit more entertaining.  A recent review of F1 2010 showed King Arthur speeding around on a riding lawn mower while discussing the racing game.  Realistic?  Maybe only in a fantasy world where a guy could race a lawn mower against an F1 vehicle.  But you won’t see that on too many other sites.

Another thing we try to do is do live streams of certain events.  With the iPhone 4, we can use that as a camera and stream live reviews, something we did recently with the new NBA Jam on Justin.TV.  It’s a matter of timing though, most of the time we’ll be sitting around and say, “Now would be a good time for some live streaming reviews”.

GamaCasa.net Joystick logo
GamaCasa.net Joystick logo

Obsolete Gamer: How do you guys select what you feature on your blog?

Josh: We try and stay current with all the gaming news that is released throughout the day.  We keep our eyes on the various sites and we get press releases from various companies.  If it’s something we think our fans would be interested in, we pass it along.  Since we all have regular day jobs, it’s hard to come up with a concept, do the research, and write a good article on a topic.  We’d like to bring in more people that have the time to do opinion pieces and game reviews on a more frequent basis.  If someone on GameCasa that is a frequent visitor to the site makes it known that they enjoy something, I will look to post things regarding those games just for them.  We have a guy who is really into Borderlands so I will make sure to get Borderlands news out for him.  The voices on Trials HD were done by the guys from GameCasa so I always make sure to get out anything on that title as well as stuff from Red Lynx.  So you could see the blog content is fan driven to a point.  The more the fans and readers speak up, the easier it is to find stuff to write about.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about the videos on your YouTube page?

Josh: There is a wide mix of content on the youtube page.  A lot of the content is just us sitting around talking about the games we are playing, which keeps with our style of being for casual gamers.  Sometimes we have a fun time with it and add a little bit extra that the fans want to see.  Recently we have been getting out to more events in the NorthEast like Challenge Arcade, GamerDoc launch parties, and Too Many Games.  The events we go to bring in more fans because we get to meet more people and spread the word about GameCasa.  We recently got our hands on some new production equipment, so we are hoping to bring some more high quality products to the youtube page.  You can look at the older stuff and see how different it is than the newer stuff.  The videos are different than the written pieces.  If the fans want to see videos featuring certain people, that’s a bit harder to pull off because you have to coordinate schedules, figure out stuff to do etc.

Obsolete Gamer: Tell us about your Podcast.

Josh: Right now the podcasts are being done on Talkshoe.  Fans can log in through their computer or call in through the phone.  We try to do podcasts during a time when there is something really good to talk about.  We did one where we got to discuss E3 2010 this summer and another one just after Too Many Games.  It’s a sure bet we’ll have a few coming up as the holiday season approaches and the big companies roll out their holiday releases.  The podcasts have becoming more and more popular as we get more people coming in to discuss things.  Having Rake and Brandon on to chat about things (when they figure Talkshoe out) also helps build an interest in getting people to listen in.  All of the podcasts are available on iTunes by searching “GameCasa”. You can find out when we have podcasts schedule by going to GameCasa or following us on Twitter or Facebook.

GamaCasa.net arcade logo
GamaCasa.net arcade logo

Obsolete Gamer: Tell us about your gaming background?

Josh: For me (Josh), I started out gaming with classic arcade games and the Atari system. I spent many hours of my childhood at other people’s houses playing video games with other guys.  It didn’t matter whether or not I really even liked them.  If they had Nintendo, it was a sure bet they would get a knock on the door from me.  I was like a Victorian-Era English Street Urchin, “Excuse me, might I come in for some Ninja Turtles?” I’ve had all of the big systems and am a big fan of RPGs.  I got a closer look at video gaming when I worked as a Quality Assurance Tester for EA Sports in Orlando.  That job was the go to gig for any Orlando guy who couldn’t find anything better or was in between jobs. The one thing I hated about it was that they made it seem bigger than it actually was.  They made it seem as if we were all working to cure cancer.  There was a controversy a few years back when an EA Sports employee’s wife wrote a blog about how EA worked he husband to the bone and never paid overtime.  I believed it.  When a game hits beta you work 14 hours a day with no days off.  It took me awhile after I left to enjoy video games with a passion again.  Part of that was the fact that I had to become a member of the full time workforce.  I would say it really came back to life when I started writing for GameCasa.

Obsolete Gamer: What is your favorite classic game and why?

Josh: Without a doubt my favorite classic game is the original Legend of Zelda for the NES.  It brings back so many memories of your first real video game experience, and that was when it really changed for me.  So many of my friends had it and we would get together playing the game.  We shared the joys of getting Master Sword and the horror of the power going out and our whole save file getting erased.  Zelda was the first Virtual Console game (R.I.P. Virtual Console) I downloaded when I got the Wii.

Obsolete Gamer: What games are you currently playing?

Josh: I’m pretty hooked on Red Dead Redemption and World of Warcraft.  You can probably tell that if you read GameCasa as a good number of articles have to do with those titles.  I’ll play any good comic book super hero game if it comes out and isn’t based on a movie.

Here are the answers from Arthur Webb, Co-founder of Game Casa:

GamaCasa.net logo
GamaCasa.net logo

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about how Game Casa started?

That video basically says it all.  To sum it up: Tone and I were sick of news/reviews geared towards nerds and wanted to provide casual gamers with information they can relate to.

Obsolete Gamer:  Originally what was the reasoning behind creating Game Casa and how has it changed over time? That is another question best suited for Art.

Like I said in the question above, Tone and I wanted to provide casual gamers with entertaining information they can relate to–the key words being entertaining and relate.  All of the shows/sites we got our info from had a ‘nerdy white guy and failed porn actress’ formula that we thought was lame.  What if you’re a 6’4″ black prison guard, and asian body-builder, or a metal head mad scientist?  They can’t relate to X-Play or IGN.  Beyond that, who wants to get their news/reviews in such a boring format?  I’d rather see something entertaining: like a cripple in a 500 lb wheelchair running over a nintendo cartridge.  As Josh mentioned above, Game Casa evolved from a TV show concept into a podcast, into a myspce site, and eventually into a WordPress MU / BuddyPress social site that connects casual gamers across platform (with supporting social media and broadcast sites to boot).

Obsolete Gamer: Tell us about your gaming background?

It was so long ago I can’t really remember…  My dad was a chemist and always purchased the latest computer shit.  I had some gaming system before Atari, then got an Atari, a Mac, Nintendo (smashed about 3 of them), Super Nintendo, Turbo Graphics 16, Atari Lynx, then got every modern console and most of the handhelds after Nintendo 64.  That and I would play games in the arcade whenever I was at the beach or at the mall.  I’ve enjoyed gaming casually all of my life and turned my passion into a vocation after university, when wound up ditching my career in fitness and got a job working as a field rep for Playstation.  I moved on after the PS3 shit the bed and they went into a hiring/promotion freeze and started Game Casa shortly thereafter.

Obsolete Gamer:  What is your favorite classic game and why?

This is the hardest (like my dick) question to answer…  So many classic games hold a spot dear to my balls, I mean, my heart.  Some of my favorites include Sinistar, Yi-Ar Kung Fu, Gladiator and Mat Mania.

Obsolete Gamer:  What games are you currently playing?

When I have time, I love to play Dawn Of War 2 (even though I have to use shitty Windows to play it), Halo Reach, Red Dead Redemption and Demon’s Souls; however, I have a laundry list of one’s I’d like to play.  Just need the time to play em…  Full time work, a newborn and a bunch of wood-be start-up businesses make gaming difficult!

You can check out their site at: http://gamecasa.net/ in addition you can visit their social media pages including FaceBook, Twitter, Youtube and Justin TV where they host their podcasts.

Josh Austin: D3Publisher of America

D3 Publisher logo
D3 Publisher logo

Name: Josh Austin

Company: D3Publisher of America

Profession: Producer

Favorite Classic Game: Metroid NES

Quote: Metroid for the NES was the first gaming experience I had that affected me.  At the time, all the games were colorful with bright music and lots of character.  Metroid was a faceless hero isolated in a sci-fi alien world, to me there was nothing ever like this and it completely consumed me.  I had to get that character through the world to complete her goal, it was a quest, and one that I couldn’t stop until I found every secret path and upgrade.

The music is still amazing to me and really added a lot to the atmosphere.  Part of the reason I stuck around areas exploring every nook and cranny of the world with bombs, missiles and the wave beam was because the music in each section was so engrossing.  I had friends that all played instruments and during high school we always talked about putting together a massive band to re-create the music from the game as it affected us all so much.


Motivational Monday: Game Food

Rat Burger Parasite Eve demotivational poster
Rat Burger Parasite Eve demotivational poster

Motivational Monday: Game Food

No I’m not talking about the cheesy puffs, hot pockets and Mountain Dew you stuff down your gullets while pulling an all-nighter in World of Warcraft. This is about the food found within video games itself. Most of the time food was used in video games to replenish health, but as time went on food gave various power-ups and was even used as a hobby within a game. So let’s take a look at the use of food in video games shall we?

Gauntlet

Gauntlet food
Gauntlet food

Vile and covered in dust and death this dungeon be. The floor is littered with the fallen, of friend and foe. There may be no escape, but that does not weigh heavily on me because my resolve is strong. Even in the darkest night my blade shall shine, but even a great warrior such as I needs replenishment. There, next to the pile of bones bleeding ghosts. Can it be, a ham dinner cooked to perfection with knife and fork. Surely it is a gift from the God’s and not tainted by rot and poison. Next to it lays the remains of a fallen hero, another gift of treasure it must be. I will eat of this feast and take of this bounty and continue my quest because I know not yet of mad cow.

Final Fight

turkey final fight
turkey final fight

So one day my friend’s girl was kidnapped and it was up to me, Naruto color ninja, to save her. The streets were tough but I’m a Street Fighter. After hours of pounding on the Mad Gear gang I was pretty hungry. Thank goodness there was this garbage can sitting inside of the public restroom in the park. With a swift kick I found my price. A fully cooked, ready to eat turkey and it wasn’t even close to thanks giving. Thanks to this meal I was able to make my way to the gold coast and kick an old man in a wheelchair out of a window.

Castlevania: Rondo of Blood

Castlevania birthday cake
Castlevania birthday cake

Tis a cold night it was in the belly of the dark ones castle. Deep within was the chilling winds of evil and the stench of death surrounding my very being. Why or why did I wear my dress on this adventure? Thank goodness the count did not know of my paralyzing fear of the dark or he might not have setup all these lovely candles for me, vanilla scented if I smell correctly. As the night went on despair came over me. I thought of giving up and then I saw it, under the steps next to some dead rats. The Lord of Death did care, he remembered my birthday!

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros Mushroom
Super Mario Bros Mushroom

They told me I was addicted, but what did they know, they were second stringers at best. I had saved the princess time and time again and did she even once put out, no! So yeah, I sniffed the fire flower and ate some mushrooms, but it gave me power. I was in control; I could stop whenever I wanted too. Then it kept happening. The princess is in another castle, the guard would keep telling me. I’d been there before. I knew I should have just gone directly to castle 8. Finally I slayed the dragon and went to claim my prize once again, but all I heard was laugher. I blackout and awoke days later. Bowser was laughing at me. He showed me the heads of all the mushroom guards. I had killed them while under the influence of poison mushroom. I had failed her. My lust of power-ups lead me down a dark path, one from which I would never escape.

Community Profile: Meet A Gamer

Meet A Gamer logo
Meet A Gamer logo

Meet A Gamer

It has long been a criticism that gaming can and does lead to anti-social behavior. The vision of children and adults alike playing away for hours on end in a cold damp basement has caused many parents to cringe at the thought of letting their kids get into gaming. While it is certainly true that becoming too addictive to games can pull one away from other important aspects of their lives including social interactions, it has also been proven that many gamers have found their own community within the gaming world.

Just as there are those who flock to sports bars to find companionship with sports fans, the same is done with gamers. It started with groups of friends getting together to play games and expanded with the internet to forums, chat rooms and user groups. Today with the explosion of social groups and communication tools such as Ventrilo, Instant Messaging and Facebook, gamers can connect with other gamers in a way just a decade ago was not possible.

In our weeklong look at gaming communities we first wanted to discuss the growing social interaction between gamers. When one begins playing games they will quickly find friends they can play and communicate with through online lobbies and programs such as Xbox Live and Playstation Network. In addition with online groups and social media such as Facebook, gamers can find their niche be it FPS games, MMO’s or even classic gaming.

What about a social site that is just for gamers? Perhaps the next big thing in social media is not a general place where everyone can meet, but more specific places where people who share the same hobbies or likes can congregate. The question is can something like this work? As a former owner and administrator of many message boards I can testify to the difficulty of getting users to come to your forum with so many others out there.

However, the culture of gaming is different. A place where you know everyone is a gamer just like you might be a haven. Connecting with new gamers from around the world and being able to share everything from videos, to music to pictures could be very appealing.

Enter Meet A Gamer a social networking site where gamers can create a profile and interact with each other. You can discuss games, chat, and even meet up in your favorite game. Obsolete Gamer had a chance to talk with one of the owners of Meet A Gamer and we had some questions on what it was like to start your very own social gaming network.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet A Gamer advert
Meet A Gamer advert

Obsolete Gamer: How did you come up with the idea for Meet A Gamer?

Nick: Well I was gaming with some local high school buddies of mine and after a while I felt like it was getting too boring and need new people to start playing with.  I slept on it and figured out there was no “social network” for gamers.  So making Meet a Gamer was the perfect concept to find new gamers to play with.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you give us an overview on why you created Meet A Gamer?

Nick: To expand people with new gaming friend.  Creating a way to be able to find the better group to play video games with and of course socially.

Obsolete Gamer:  How difficult was it to create and get the word out to gamers to join?

Nick: It has been very difficult of course, since people use Facebook/Myspace/Twitter etc.  They feel that they don’t need another social network to deal with.  But then when people give it a try they notice it is a great addition with the other social networks because now they can have facebook/myspace for personal use and have a MeetaGamer account for gaming!

Obsolete Gamer:  What did you want your site to bring to gamers?

Nick: I wanted the site to allow gamers to overcome the trash talking and become more social.  Giving gamers the chance to actually meet new gamers without being beaten in a game or harassed.

Obsolete Gamer: How important is social networking to gamers?

Nick: With the way social networking took a spin in the past 6 years it’s really allowing the gaming community unite and kind of give the chance to build a gaming experience they have never experienced before.

Meet A Gamer logo
Meet A Gamer logo

Obsolete Gamer: How has the overall response been to your site by gamers and non-gamers alike?

Nick: The problem I noticed the older generation that played Atari feel that if you only play Halo and Call of Duty series, you are not considered a true gamer.  We all know that is the most played multiplayer on the xbox 360 platform.  Definition of a true gamer is if you play video games, not what type of video games you play.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obsolete Gamer:  What is your gaming background?

Nick: What is gaming?  Just kidding, I’ve been gaming since I was a really little kid started off playing Mario Bros series on the original Nintendo, when you had to blow into the cartridge of the game to get it to play.  And I was really addicted to Excitebike that game had me going for hours.  I finally moved on to Super Nintendo, Sega, and now the next generation consoles.  I am really into the Call of Duty series now.  I’ve tried out the Wii and Playstation 3 but it really isn’t for me.  Those two consoles are collecting tons of dust right now!

Obsolete Gamer:  What is your favorite classic games and why?

Nick: Excitebike has to be my favorite classic game because when I was little I would tell my parents I was sick so I couldn’t go to school.  And I would play that game for hours on end.  I am not sure why that game made me so addicted but it was a blast!

Obsolete Gamer:  What are you playing now?

Nick: Right now I have just been playing NHL 11.  I got bored of Modern Warfare 2 and Madden 11 too quickly.  I am really excited to see what Black Ops has in store for us gamers!

Obsolete Gamer:  In your opinion how important is the online community to gaming and gaming culture?

Nick: If the online community can adapt to the gaming culture it will allow an expansion of networking.  Giving the chance for developers to listen to the people.  If we can all somehow stomp our feet and grab the attention of gaming companies now just imagine what could happen in 5 years!

I would like to thank Obsolete Gamer for contacting us, it was a great pleasure!

Want to join this up and coming social site and connect with gamers? Then check out Meet A Gamer.

Tyler Chester: Appular

Appular logo
Appular logo

Name: Tyler Chester

Company: Appular

Profession: Public Relations

Favorite Classic Game: The Sims

Quote: I’ve always been into simulation games for a while now and it keeps me pretty busy. The Sims 1 for PS2 was really the first game that started my gaming habits. I had an original PS2, the “fatty” of them all. I think I actually got it right on release, not sure. I’m sure you can consider The Sims as a classic, right? At times it can be frustrating, and I still remember you didn’t have the ability to create multiple floors which was a draw back. Now today, The Sims series is huge like really huge. You can build like four floors today, that’s just completly insane. With all the add-ons today their is no limits with The Sims. That’s why I keep coming back to it now and then. I’ve had my fair share of house building with The Sims 3, so many tools, so little time!


Commercial Wars: Best use of Parents

nuclear bomb mushroom cloud explosion
nuclear bomb mushroom cloud explosion

Brand new Sunday feature where we pit three game related commercials against each other. You check them out and vote on which you think is the winner based on the category of the week. This week the category is: Best use of Parents.

We all know that parents are still the key to a lot of game sales in the U.S. so the use of parents in commercial is important. At one point or another everyone has used parents to get their point across using humor and other means. So we present you with three commercials that use parents, you choose which was the best in the poll below.

PlayStation 3: Desperate Dad

This commercial features a dad that tries hard to get his kids to play with him, but let’s face it unless he’s good at Street Fighter IV he should stick to watching MSNBC.

Nintendo: Addiction

Here the theme is addition where two parents talk about their sons fall in the deep dark hole of addition.

Sega: Kid Chameleon

The votes need to come in

Alright, here is your chance to vote. Which commercial made the best use of parents?

[poll id=”8″]

Robert Eng: GameTable Online

Game Table Online logo
Game Table Online logo

Name: Robert Eng

Company: GameTable Online

Profession: Vice-President of Operations

Favorite Classic Game: Jumpman

Quote: For the era it was a good game but I just have fond memories of the family Commodore 64, the industrial strength Atari style joysticks, setting the game to the endless “Randomizer” setting, and competing with my sister. Hours of repetitive fun!


Cosplay: Red Alert

Alienware Facts: Behind the scenes edition

Instead of a story for this week I will instead present some facts about my time at Alienware.

Fact: We were gamers:

Pretty much 90% of us were gamers of some sort back during my time at Alienware. Some of us were true gaming geeks playing everything from PC to Console games going back to the 80’s. Often we would have LAN parties at the office and would go to various people’s homes to play console games. As long as the work got done reading and talking about gaming was allowed (well for most of us) and this did help us become better sales, customer service and tech support agents.

Fact: We had a mystery bathroom destroyer

9 times out of 10 the bathrooms were clean and pleasant, but at least once a day someone would go in and total destroy the bathroom rendering it useless for at least an hour. You would think it would be easy to figure out who it was, but we had multiple bathrooms and the person changed which one he or she (read: he) destroyed. We even considered pointing the cameras toward the door, but we didn’t.

Fact: The Bosses were pretty cool

What made even the toughest times fun was that most of the upper management were pretty cool people. They did not have the mentality that the workers were nothing more than paid slaves. In addition they were gamers as well and understood what it is like to be a gamer and to work in an environment of gaming. This allowed the workplace to be relatively stress-free. Not feeling the bosses breathing down your neck 24/7 made going to work much more enjoyable and I believe it showed in our productivity.

Fact: The Roach Coach had no Roaches

We called the lunch truck that came around every morning around 10:30 the roach coach, but in fact the food was really good and the truck was nice and clean. The guy who ran the truck was also nice and would even allow us to owe him if we were short. Now surly you could find fatty foods that any gamer would love on the coach, but it also offered some healthy choices such as fresh fruit and 100% juices. It was a nice break in the early part of the day.

Fact: Not everyone was discreet with their desktop wallpaper

Everyone was very professional at Alienware even the younger guys for many of whom this was their first non-fast food job. We knew all the rules about privacy and we understood ourselves that we wouldn’t want our private information being seen or read by others. However, some people forgot that we need to boot the PC before we begin work. We made it clear we would format a customer’s hard drive before returning the system and warned them to insure all items they wished to keep was backed-up.

In most cases this wasn’t an issue and we knew that even if the system was backed up it didn’t mean the original material would not remain on the PC. Since we knew this we made sure not to open folders or files on a customer’s PC, but there was nothing we could do about one’s desktop wallpaper.

One day while I was working in RMA I heard a Depot technician yell out “Holy Shit!” I turned and looked through the chain link fence dividing our departments to see a picture of a woman preforming an oral act on a man. The tech quickly selected a solid color background and went back to work. The PC was fixed and formatted and returned. Weeks later we receive an e-mail thanking us for fixing his machine and he included a picture of him standing next to the PC smiling with his wife.

Funny thing, the guy in the picture matched the guy on the wallpaper, the woman did not.

On with the Show

And now here’s something you’ll really like, Cosplay.

 

 

Jóhann Haukur Gunnarsson: CCP

CCP_on_black

Name: Jóhann Haukur Gunnarsson (CCP 2PIE)

Company: CCP

Profession: Associate Programmer

Favorite Classic Game: XCOM: UFO DEFENSE

Quote: For me this is the golden turn based strategy game. I still play it, even though I have finished this game so often I’ve long lost count of it. The suspense when you wait for your turn as the AI opponent stalks around is immense. The research effort, the amount of content, the strategy behind where you place your bases and what countries you strife to defend give this game a lot of depth. Replayability is an often coveted word, but few gameshave as long lasting value as that game did, and still does. And ahh, I also fondly remember the various ways I could cheat in the game by editing its save-files.


Five Treasured items from my Console Days

a lot of NES stuff
a lot of NES stuff

Five Treasured items from my Console Days

Everyone has items or knickknacks that they keep because of the fond memories. It can be the ticket to the first baseball game you went to or a lock of hair from that girl you’ve been stalking. Just like baseball cards and comic books there are items that we treasure and if we had the time and space would create a shrine to. Unfortunately, when it came to my console gaming days I didn’t take very good care of my stuff and so much of it was either, destroyed, and lost, sold or traded. However, there are items that I would definitely put in a safe place to remind me of the joy it brought me.

The Gold Zelda Cartridge

NES Zelda Gold cartridge
NES Zelda Gold cartridge

Believe it or not it is rarer to find the grey Zelda cart than the gold, but for me it was just too cool to open the box and find a shiny gold cartridge. The gold cart just went along with the game and collecting the tri-force of power and began long before the overused term “bling”. The golden cartridge just stood out in your collection.

Sonic 3 & Sonic & Knuckles

Sega Genesis Sonic & Knuckles cartridge
Sega Genesis Sonic & Knuckles cartridge

I was a big Sonic the Hedgehog fan and as such the last thing I wanted was my game to come to an end. When these carts were released so you could connect them I geeked out hardcore. When you finished Sonic 3 the game would automatically transition into Sonic & Knuckles.

This was called Lock-on-Technology. Originally Sonic 3 was to feature Knuckles and many of the levels found in Sonic and Knuckles but due to time constraints the game was split into two. There are a bunch of differences to the games when using the Lock-on-Technology including the ending being different in Sonic 3, Knuckles being playable in Sonic 3 and having modified levels in Sonic 3. You could also connect Sonic 2 to the Knuckles cart to make Knuckles in Sonic 2 and gain the ability to play as Knuckles.

The Super Game Boy

Super Gameboy cartridge
Super Gameboy cartridge

I was a Game boy freak. Sure, it did not have the graphics or the color of the Game Gear, but I fell it love with the games and played it more than my GG when I finally got one. The Super Game Boy allowed you to play the original Gameboy games and the first Gameboy color games. For the most part the graphics remained the same at least in early games, but later on the some of the Gameboy games could take advantage of the SNES hardware and display more colors.

In addition some games had extras and enhancements when plugged into the SNES. One example was if you played Space Invaders you got the full SNES from the Gameboy cart. Also some games such as Killer Instinct allowed you to use your second control for two player action. Finally some of the Gameboy color games featured additional sounds when used with the SGB.

 

 

 

Sega 32x

Sega 32x
Sega 32x

I know this was a failure, but I loved connecting my Sega CD with the 32x and making a big super console. I felt like it was some kind of transformer like the one that turns into the Autobots base. Honestly, the only game I ever played on this was Doom and by the time I did I was already playing it on my PC. In the end it was a waste of time and money, but I enjoyed just having it if nothing else as a bragging piece.

The Game Genie

Sega Genesis Game Genie cartridge
Sega Genesis Game Genie cartridge

Let’s face it, if you weren’t using cheat codes you were missing out on the full gaming experience. The Game Genie changed the way we played console games allowing you to do all types of things with games you normally would have never had the ability too.

The was a Game Genie for pretty much all the major Sega and Nintendo consoles including the Gameboy. You could get the codes from magazines or even by calling an 800 number. Personally I only used codes once I finished a game because I wore beating a game like a badge of honor, but once I did it the legit way it was open season. Truly having a Game Genie expanded the playability of games by a lot.

Obsolete Gamer: MMO Zone Awards

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MMO Zone Awards

 Unrest was feared for this reason because the walk back to your corpse (naked) sucked and if you died in the house or god forbid the basement you were pretty much screwed. If you actually camped inside the house you were considered a badass. ~J.A. Laraque

Most feared low level zone: Everquest: The Estate of Unrest

Now some my dispute this was a low level zone, but the fact was that you could grind some series experience as low as level 15 in this zone. There were beetles you could pull from the yards surrounding the house and some lower level undead mobs you could take with a small group. What made it real difficult was at the time most people were using weapons that did not work on magical creatures and if you did not have one beetle’s would be the only thing you could kill.

Everquest: The Estate of Unrest

The thing about this zone was you could be as high as level 35 and still gain limited experience in the zone, mainly in the house. Originally, groups would not dare to enter the house choosing the pull the mobs outside. This often led to what the zone was most famous for, trains.

For those who might not know, trains were when large groups of mobs would accidently (mostly) be pulled. This mainly happened because inside the house in Unrest was kind of buggy. Since the mobs that dropped the best loot were in the basement players would run and pull them out to the yard. Sometimes (many times) they would pull the upper floors and a train was created.

For the most part when a train was pulled everyone would run to the zone and exit, this would allow the mobs to path back to their spot. However, many thought they could hide along the sides of the zone or many would zone out and not wait long enough and zone back in. This would re-agro the entire train keeping everyone else out for a longer period.

Unrest was feared for this reason because the walk back to your corpse (naked) sucked and if you died in the house or god forbid the basement you were pretty much screwed. If you actually camped inside the house you were considered a badass.

This zone had a ton of great mobs including, wearbats, reclusive ghouls, reanimated hands, undead hags, dark boned skeletons, zombie bartenders and a headless dwarf. The Estate of Unrest also featured some of the most wanted loot for the level including the bloodstained tunic, Opalline earrings and Dwarven work boots.

Overall the zone was fun to play in even when full to capacity; there was a lot of drama over pulls and trains and loot and even what level players should be there. It was by no means a perfect zone, but ask any EQ player what zone they first fell in love with as an early player and 9 out of 10 will say Unrest.

Couples playing W.O.W: An articlementary

Wedding World of Warcraft
Wedding World of Warcraft

Couples playing W.O.W

Studying the human condition can be really rewarding, I like to observe people in a non-peeping tom kind of way to find out how they go about their daily lives. In World of Warcraft that is not easy since people play in their homes, but with a little searching and some pointed questions you are able to get a feeling for how people behave and integrate their lives and relationships in W.O.W.

Today I want to talk about couples in World of Warcrft. We already talked about how to get your girlfriend to play and the pros and con’s of doing so. Now, let us explore those couples who do play W.O.W with quotes from them and the people they play with.

She has sex with me, but can she play?

Girl Gamers World of Warcraft box
Girl Gamers World of Warcraft box

Sometimes the man or woman gets their significant other to play. In other cases the two meet in game and then come together. We asked the question, what happens if he or she sucks at the game? What if she or he is better than the other?

My GF plays and I sometimes raid with her. She sits 3 feet from me, and is a Resto Shaman. Usually a night of raiding goes something like this:

“WTF are you doing, get out of the fire.”

“What fire?”

“The red sh*t you’re standing on.”

“Don’t lifetap anymore”

“Shut your mouth.”

“It’s your fault we wiped.”

“Why are you such an ass? I hate playing this game with you.”

We learned it can be stressful if one person takes the game serious and the other doesn’t.

Girl: Alright, pulling

Guy: Doing great hun, just keep up the threat

Guy: Need heals

Girl: you have them, just let em tick…

Guy: omg! I’m gonna d…. oh, nvm

Girl: quick, death grip this one on me,

Girl: Maybe..

Girl: !!!

Girl: Teehee

Guy: (5%)

Girl: ok, i’ll get it.

Guy: … Maybe next time I won’t heal you….

Sometimes she just sucks ass. By the way, we also discovered anyone who says Tee Hee out loud is a psychopath.

“WTF you fell again?”

“What do you mean you dont have the flight path, we were just there?”

“So, this whole time, you didnt even have the quest?”

“How in the world do you pull the whole room?”

“I’m going on my alt…”

When the music stops

World of Warcraft breakup
World of Warcraft breakup

What happens when the fun of playing World of Warcraft is gone for one or the other? What happens if you both go in different directions in the game?

I started playing with my g/f.. She bought me this damn game. After 1 and a half years of playing together she went horde and we raided in different guilds and different factions. This affected our relationship greatly.. We almost broke up for good a month ago. We stopped playing completely a month ago to save our relationship.

Sometimes W.O.W has to be left behind in order to save the relationship. Unfortunately, sometimes it is the relationship left behind.

I thought having a gamer chick that was actually hot was better than a server first. Nothing beats hot sex in-between Kodo mount runs. Then something happened. She got into faction farming for those damn achievements. Watching her grind faction killed the game for me. We stopped having sex, I quit wow, but she kept playing. I couldn’t take it anymore. I broke up with her and found a club chick. She is just as bad, but its loud music not factions runs. I hear my ex is on a ventilator now and still plays.

I found if you can identify the problem early you might be able to save the relationship. The key is deciding which is more important, your hot piece of meat or purple loot and a dragon mount.

Problem is our relationship was amazing before the game came into our lives. We got equally addicted to the game where we were raiding 5 days a week for 4 hrs a night. Having no contact and sitting down for those hours spent apart affected us in so many ways.

She quit raiding a month a half ago due to guild drama when she realized she didn’t want to be with a raider anymore. I asked her numerous times if she wanted me to quit raiding I would and she just said no you can play the game. She thought she had made up her mind about leaving me because of me and not the game. I quit 2 weeks after her and the relationship started to improve greatly, she then found out it was the game that was screwing everything up for us and it wasn’t just me.

We know drama

We have much more to cover including, kids over vent, when guild leaders are married and A.F.K sex. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below and stay tuned for part two.

Mungo Amyatt-Leir: Flight 1

Flight1 Software logo
Flight1 Software logo

Name: Mungo Amyatt-Leir

Company: Flight1

Profession: Managing Director, Europe

Favorite Classic Game: Asteroids (Arcade)

Quote: In 1979 I was 11 years old and the chip shop, next to the new Secondary Comprehensive I had just joined, revealed a whole new world of entertainment beyond Grange Hill and Crackerjack. It was the low throb and moonlight glow of the Asteroids machine in the corner, with a gaggle of older boys madly shouting instructions, interspersed with the unforgettable high pitched UFO sound, that drew my interest. I quickly become hooked, walking 4 miles each way to school so that I could spend my bus (and lunch) money on this beast. My nightmares were punctuated by the appearance of that tiny saucer and hundreds of vector-rendered tiny rocks, perfectly rotating as they hurtled across the screen with only the limited hyperspace jump acting as my saviour. The machine moved on, as did I, and it was not too many years later I found myself rendering sprites of those same rocks as we programmed the a 16-bit conversion of this seminal game.


Claas Paletta: Daedalic Entertainment

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Name: Claas Paletta

Company: Daedalic Entertainment

Daedalic entertainment

Profession: PR & New Business Manager

Favorite Classic Game: Jagged Alliance 2

Quote: Хорошо! – Ivan Dolvich

That’s what Ivan, my favorite mercenary in the Jagged Alliance series, says when you direct him anywhere on the map. He speaks only Russian and is a tremendously good shot. A great addition for any team of soldiers of fortune trying to overthrow a dictator!

If you could have any video game made into a live action movie which one would it be and why?

Resident Evil movie
Resident Evil movie

Ah you have to love Hollywood. At one time the paper suits of Tinseltown would never even look at a video game or comic book for a movie adaptation and today they are throwing themselves against the wall trying to produce the next summer popcorn choker based on a game. Now we have seen some horrible movies based on video games and there have been some pretty decent ones as well. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good – Silent Hill

Sure this movie wasn’t perfect, but you have to give them credit for trying hard to bring all the elements of the game to a movie audience who may have never played it. I have no problem that they went with a woman for the first one instead of a man. I understand why it works better at least for a first movie. The visuals and music was stunning from the ash covered town of Silent Hill to the Hell themed environments of the Dark World. Seriously when you first see the transition from “purgatory” to “hell” you had no choice but to be impressed.

I thought the story was well done considering and though some criticized the “recap monolog” toward the end of the movie I felt that was well in line with how the game does its storytelling. I mean come on, the film had drama, suspense, horror, a little mystery, a thought provoking ending (for better or worse). The film also had car crashes, pyramid head, the razor blade nurses and nudity. Ok, the last one was that part where pyramid head tore off the clothes of that crazy lady before killing her, definitely not a Fapp moment, but it still counts as nudity.

The Bad – Street Fighter

Wow, even the trailer is bad. I just don’t understand how you ruin a movie like this. I swear they could have hired a bunch of stunt fighters and just had them fight it out in costume for ninety minutes and it would have been light years better than this. Honestly, I even feel bad for Van Damme because while he might not be a five star actor some of his action movies have been fun to watch and I believe he could have been decent if the overall movie was better.

I just don’t know where to even begin with this movie, but damn, having Ryu and Ken as backup characters was just one of the many things that killed me. Trust me it was just bad and the only debate is which was worse the 94 Street Fighter or the awful Legend of Chung Li.

The Ugly – Any Uwe Boll Video Game Movie

So if Hell is a place of your own creation then Uwe Boll should be hired to direct a movie about Hell then be forced to life within it for all of eternity. Seriously, I rather watch stick figure porn than an Uwe Boll video game movie where he uses horrible music including game sounds that don’t fit the scene. If you think that’s bad it gets worse. He has been known for sticking in actual video game footages into his live action movies. The word Hack does not even fit here.

It is said that you should not talk unless you can do better, trust me I and a ton of people out there can do better. Just search for his other video game movies and see. What’s sad is many of these movies could be decent, but there is a disconnect between what the public wants and what Hollywood thinks we wants.

What would I like to see?

How about a movie based on the game Magic Sword. It would have to be done Lord of the Rings style, just a massive toward and a ton of bad guys and keep it exactly as the game plays. I think a hack and slash video game movie can work.

So we asked our panel of insiders what movie they would like to see made:

Grace Snoke from EOGamer wrote:

I thought about an answer to this question since I saw it, and recalling all the horrid video game movies there are out there (Street Fighter, Mortal Combat, etc.) I have a hard time wanting to see any game turned into a movie.  Perhaps the Dead Rising series would work, or even Dragon Age, but in all honesty, turning a video game into a movie never goes well and I wouldn’t want that to be the downfall of any good game out there.

Juan Gril from JoJu Games wrote:

Ico!

Chris Skaggs from Soma Games wrote:

Oblivion. 1 because I really haven’t had my Fantasy itch scratched since LOTR and 2 because anything with Patrick Stewart is worth watching.

David Warhol from Realtime Associates wrote:

During the peak of Everquest’s popularity, there was a rumor going around about a movie being made out of it.  This spawned a few joke lists of potential titles.  My favorite, due to the frequency of precipitation in the game, was: “Everquest: It Begins To Rain.”

Now is your turn. What video game would you like to see turned into a live action movie?

Michael Mota: DreamCatcher Games

Dreamcatcher logo
Dreamcatcher logo

Name: Michael Mota

Company: DreamCatcher Games

Profession: Public Relations

Favorite Classic Game: NHL 95

Quote: “This is the game that got me hooked in the NHL franchise. It was fast paced, exciting, and I had a blast creating my own custom team. My favorite part of this game (and every NHL game after) was the hitting/body checking. When you lay down a good solid body check, you’d hear an awesome “UGH”, followed by cheers or boos from the crowd. I’ll be honest, I still have this game at home on my shelf.”


GAMES COMING OUT FOR CONSOLES: OCT 26TH 2010

Video Game store
Video Game store

There are way too many good games coming out this month. Next week the pain continues so head over to Goggle and search for “Dollar Grocery Store”, cancel the Direct TV subscription and open a window because this is gaming season and we’re just getting started.

Fable III

The revolution will not be televised, but you can be part of it in Fable 3. This time the hero’s goal is to overthrow the evil King Logan who rules with an iron fist. How bad is this guy? Well he taxes people to hell, makes kids work in factories and kills people who don’t agree with him (sounds like the Bush administration am I right folks?) I kid, I kid.

You may be offspring of a great family, but that doesn’t mean you can effect change on your own. You need followers and you do this by completing missions and getting people to join you. Now you can go good or evil and your weapon changes depending on which path you choose. In the end will you be a kind and giving king or will your rule make Logan’s look like a day at Candyland?

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

What happens when a cloned Jedi with incredible force abilities lets loose? You get one hell of a game. Star Wars, the force unleashed 2 takes place right where part one left off. Starkiller betrayed Vader and tried to off the emperor but was killed. Vader created another clone of Starkiller and locked him away.

Starkiller is plagued by visions of his former self to which Vader explains it is just a side effect of the cloning process. However, Starkiller doesn’t accept that and breaks out and from there the real adventure and revenge begins.

WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011

It’s all about the gameplay when it comes to wrestling games and every game will be compared to the N64 title which is heralded by fans as the best of the best. This year SvR returns with a brand new physics engine that boasts to be the most realistic ever. This means the chair shots will look more real. The tables will break properly and they are unlimited and the ladders collapse as they should.

It is also about presentation and with the updated character models and grapple moves your focus will remain on the fun not a glitch in the game. Add to that the largest roster on a SvR game and we might just have a contender.

Overdraft Incoming

Now don’t go complaining that I didn’t mention Rock Band 3 or Sim’s 3. Yes, these are fun games, but how much more can be said. We know they have their market and will do will. Also, we don’t want you to go too far into debt there are more games coming out with week of Nov 2nd.

Rica-Tan: Agatsuma Entertainment

Agatsuma Entertainment logo

Name:Rica-tan

Company: AGATSUMA ENTERATINMENT Co. Ltd.

Profession: Producer/agent between developers and publishers

Favorite Classic Game: Qix/ Q-bert/ RallyX

Quote: Because those are simple, time consuming games!

Info: Rica was a producer of Let’s Draw! A Nintendo DS title released in US/Europe by Majesco/Barnstorm.

The Music of Heroes of Might And Magic 2

The Music of Heroes of Might And Magic 2

My friends and I played the living hell out of this game and the music never got boring.

This great soundtrack was written by Paul Anthony Romero, Steve Baca and Rob King.

Here for your listening enjoyment is the music of this classic turn-based wargame!

The Sorceress Castle, probably my favorite song:

Warlock Castle, this one reminds me a lot of Castlevania:

Necromancer Castle, even more music that reminds me of Castlevania Symphony of the Night:

Knight Castle theme, probably the nicest tune in the soundtrack:

Barbarian Castle version 1, sounds very operic but also parts remind me of jazz:

Barbarian Castle theme version 2; very deep sounding:

Wizard Castle, this one is very different depending on which version of the game you own:

Well there are the main themes…

The songs you’ll hear the most are the combat songs.

The first one kind of reminds me of the music from Mechwarrior 2:

The second one is pretty tribal:

And this one is even more so!

There’s mini tunes for every kind of terrain and season but they’re mainly short songs that loop.

The one you’d hear the most is usually “grasslands theme”

Well if you never played Heroes of Might and Magic 2 I would say check it out although it has a ton of sequels now and it’s based originally on the game King’s Bounty which I first played on Sega Genesis!

Cataclysm: Inception

WoW Cataclysm Inception logo
WoW Cataclysm Inception logo

Our master of the editorial, Umar Khan sent over this link which has one the World of Warcraft Cataclysm trailers playing alongside the music from the movie, Inception. It’s about 18 seconds of the inception theme then you start the cataclysm trailer, if you mute the cataclysm music and let only the inception music play it matches together in a pretty awesome way.


Remember you need to mute the Cataclysm trailer.

Don’t feeling like trying it on your own? You can view it on the Youtube double and Check it out here.

Thanks Umar.

Motivational Monday: The Shower Scene

motivational poster

 

Video Game Show Scenes

We have a Facebook series called Video Game Motivation posters where we upload a new motivational or de-motivational poster each weekday.  For this new series we will take it a bit farther and only present one poster originally created by the Obsolete Gamer team (at least we hope it’s original) and accompany it with information and maybe some video.

This week’s MM is dedicated to the Shower Scene. Now shower scenes have been popular in thrillers and horror films going back to the days of black and white. One of the most famous shower scenes is the one from the horror movie Psycho.

I mean who doesn’t feel at least a little bit vulnerable in the shower? Besides us in horror films the shower scene is also used in love stories, for seduction purposes and to give us an interment moment with a character. This of course translated over to games and with high end 3D graphics there have been a number of memorable video game shower scenes.

Just a little warning, some of the videos show animated nudity so I will tag this NSFW (Not Safe for Work) so watch at your own risk.

Fatal Frame III

Parasite Eve II

Enemy Zero

Rumble Roses

Dead or Alive III

Xenosaga III

Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain -Shower Scene from Jeux Video

Kotaku: A Look Back at Super Mario Bros

25 years of Super Mario Bros
25 years of Super Mario Bros

We are fast approaching the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros and Kotaku has put up a cool video looking back on 25 years of our favorite little plumber. You can check out the article and video here.

Mario 25th Anniversary
Mario 25th Anniversary

In attrition here is a cool video that looks back at Mario Bros. as well created by the folks over at That Fellow in the Coat.

Happy Birthday Nintendo

NES Console System
NES Console System

One day you’re unwrapping the brand new console you got for Christmas in the middle eighties and the next thing you know you’re twenty-five years older and can play every title on a cellphone. The first NES has given millions of fans countless hours of fun over the last two decades and will continue so for a long time to come and so we want to wish the Nintendo Entertainment System a happy 25th birthday.

Today, October 18th marks the 25th anniversary of the NES being first sold in the U.S. Now some of you gaming history buffs might be thinking “Hey, I couldn’t get my NES until 86.” Well you are right. Originally the Nintendo was only available for limited release at the high-end boutique toy store known as FAO Schwarz. It was at the New York store that you could purchase the NES in 85; you would have to wait a bit longer before you could buy it elsewhere.

FAO Schwarz
FAO Schwarz

When I purchased my NES it cost me around $159.00; however the pricing for what was called the Control Deck ran for about $129.00, it came with two controllers and the combo game of Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. I remember repackaging my NES in the original box every night before bed. However, that didn’t last long and soon I was blowing on cartridges and punching it out of frustration, good times.

Gold Zelda NES cartridge
Gold Zelda NES cartridge

The Nintendo Entertainment system had an incredible decade long run in the U.S. From 1985 to 1995 thousands of games came out that won numerous awards and critical acclaim from critics and fans alike. This is the system that launched with titles such as Excite-bike, Baseball and Ice-climber and went on to offer titles like Metroid, Ninja Gaiden and the awesome Golden Edition Legend of Zelda. Not only games, but the NES had awesome accessories such as the NES Zapper, Robbie the robot and of course the power glove.

Powerglove advertisement
Powerglove advertisement

Now our good friend also had some growing pains. First off was the issue with the front loading system on the NES which was prone to come loose over time. Also the spring that held up the cartridge bay would sometimes break after limited use. Then of course there was the blowing on the cartridge thing which had more to do with the connectors than just dust particles alone. In addition to some hardware issues the NES suffered from a ton of horrible third party games and accessories that dragged the system down in its later years. You could find add-ons of one sort or another for the NES everywhere from drug stores to gas stations. Then came the awful games like 1UP 7UP and crash test dummies, not to mention the unlicensed games like the infamous Bible Adventures game.

Bible Adventures NES cartridge
Bible Adventures NES cartridge

However with over 60 million units sold worldwide and the continued success of Nintendo and its core titles there is no doubt that the NES is one of the king consoles of the 80’s. As said the classic games are still played today on phones, via emulators and even on flash game websites. The NES became an important part of many households just like the family television and we at Obsolete Gamer are thankful for the time spent and memories with our Nintendo Entertainment System.

On to the next 25!

Jeroen Talman: Games Factory Online

Games Factory Online logo

Name: Jeroen Talman

Company: Games Factory Online

Profession: Project Manager / Game Producer

Favorite Classic Game: Alexx Kidd in Miracle World

Quote: As a little kid I never owned a NES, but we had a Sega Master System II instead. This console had the game Alexx Kidd in Miracle World build in. I spent so many hours playing this game as a 6-year old boy that the nostalgic feelings I have with the game overrule other games like Sonic.
The use of vehicles and mini-games such as rock-paper-scissors were impressive, just like the shop system. Alexx Kidd, where are you nowadays… We miss you dearly!


GOG: Rebellion titles up to 50% off

gog good old games logo
gog good old games logo

Feel like collecting some classic games? Well this weekend you can save a bundle on Rebellion titles at Good Old Games. They have titles starting from $2.99 to $4.99 including: Ground Control, Empire Earth and Lords of Magic. The promotion is only for this weekend so if you are interested hit it up now.

promo rebel gog deal
promo rebel gog deal

Cosplay: Curves

Alienware Rocks:

You can’t please everyone no matter how hard you try. The common wisdom today is that customer service and tech support doesn’t care about their customers. I can understand that feeling because of things like massive outsourcing and stories of how dumb people think customers are. However, I can say truthfully that during my time in Customer and Tech Support we did everything we could to make people happy.

Now of course that was up to a point. We all knew our stuff and knew our products and since the company was small at the time it was easy to go check on a system personally. Everyone knew everyone so it was simple to ask that something be double checked, triple checked and so on.

You rarely hear from happy customers, but the angry ones last forever. In one instance we had a customer who built a system for her son. A few weeks after he received the system he said it was full of viruses and crashed and had software issues. After checking it out we told his mother it was due to lack of an anti-virus and the fact that her son was going to sites that let’s just say are known to carry viruses.

We that just didn’t sit well with the mother, she said it was our fault and her son is a saint and would never surf bad sites. We did clean up the system and had proof it was due to viruses, but we were not there to prove her wrong, we wanted to help. Unfortunately, we knew the future.

As the weeks went on we continued to hear from the customer about how the system was “broken again”. No matter how we tried to explain it we were in the wrong and her son was in the right. Then the lemon law talk started. Believe me, we tried everything including giving her free anti-virus software and even monitoring software, and still time after time he would call in saying his system “sucks”.

We agreed to have the system come in to do a full look over. At this time she wanted a new system, but we knew it was not something a new computer would fix. If nothing else we hoped to get the system in and set it up so that no matter where her son went the computer would not get infected. We eagerly awaited the systems arrival and when it came to our shipping depot the manager told us it seemed really heavy. When we went to look at it the box seemed fine, but when we opened it inside was tons of small to medium sized rocks and a note that just said Alienware rocks.

I won’t go into what happened next, but in the end it was proven her son did cause the issues. I doubt the mom forgave us, but you can’t win them all.

Alright, if you read all this thanks. If not, it’s okay. Now on to what you came here for.

Check out the rest of our Cosplay.

 

Classic X-Men Arcade coming to XBL and PSN

Xmen Arcade 1
Xmen Arcade 1

Long before I became a crack head for X-Men versus street fighter I fell in love with the X-Men arcade game. I use to spend tons of money (for a kid) on this game because it was just that fun. The large arcade cabinet with multiple screens and six player action was the best and many games followed that lead after its success.

Sure some gameplay elements were strange like the fact you could only do your special attacks a few times. Most of the time you were punching and kicking and taking advantage of a downed opponent, but with the ease of the standard cannon-fodder enemies it wasn’t a big deal. When you went up against bosses (like the Brotherhood of Evil mutants) that was the time to let loose and use your special powers. The boss fights were fun with the little dialog they would say before and after the fight.

When playing with six people the action go crazy. There would be a ton of bad guys on the screen and the bosses were even tougher. In the end you went up against the master of magnetism in an epic final battle.

Now you can relive all that action on your Playstation 3 or Xbox 360. Konami and Marvel will be launching X-men arcade on the Playstation Network and X-box live this fall. The game will support 1-4 players locally and 1-6 players online and best of all just like the arcade people can jump in the game at any time.

All the original characters are there, Cyclops, Colossus, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Storm and Wolverine and the original graphics and sound has been preserved. However, there are new Hi-Def heads up displays, menus and leaderboards. You can create online matches, change the difficultly, choose how many people you want to play and who will be the host.

We should have more pricing information and release dates soon, but since this is the feed if you get the scoop first post it here and let us know.

Confessions of a Keyboard Turner

sleeping baby on keyboard
sleeping baby on keyboard

Confessions of a Keyboard Turner

So I received this e-mail back in the day and I don’t know why because I was never know to be helpful, but rather to make fun of people, but hey, if God gives you lemons you find a new God.

Hi J.A.

I have been reading your articles and after seeing the one about playing A.V. I wanted to ask you about a horrible condition I have. See, the problem is I keyboard turn and I don’t know why. I have been playing wow for a few years and still do it and get totally owned. It has been so bad I haven’t left my room for days, please help.

Timothy Hayden

I use to be a keyboard turner, but then my other testical dropped and I began to use mouse look. Sorry, but too often the symptoms of a keyboard turner also include:

  • Lack of targeting skills
  • Inability to “dance” in Nax
  • Non-PVP’er
  • High pitched voice in Ventrilo
  • Stories about how your mom bothers you while raiding in the raid chat channel

I suggest you start to use mouse look, because it gets your wrist into shape and we all know World of Warcraft players could use a stronger wrist. Also, girls like mouse lookers because it tells them they know how to play with the mouse.

On the other hand I do hate the Counter Strike kids who play a rogue and run around you in circles, using sprint, spinning and jumping like they are on crack. This action makes me want to punch my monitor, but I paid far too much for it and it happens to be my television as well, so, I just try my best to slow them down and picture them nerd raging out slamming their face against the keyboard.

Okay, I will try to be helpful. What you want to do is go into Ironforge (I know you are Alliance, all keyboard turners are Alliance) then go to the great forge and enable mouse look and start walking and looking around. Once you get the hang of this try doing some quests with mouse look and finally log into a BG. You will get owned, though that’s mostly because you just suck at W.O.W, but a trial by fire can sometimes be the best way to learn. I learned in Quake 2 Rocket Arena, so yeah.

Remember keyboard turners are like blind guard dogs, sure they can still get you, but wouldn’t you rather be running at full capacity? Your group and guild will like you much better and tolerate your horrible D.P.S. if you can at least use mouse look.

P.S.

Please go outside and get some sun because I don’t want a letter from your mom about how telling you to learn to use mouse look led to your death. Maybe I should get her to take away your account and make this happen:

P.P.S. Yes, I know that’s a picture of facerolling.

Alasdair Evans: Laughing Jackal

Laughing Jackal logo

Name: Alasdair Evans

Company: Laughing Jackal Ltd.

Profession: Senior Producer

Favorite Classic Game: Super Metroid

Quote: I thought long and hard about the answer to this question as I’ve been gaming since about 1983 and struggle with the definition of a ‘classic’ game. Casting my net into the 90s, I am also a huge Street Fighter II (or III or IV, for that matter!) fan. I think, though, that Super Metroid just edges it for me as it probably had a greater impact on me when I first played it. The feeling of being let loose on a huge and deserted alien world was unparalleled at the time. It was the first game that really made me feel something emotionally and was just so well constructed that I still go back and play it today. It also has a maturity and an eeriness that few games of the time did – especially on the SNES. There have been many imitators, including Shadow Complex, the ‘Metroidvania’ games, and the Metroid series’ own new entries in the time since, but for me Super Metroid is the ultimate single player experience and an absolute gem that everyone should try at least once. Still, props to Street Fighter II, if you’d asked me what my favourite multiplayer classic game was I wouldn’t have hesitated! I still play SSFIV on my 360 to this day. If anyone fancies a game, my gamertag is evanac   😉


Obscure Gamer – Sacred cows to the slaughter

Not everything in the gaming garden is coming up roses. There are some “classic” games that many players do not get on with. Maybe it’s time to stop applauding gaming as a medium when it still has so many flaws?

Take Wipeout. Many saw this as a key to the Playstation’s phenomenal success, the mixing of club/dance music and 3D graphics that previous machines would have struggled with. But is it really that good? I personally find the handling model difficult and rarely last more than a couple of races, before either becoming bored of the constant brake/shoot/collide gameplay, or get stuck at the back of the pack with little hope of catching up. Time to put another game into the slow-loading CD drive on the PS1 or Saturn. Even a high-definition remake for a newer console would not attract me, although gaming legend Jeff Minter did cite that as the one thing that could have made him dash out to buy a PS3 at launch.

The Capcom classic 1942 spawned a series of games and was highly popular in arcades. But have you sat down and played it recently? There are some fundamental flaws that make it less than perfect, and certainly call into question its classic status. Even on the first level, you will notice it. The random positioning of the attack waves means that planes can fly off-screen before you are able to shoot them, negating any chance of getting a 100% shot down rating and the commensurate bonus. The biggest flaw though has to be the decision to bring attack waves up from the bottom of the screen with no warning. A real gamebreaker if ever there was one.

The Gamescom 2010 event saw Sony finally pin down a launch date for the long-awaited Gran Turismo 5 – nearly 3 years after the PS3 was launched with a demo. But now that planned November launch date has been cancelled, with a vague promise of the “holiday season”. Is it worth the wait, and will it bring anything new to the table after so many years in development? The series as a whole deserves praise for its good-looking car models. But the opponent AI and the lack of car damage have always reduced its credibility as a racing game. Just adding layer after layer of detail does not make it play better, nor does obsessively sampling engine sounds. Forza has built its reputation and its gameplay over recent years to be a serious rival to GT’s crown as the best “realistic” racer, but sometimes I’d rather kick back and cause some carnage with Burnout.

Perhaps most controversial will be my view on Sonic. Sonic is bad from the start. The combination of high-speed movement and precise platforming is actually a bad idea. When I do play the original Megadrive games, I find myself getting to the same point time after time – where it switches from being all about speed to being about sequences of moves and slowing down to avoid gaps. Yes, it’s fun to see things move by at a blur. But not at the expense of feeling in control, and certainly not when it comes with the frustration of hitting the same obstacle repeatedly. Those hoping for a return to form with the episodic Sonic 4 will, I imagine, be ultimately disappointed with just more of the same and yet shy of trying something different – such as the Wii game Sonic Colours, which to my mind has more chance of being innovative.

Blizzard wants me back

World of Warcraft Cataclysm release date
World of Warcraft Cataclysm release date

Well this is a feed post. I got my feed from Blizzard themsevels telling me World of Warcraft expansion is coming on this December. To bad I lost all interest in the game. Whats sad is I spent like almost 300 bucks in sever transfers, now that’s just sad. Honestly, I loved my time in wow and met great friends who still are to this day. However, I think my time has come and gone for this game, but who knows.

Ok to make this post “feed” worthy here is the info:

O
n December 7, 2010, the lands of Azeroth will be torn asunder as World of Warcraft®: Cataclysm™ hits shelves at retail locations throughout the world.

 

You’ve toppled the undead armies of the Lich King and brought Arthas to his knees. Now Deathwing the Destroyer has broken free from his ancient prison in the Elemental Plane of Earth and unleashed his rage upon Azeroth. As the Horde and Alliance race to confront this new threat, the mortal races will witness seismic shifts in power, the kindling of a war of the elements, and the emergence of unlikely heroes who will rise up to protect their scarred and broken world from utter devastation.

 

December 7 fast approaches. In the meantime, you can prepare for the coming cataclysm by visiting the website.

The Interview: Steve Gray

Steve Gray
Steve Gray

Steve Gray

When you have a gaming resume with names like Electronic Arts, Squaresoft and THQ there is little doubt that you know gaming. Obsolete Gamer was given the opportunity to talk with Steve Gray about his gaming career that started with EA Canada his time at Squaresoft and his work on Parasite eve. From there he created his own studio (Heavy Iron) which he sold to THQ in 1999. From there he returned to EA where he worked on many games including The Two Towers, The Return of the King, The Third Age and Tactics. Currently Steve Gray is the executive in charge of production at Tencent who is China’s largest developer and publisher and operator of online games.

We wanted to get a behind the scenes look at his time in the gaming industry and his many accomplishments from his work in Video FX to building the first Motion Capture Lab at EA Canada.

EA Canada logo
EA Canada logo

Obsolete Gamer: When did you know you would want to work in the video game industry?

Steve Gray: I originally wanted to be a Rock Star (just like Tremmel) and I played the clubs a lot in LA and up and down the California coast.  At that time I also worked in the feature film special effects business.  Which I continued to do until the early 90’s when I was VP Technology at Digital Domain (that’s when we made True Lies, Interview with the Vampire, Apollo 13, …).  When the PS1 came out I decided I really wanted to get into video games instead.

Obsolete Gamer: What was your first exposure to games?

Steve Gray: Asteroids in the arcades.

Obsolete Gamer: What was the first video game that hooked you?

Steve Gray: Asteroids in the arcades!!

Obsolete Gamer: Now before beginning work in the gaming industry you had quite the career in Visual Effects and working in television and movies can you tell us about that time?

Steve Gray: I worked at Robert Abel & Associates when I first moved to LA (to be a Rock Star).  Entry Level Rock Star doesn’t pay very well, actually… not at all.  RA&A worked on Tron, Star Trek 1, and a ton of really cool CG TV commercials.  Also with Omnibus and Digital Pictures we were really the first big CG effects house.  It was a great place to work, everyone was really young and crazy… we worked super hard, partied super hard.  It was a good time… late 80’s in LA was a fun time and place.  Guns and Roses was playing the clubs, the Sunset Strip was rockin’.  Then I went on to work at Rhythm & Hues as head of the Software department.  We wrote all our own CG tools then, because there really weren’t any commercially available packages yet.  I mostly wrote partical systems and rendering code, along with managing the team.  After R&H I moved over to Digital Domain, which was a lot of crazy house.  But we worked on really great movies… and working with Stan Winston and Jim Cameron was pretty amazing.

Obsolete Gamer: So you began the video game part of your career at Electronic Arts Canada, how did that job come to be?

Steve Gray: Digital Domain wanted to get into the video games business… so me and Chris McKibbin (then CFO of DD – different Chris than Chris Tremmel) went around to all the big game companies in the US and Japan trying to get someone to do a project with us… no one really wanted to do that because they (rightly) said we had no idea what we were doing.  Don Mattrick offered me and McKibbin both jobs at EAC.  So we thought about that and both took his offer.

Obsolete Gamer: What was it like working at EA Canada?

Steve Gray: It was really interesting. I learned a lot there.  A lot of really talented guys.  But unfortunately I discovered that making sports games wasn’t really my thing.

Obsolete Gamer: What did you think of the changing in video game technology at the time with the PlayStation One and the use of full motion video in games?

Steve Gray: We all though FMVs in games were super cool.  And actually I eventually built a game at my own company Heavy Iron that used FMV backgrounds in a “Resident Evil” type of game… except our backgrounds were pre-rendered videos instead of pre-rendered stills.  But that was on PS2.  It was the first Evil Dead game that THQ released.  But fundamentally I now think that FMVs kind of suck.  Or at least over use of FMVs kind of suck.  I like what we did in “Lord of the Rings The Third Age” with the transitions from FMV to In-Game Cinematic to Game Play.  And I’m definitely more of a fan of in-game cinematics now, especially if the player can customize his or her avatar, and that customized avatar shows up in the In-Game Cinematic.  But in general, I’m not a huge fan of linear content in games anymore.  Of course, working at Square we made tons of FMVs… but Square’s console RPGs are almost more of a big movie with some game play bits squeezed in there.   Which I still like.

Obsolete Gamer: What were the day to day activities of running the software tools group at EA Canada?

Steve Gray: Not really that interesting.  Just managed the tools group, tried to make sure that we really built things that were useful for the projects right now… no “ivory tower research” allowed.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about building the first Motion Capture Lab at EAC?

Steve Gray: In the beginning the EAC guys didn’t believe in it so we had basically no budget and had to rent out the auto-repair stall to use as our capture studio.  The guys in the auto repair shops around us all through we must be shooting porno movies because we brought in all this high-end camera gear… they kept wanting to know when the girls were going to be there.  Unfortunately it was just a bunch of geeky game developers.  Later we got a bigger a much nicer warehouse to work in…

Squaresoft logo
Squaresoft logo

Obsolete Gamer: How did the transition from EAC to Squaresoft take place?

Steve Gray: I knew some Square guys from various places in the past, plus I’ve always been a fan of their games.  When Sakaguchi-san asked me to join the company I couldn’t say yes fast enough.   Some of the other guys at Square invited me to Tokyo to meet Sakaguchi and we were in a private booth overlooking the massive dance club called “Welfare”, he asked me to join square and put out his hand… I shook it and the other Japanese guys asked me “do you know you just signed the deal”, to which I answered “yes”!!

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share about your time at EAC?

Steve Gray: I think the day we installed the flying-faders audio mixing board in the sound lab was the best day.  Back then those things were super crazy expensive, and as a musician I’d always wanted to have one to play with.

Obsolete Gamer: What was it like working at Squaresoft?

Steve Gray: Working at Square was the best of times and in some ways the worst of times.  Working with Sakaguchi-san was extremely challenging because his standards are insanely high.  Which is a good thing, but it can be tough.  Also the cultural and language differences between the Japanese and Western teams we not really understood or managed very well.  I’m sure we were one of the first projects to be developed by a “mixed” team.  Of course now this is happening more and more, and people have gotten much better at managing those situations, but we were really on the bleeding edge, so to speak.

Obsolete Gamer: What were some of the challenges in directing Parasite Eve?

Steve Gray: The biggest issues were really finding consensus and understanding between the Japanese crew, many of whom had been at Square for many years and were used to their style of working… which was actually very “agile” though they didn’t call it that.  The Western team was much more into what’s now referred to as Waterfall project management… which we didn’t call it that either.  We didn’t really think about this sort of thing, and didn’t understand the differences, and basically made a big mess.  But the game did quite well when it came out, so that’s great!

Obsolete Gamer: Now the game was a sequel to the book correct?

Steve Gray: The game wasn’t a sequel really, it was based on a Japanese novel.  There is also a Japanese movie based on the same book… with some cool VFX from Toyo Links (Japanese VFX company).

Obsolete Gamer: There are many fans who loved that game, but some felt it did not get the attention it deserved, do you feel that way as well?

Steve Gray: It sold over 2.5 million units world wide I think, and sold something like 1.6 million units in like a week in Japan or something crazy like that.  Not quite Final Fantasy numbers, but pretty good.  I’m happy with it.

Obsolete Gamer: What did you think of Parasite Eve 2?

Steve Gray: I think the graphics and FMVs are probably better… I haven’t really played it all the way through, so I don’t have a lot to say about the game.  I was a little bitter with the way things ended up at Square, so I cop’ed an attitude and only played it a bit.

Obsolete Gamer: There were rumors of making a Parasite Eve 3 but it did not happen would you want to see a part 3 made?

Steve Gray: Only if I make it!!!  I don’t know.  Don’t really care.  I don’t think the franchise really took off enough to warrent a whole long series of games.

Parasite Eve box
Parasite Eve box

Obsolete Gamer: You also contributed to Final Fantasy 7 while at Square, can you tell us about that?

Steve Gray: Mostly I just helped another team at Square LA work on some maps.   Square LA did a bunch of maps for FF VII.  I don’t remember how many or what percentage of the total maps were done there.

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share about your time at Square?

Steve Gray: Ha.  The stories I have to share involve other Square employees, cute Japanese girls at various locations in Tokyo at night.  They are not fit for public consumption… so I’ll let you guys imagine some of the trouble we got into.

Obsolete Gamer: What made you want to open your own game development company?

Steve Gray: After we finished PE1 at Square, a core group of us thought we were super badass game developers and that publishing companies would fall over themselves to give us projects and money.  That was not entirely true.  We worked on a bunch of games that never saw the light of day, and then finally landed the gig with THQ building Evil Dead 1.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about Heavy Iron Studios?

Steve Gray: It was originally called Chemistry Entertainment.  For a while we partnered with the Canadian VFX Company called Rainmaker.  Heavy Iron didn’t really 100% work out as we hoped.  But a bunch of really great people worked there, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in the game industry… for example my partner Marcel Samek went on to be CTO at EALA for many years.  Shiraz Akmal ran the central outsourcing group at THQ… Matt Coohill continued to work at Heavy Iron for a long time, and is now up in Seattle at Microsoft working cool stuff there.  And many others…

Obsolete Gamer: How did it differ from running your own company than working at EAC and SS?

Steve Gray: We had no money.  I didn’t really like running my own company that much… I thought it would give me the freedom to work on the kinds of projects I really like.  But instead I got to be an administrator and was always managing cash flow and trying to make payroll.  Not cool.

Obsolete Gamer: When did you make the decision to sell to THQ?

Steve Gray: When we were starting on Evil Dead 1, it was going to be one of the biggest projects THQ had ever done… and they really wanted to have us be part of THQ so that they would be building equity in the team.  And honestly, Marcel and I were a bit tired of managing the company instead of making games, so we decided to join THQ.  Of course, we also got paid some money (stock).  When I left THQ, their stock was at an all-time high… this was a good thing.

Obsolete Gamer: Do you have a story or memory you’d like to share about your time with Heavy Iron Studios?

Steve Gray: When we were finalizing Evil Dead, I was basically living at the office.  We had a group of THQ QA guys in the first floor, and they would find bugs, we’d fix them… I’d burn new test disks… they bang away at them.  It was a crazy project.  But then many things I’ve worked on have been crazy and hard… but that’s what makes it fun.

Obsolete Gamer: Then it was a return to EA what was that like?

Steve Gray: I came back to EA to join my original Digital Domain friend, Chris McKibbin, to help run what was called the “Worlds Channel” in EA.com.  We were all the entertainment products, meaning all the MMOs.  I guess younger readers may not know about EA.com – EA.com was EA’s first big jump into online games, and think we were a bit ahead of the times… EA.com didn’t work out, and got closed down, and many of the people merged back into the other EA Studios.  That was pretty rough because many people were also laid off, and as one of the senior guys there it fell to me to do a lot of layoffs.  But it’s lame to feel bad for yourself in that situation because it’s 100x worse for the people getting laid off.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about the development process with creating the Lord of the Rings games?

Steve Gray: We kicked some serious ass on Lord of the Rings.  First out at Stormfront, then internally at EA Redwood Shores.  Those were great games, beautiful games, built on very tight schedules under difficult circumstances and they were really good.  I credit my time and Square and my experiences working with Sakaguchi for my ability to really focus on quality… and of course, Neil Young was a great EP on the first two, I learned a lot working with him as well.  I have very happy memories of that time… though I did get diss’ed pretty hard in the infamous “EA Wife” blog.  I think our FMV->game play transition stuff which I mentioned earlier was a first for the industry, and we really set the standard for quality in movie games… a standard that has rarely been met since, in my opinion.

Heavy Iron logo
Heavy Iron logo

Obsolete Gamer: How did your experience with EAC, Square and owning Heavy Iron Studios factor into your return to EA and working on those games?

Steve Gray: I really credit Sakaguchi-san for helping me understand how to build great games.  I have to say that at the time, when I was at Square, I didn’t really agree 100% with how he wanted to do things… but in the following years I came to really appreciate how his approach to game development is able to consistently create such high quality product.  Now I’ve rarely (never) had the freedom he has as a developer, but his ideas fit into development even if you have to pay more attention to the schedule.  Heavy Iron gave me a lot of respect for how hard it is to run a business… and at EA I learned a lot about why publishers work the way they do, and why publishers make what seem to the developers like evil and unwarranted decisions.  That changed my understanding of the game business a lot.

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about your work on Neverwinter Nights 2?

Steve Gray: This is a mistake in some profiles on me… I never worked on Neverwinter Nights 2.

Obsolete Gamer: With all your time in the gaming industry which prior of your career did you enjoy the most?

Steve Gray: I really really enjoyed working on the Lord of the Rings games.  The team was so fantastic.  Everyone was great to work with and super talented.  We may have had our struggles and moments of anger with each other, but I wouldn’t trade that time with those people for anything.  I am also really enjoying working at Tencent…

Tencent logo
Tencent logo

Obsolete Gamer: Can you tell us about what you are working on currently?

Steve Gray: I am currently Executive in Charge of Prodution at Tencent in China.  Tencent is China’s largest developer, publisher and operator of on-line games, we have a huge IM client (over 1 billion accounts), we run China’s largest portals, etc…  I work with all of our Studios, of which we have 9… with about 3500 employees across all of them.  But there are some projects I’m particularly focused on.

Unfortunately I can’t really tell you about them, because most are unannounced.  However one I can mention is NBA 2K Online, which is a co-development project with 2K Sports in the US.  It’s a bit weird because I didn’t really like working on Sports games at EAC… but this is really more of a Sports RPG or something like that.  It’s really cool… it’s going to be a monster hit here in China.  Working with Visual Concepts (the 2K Games Studio that builds NBA2K) is really great, working with 2K China is great… our team in Shanghai is great.

It’s really fun.  It’s amazing how Tencent builds online games and how big we are (we have 4 games that have more than 1 million people playing simultaneously every day).  We get to work so closely with our customers… in a way you can never do on a console game.  Also the scale we operate at is just stunning… QQ IM (our IM client) routinely has over 100,000,000 people logged into it every day.  Yes – that’s the right number of zeros… 100,000,000.

Obsolete Gamer: With all that you do you must have little free time, but when you do if you play any games what are they?

Steve Gray: I rarely play any games other than the games I’m working on, or directly competing product… which I can’t say what they are, because that would be a dead giveaway of what we’re building.  I don’t really play games for “fun” in my free time… well, what free time, for one thing.  But I have a lot of fun playing the games I’m building or those few other games I play to understand what the competition is up to.

Frank Campbell: First Planet Company

Planet First Company logo

Name: Frank Campbell

Company: First Planet Company

Profession: Marketing Director

Favorite Classic Game: Jetpac

Quote: I played Jetpac on my very first PC, the ZX Spectrum. Suddenly I wasn’t restricted by how long my pocket money would last in an arcade. I could assemble rockets and fight off aliens as much as I liked from the comfort of my own bedroom. The rubber keys, cassette loading and quaint 16k system requirements were all part of the charm, and every release from Ultimate Play The Game couldn’t come fast enough.

Planet Calypso Info

Planet Calypso logo
Planet Calypso logo

Planet Calypso is a sci-fi MMO.

Players hunt wild creatures, mine resources, craft and trade items as they expand their human colony on a distant alien world. Features include over 1600 square kilometers of land to explore, more than 200 avatar skills, PvP combat, missions, vehicles, a global auction and lots more.

Planet Calypso has no subscription fees. The PED currency used on Calypso has a fixed exchange rate of 10:1 with the US Dollar, allowing players to deposit and withdraw real money during their adventures on Calypso. Planet Calypso is a free download available at www.planetcalypso.com

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1: A Mediocre Adventure Begins!

Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 title
Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1 title

It has been sixteen dark years since the last true Sonic game made its debut. Sega ventured on towards 3D adventures with their signature Blue Flash and since then the fandom that followed Sonic slowly converted to Mario or lost interest in the platform genre as a whole. The masses cried out, their faces stained in the salt of dry tears for Sega to remember the past, remember their roots! After witnessing the success of Megaman 9 and 10, Sega’s minds opened up to hope and the prayers of their fans finally fell upon eager ears. Sonic the Hedgehog 4, the continuation of the main 2D adventure line was to be restored! Thousands upon thousands of loyalist creamed their pants at the mere thought of Sonic returning to his true form. Surely, Sega would remember what made Sonic great.

Unfortunately, they didn’t. The return of Sonic is anything but a sequel to Sonic and Knuckles. The developers of Sonic 4 didn’t seem to know what made Sonic 1, 2, 3, and Knuckles stand on their own as epic platforming adventures. All that they remembered was the formula of level design and loops. The game plays like a mix mashed combination of both Sonic 1 and 2.

The first thing I noticed about this game that bothered instantly once I noticed it, was Sonic’s amazing brakes. I remember in the old games that Sonic used to come to a skidding stop. In this iteration of our hero, he just stops. If you want Sonic to stop where you want, he will. Sometimes midair I could just stop moving forward during an initial jump and slide down an invisible wall when all I wanted to do was reduce my jumping speed. The biggest most daunting issue I had with this was when I’d complete a zone with 50 gold rings and attempted to jump into the bonus stage golden ring at the sign post. Most of the time, I’d run right past it and think “Crap!” and try to run back in time as Sonic zooms off screen. As I made the jump toward the ring, autopilot would kick in and Sonic would just collapse like a ragdoll to the ground in front of it and walk away off screen again.

Orbinaut – Sonic the Hedgehog
Orbinaut – Sonic the Hedgehog

Our hero also seems to enjoy walking like a robot because his running animation from start to finish is one of the least inspiring displays of speed picking up I’ve ever witnessed in a game before. His legs stiff up like Al Gore as he slowly walks forward. I seemed to be in top speed during this ridiculous take off as Sonic trudged off with an ungraceful motion due to his lack of kneecaps. Suddenly, his legs would turn into red blurs as he ran at what was supposed to depict top speeds. Regrettably, the robotic movement lacking any fluid shift was already top speed so this animation lacked any real dramatic achievement.

An inclusion to the core game play is a homing missile aerial dash which was introduced in Sonic Adventures. While this attack was a welcome addition to the 3D adventure, its transition to 2D is rather obnoxious. The difficulty of calculated attacks and hitting small openings on enemies vanishes with this ability and takes away from the nostalgia of Sonic. Many menacing old school villains which took clean precision and timing to kill, such as Orbinaut, become trivial obstacles in Sonic’s path with the addition of the aerial assault.

Super Sonic by MRi
Super Sonic by MRi

The tracks in the zone Sonic robotically glides through are lacking any real enemies. Sure a villain shows up every now and then but they are easily bypassed with the homing attack. Most of the perils in the levels are spikes and pitfalls but the track you go by makes these traps seem more like scenery than anything else as most ramps toss you over spikes. Pitfalls can be easily avoided since the levels are set up in multiple tiers and you can go cascading through the air and end up landing on a lower section of the zone. When you do die though from pitfalls, it is a surprise as there are no real warning signs of its upcoming occurrence. 90% of the time you land on something when you fall. 10% of the time there just isn’t anything and the plummet is so stretched you don’t even realize it’s a pitfall until you hear the reminiscent Sonic fatality sound.

Super Sonic makes a return once you manage to collect all the Chaos Emerald in their tilt-a-whirl secret zones. I did mention earlier how the game is mostly comprised of traps, remember? Super Sonic doesn’t seem to really run faster than his blue form and there aren’t many enemies in the way to pummel through. What you end up having is useless invincibility that slowly eats away at your life force. I didn’t find any use for Super Sonic in this game at all since most deaths were instant kills anyway.

Another thing that peeved me about the game was the music. Sonic is known for its memorable songs. I can still remember a few and hum them every now and then when I sit on the toilet seat while reading a book. The musical director for this installment must have been Keyboard Cat as all of the songs use and abuse repetitive keys with a trumpet blaring every so often. I can’t recall a single song in my head right now despite how hard I may try.

The art style in the game lacks any inspiration at all. In fact, most of the zones are just rehashed models of zones from Sonic 1. The backgrounds in the game are bland and look like something found in a free game application on the Android Market. I was reminded of games with a smaller budget and less gameplay like Totemo as I ventured further through the game’s uninspiring scenery. Some of the cogs you were supposed to interact with in Dr.Robotnik’s Lair (Yeah, I said it. Eggman sounds stupid.) seemed to be part of the background because of their dull color and slow almost shuddering movement. There were times I’d be standing around a level wondering what I am supposed to be doing only to realize that the background was actually part of the foreground.

Robotnik – Sonic the Hedgehog
Robotnik – Sonic the Hedgehog

Speaking of the good doctor, he seems to have lost that knack for creativity we had come to know his boss battles for. In each of the four zones, you fight a familiar nostalgic battle with Robotnik. As your heart flutters from your excitement of revisiting these famous bouts, half way through the battle Robotnik changes gears and gets a bit more hardcore. Each of the initial four encounters are pretty easy and Robotnik does his usual fleeing as you free your bunny friends. When you finally reach Robotnik’s space station, Sega decided to pull a Mega Man and have you fight Robotnik again in each of his four forms you battled him in throughout the campaign. The only difference in these battles from the previous skirmishes is that the doctor kicks up his rage a notch. None of his geared up antics were too difficult and are unbelievably forgettable. I just beat the game two hours ago and I can barely remember any of his new antics. To top off the insult of mutilating old battles, they decided to change one of the greatest fights with Robotnik at the end of the game. Robotnik jumps into the colossal robotic version of himself with a jetpack from Sonic 2. The major difference between that battle and this one is that you have a homing jump and there are a ton of openings to hit the suit this time. To say the least possible without ruining the tactics involved in this battle, I didn’t have to think or struggle too hard to end the game.

The game doesn’t stand on its own in the series. Fans who may run for this installment of Sonic’s latest and greatest adventure for scraps of nostalgia will be sorely disappointed and only the most hardcore of Hedgehog fans (Laraque) could find any real entertainment in this game. I, on the other hand, wish I played Comic Jumper instead. It is only the first episode of the Sonic 4 series, and more episodes may add more features but the lackluster experience of Episode 1 has left me with the taste of duran fruit in my mouth, something I never want to taste again regardless of presentation.

Games Coming out for Consoles: Oct 17th 2010

people buying nintendo wii
people buying nintendo wii

As you get ready for all the Halloween parties and Saw 13 you might want to set aside some money for console games. Sure, you could buy winter clothes or get that root canal you’ve needed for some time, but that won’t add to your collection of games now will it. It doesn’t matter if you have a Playstation 3, X-Box 360 or that awful Wii there is something for everyone this week.

Fallout: New Vegas


What goes better with nuclear waste than a $2.99 steak buffet. Fallout New Vegas features the Fallout 3 engine and was developed with members of the Fallout 1 and 2 team. It’s time to shine up your Pip-boy and load your weapons for some post-apocalyptic mutant hunting.

We got to see this in action at E3 and it looks really good. The art direction and style of Old Vegas mixed in with the lore of Fallout. You know the story and side quests are going to be fun and when you blast a mutant from miles away with the hunters riffle you will feel right at home.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2


Now if you haven’t heard of Naruto it started as a Manga character from the Shonen Jump magazine. From there it ventured out into Anime and video games and more. Naruto follows the story of a boy ninja who was ostracized as a kid and because of that acted out and got into lots of trouble, but in time he became a great ninja, or and he has a demon sealed inside of him.

Many of the previous games followed the story from the Anime with extra missions and side quests thrown in. In Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 the story picks up at the beginning of the Shippuden run with Naruto returning to the village about three years older after training with his master. From there he takes on new missions with his team and reconnects with friends from the village,

We played this game at E3 and it was really fun and looked just like the Anime. The fighting styles are great and you can pull off a ton of special moves that look awesome. In addition to the mission levels you can fight against each other in versus matches and there are over 42 characters to choose from. Honestly even if you aren’t into Naruto specifically, if you like a good story adventure game with great fighting mixed in then this is worth a look.

 

 

EA Sports MMA


Forget the WWE it’s all about MMA now and that means real fights, real blood and that EA will make a game for it. Mixed Marital arts is big and this game showcases some of the best fighters in MMA.

The game looks real good and it has a cool career feature where you can customize you fighter from his looks to his gear. From there you have starting skill points but must train in them all to be the best. Over time by winning fights you earn money to improve your training as well as gear and then move up to be fights from all around the world.

It has a ton of names from the world of MMA and a well-designed and fun to play versus system. Hey, if you bought Fight Night might as well give this a try too.

Next Time

There are a few more games coming out next week, but if I had the time and the cash I would pick these up. Next week the wallet onslaught continues with a new list of upcoming games worth buying. Until then claim your weeks and start taking under the table jobs.