Batman: Arkham City

[youtube id=”hUsSxu0k8J4″ width=”633″ height=”356″]

Batman: Arkham City doesn’t really rock the boat, content instead to offer up what is essentially an improved and expanded version of the last game. Apparently, sometimes that is more than good enough.~Aaron Izakowitz

Batman: Arkham City

When Batman: Arkham Asylum came out in 2009, it was a revelation. For decades, gamers had been conditioned to assume that any game based on a licensed property, particularly a superhero, would be at best decent and at worst execrableAsylum ignored all that, vaulting from relative obscurity to become a surprise Game of the Year contender and making Rocksteady Studios a top-tier developer overnight. Now, two years later comes its sequel, Batman: Arkham City, and the circumstances surrounding its release could not be more different. While Asylum had everything to prove, City has the perhaps even more unenviable task of trying to top its exemplary predecessor.
batman-arkham-city
Arkham City more than rises to the challenge, and it does, paradoxically, by taking the safe path. This is the very definition of an iterative sequel, with very few if any changes to the formula that made its predecessor a success. The environment is bigger, you have more tools, the combat has been improved with more combos and more varied enemies, you face more of Batman’s iconic villains, and the Riddler challenges are more numerous and more devious. It is what fans wanted and expected.
batman-arkham-city
It is also an astonishingly good game; unquestionably one of the best released this year. While this is perhaps more a testament to the quality of the first game than anything, the fact remains that Batman: Arkham City renders Asylum utterly obsolete, and makes it look easy.
batman-arkham-city
The story kicks off six months after the events of Asylum. Following the total breakdown of order on Arkham Island, the city of Gotham has cordoned off an entire district and converted it into a sort of megaprison, the titular Arkham City, with the megalomaniacal Professor Hugo Strange in charge. Surprisingly, Arkham City soon descends to the state of “wretched hellhole,” with Gotham’s supervillains rapidly setting up rival factions to vie for supremacy in the prison and forward their own nefarious ends.
batman-arkham-city
At the game’s outset, Bruce Wayne finds himself arrested and framed under ill-defined pretenses (more on this later). Before long he has donned the cowl and cape from within Arkham City and set out to get to the bottom of the mysterious circumstances surrounding Hugo Strange and his own incarceration. The plot, as you might expect, only spirals outward from there, and before long many prominent members of Batman’s rogue gallery have a part to play, including the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, a few others I shouldn’t spoil here, and of course, the Joker.
batman-arkham-city
While Arkham City qualifies as an “open world” game, it is not really a sandbox. Other than fighting random goons, there isn’t a whole lot to do if you are just wandering around. Rather, it is closest to something like Assassin’s Creed II. You always have a single story objective to work towards, but as you grapple, glide, and fight your way across the city, smaller, quick objectives will reveal themselves. By far the most common of these are the Riddler trophies, which are scattered quite liberally across the city, and many of which are in plain sight but require you to solve some sort of puzzle or riddle to obtain. Beyond these, there are crime scenes to investigate, bullet trajectories to recreate, Riddler informants to interrogate (which reveal the location of trophies on your map) and, for some reason, holographic rings floating in the air to fly through. It can all be a little overwhelming at times, but fortunately it’s all completely optional, and it’s always clear where to go next if you are only interested in advancing the story. Even better, if you see a Riddler trophy that you don’t feel like tackling immediately, you can now tag it and it will appear on your minimap, a very welcome feature.
batman-arkham-city
Once on a story mission, things become very similar to the first game. Stealth and hand-to-hand combat are both back mostly unchanged, with some added wrinkles. In stealth mode, for example, certain enemies might have a signal jammer which disables your detective vision, or a thermal vision upgrade which allows them to see you even when you are hiding in the rafters, which will obviously influence your plan of attack. Combat sees similar additions. Goons equipped with body armor, riot shields, knives, and stunguns are all in the mix, each requiring a unique approach. Fortunately, your arsenal has also been expanded. The game’s story thankfully does not contrive some reason to strip Batman of all his abilities at the beginning, so you start the game with a healthy range of options, and your toolset only grows over the course of the game.
batman-arkham-city
Once you complete the campaign, which took me somewhere from 12 to 15 hours with moderate sidequesting, there is plenty of additional content on the disc to keep you coming back. The Challenge modes, both combat and predator, return largely unchanged, complete with online leaderboards. A new addition is what they are calling Campaigns, which have a string of different challenges to be played in a sequence, with optional modifiers to either assist the player, such as regenerating health, or provide an extra challenge, like a time attack mode. There is also a New Game Plus, which lets you play through the game with all your upgrades and trophies unlocked but retools the game somewhat to provide an extra challenge. On top of all this, there is a huge amount of supplemental material including concept art, character biographies, and a lengthy history of Arkham City, all of which are unlocked by collecting enough Riddler trophies.
batman-arkham-city
Again, in many ways these are exactly the sorts of enhancements and tweaks that we have come to expect from a sequel. It’s true that Batman: Arkham City doesn’t really rock the boat, content instead to offer up what is essentially an improved and expanded version of the last game. Apparently, sometimes that is more than good enough.
batman-arkham-city
In short: Batman: Arkham City, is really, really fun. It’s so fun you will literally yell in disbelief at how sweet whatever you just did was, and you will do it a lot. It’s so fun you will make your roommate/significant other/whoever walks into the room watch you play it so that they, too, can appreciate just how awesome you are. I can think of very few games that are more satisfying to just play. Simply traversing the city, using your grappling hook to fling yourself into the sky and then divebombing and pulling up to gain momentum, is an absolute joy. The predator sections of the game are even tenser than before, with the enemies’ new gadgets robbing you of what little security you once had. The rhythmic combat system, which at first seems like a button masher but which ultimately rewards careful observation and focus, remains the best brawler that I’ve played, period. Whether you just race through the story missions or take your time to explore all the extra content to its fullest, the game is expertly paced, invisibly propelling you forward. Layered on top of all this is a satisfying progression system, which provides you with a new ability or gadget just when you feel like you have mastered the game.
batman-arkham-city
As in the first game, Rocksteady has taken a fantasy that, let’s face it, everyone has had at some point in their lives and made it as close to a reality as anyone will ever experience. Every aspect of the game’s design reinforces the notion that you are Batman. His strength is in his careful planning and execution, and if you are impatient or sloppy in Arkham City, you will be punished. You are stronger and smarter than everyone else, but you are not invincible, and few games make you feel so powerful in such a tangible and realistic way.
batman-arkham-city
This pervasive sense of Batman-ness extends into the game’s presentation. Its world is an alchemic combination of elements from the comics, the animated series, and the various movies (even Joel Schumaker’s monstrosities have something to contribute), creating something familiar, yet distinct enough to stand apart from any of those universes. The new character designs are excellent, Mr. Freeze in particular. The game is not afraid to drift into the fantastical, indeed reveling in it at times, yet the universe feels gritty enough to give the characters’ actions some weight.
batman-arkham-city
Vocal performances are also generally pretty sharp. Mark Hamill reprises his outstanding performance as the Joker, who finds himself in an unusually vulnerable position this time around.  The Riddler remains incredibly obnoxious, as befits the character, with his constant taunts and boasts. The new characters, for the most part, make a strong impression. Unfortunately, nameless thugs have uniformly terrible dialogue and acting, constantly spouting off lines that no person in the world would ever say, shouting exposition at the top of their lungs for any passing Batmen to pick up on, and yelling ridiculous taunts to Batman as he flies by or hunts them from above. It’s not quite Splinter Cell: Conviction bad, but it does infringe on the authenticity of the game’s atmosphere a bit.
batman-arkham-city
While the premise and setting are very effective, the actual plot has some significant problems. The most immediate concern is that the game’s writers seem to have forgotten to include a beginning. The central conceit of the game, that Gotham would rededicate an entire district for a prison, run by known madman Hugo Strange, is pretty outlandish, even for a comic book property, and this is only made worse by the total lack of explanation. There is a comic book that comes with new copies of the game that fills in the gaps between the last game and this one, but if you haven’t read it (as I hadn’t, and as I suspect many won’t), or actively sought out information on this game online, then the opening of this game will be very confusing, and indeed many things are never explained at all. The plot’s twists and turns can at times feel a little contrived, like they exist solely to get Batman to a new location, particularly towards the beginning of the game. Some of the characters’ motivations also don’t really make a lot of sense under scrutiny. The ending, while better than that of Arkham Asylum, is a little abrupt, and ends on a fairly lazy cliffhanger.

batman-arkham-city
More significant problems lie in the game’s handling of Catwoman. She was a major part of its presentation and marketing, and we’ve known for months now that she would be a playable character. This is indeed true, as there are a handful of episodes strewn throughout the game in which you control Catwoman. Unfortunately, these episodes are all very short, and it turns out playing as Catwoman is a lot like playing as Batman but without any of the gadgets that make playing as Batman enjoyable. She has very few combat options compared to Batman, and she gets around more or less just by pouncing really high. Her stealth sections are entirely dependent on her ability to jump up and hang upside-down from chain-link ceilings and then descend on enemies when they are isolated, which…is not a thing that cats do. Also, what kind of building has chain-link ceilings? Beyond that, Catwoman herself is annoying, with absolutely no depth beyond making pointless cat jokes and flirting lamely with everyone she sees.
batman-arkham-city
There is another, rather ugly, aspect to Catwoman’s presence in the game. In an effort to curb used game sales, Rocksteady (or, more likely, Warner Bros.) have chosen to lock off the Catwoman portions of the game with a code included in new copies of the game. What this means is that the first time you play the game, you will have to enter this code and then download around 250MB of data, just to play a part of the game that was clearly meant to be there the whole time. This is after the requisite patching and, on PS3, installation. If you didn’t buy the game new, you will have to buy the Catwoman DLC for $10. While the Catwoman sections are the weakest part of the game, I feel like their absence would result in some confusion, and it’s disappointing to see what was clearly intended to be an integral part of the game gated behind an anti-used game sale measure. It’s more annoying than anything, but I sincerely hope this does not become a trend.
batman-arkham-city
Despite all of these problems, the fact remains that Batman: Arkham City is an absolutely stellar game. Its story issues, while substantial, do absolutely nothing to temper the quality of the overall experience. From its thrilling open world traversal to its hair-raising predator sequences to its unparalleled melee combat system, every element of the game reflects dedication to the source material and the talent and expertise of Rocksteady Studios. It’s a tour de force that cements their position at the top of the industry. At the risk of sounding gushy or hyperbolic, Batman: Arkham City is the sort of game that will remind you of why you like videogames in the first place.

The Top Cartoons From The 1990s

This list includes every cartoon I thought was great or totally amazing that started airing or were super popular in the 1990s. Let”s go over all of them in alphabetical order!

Aeon FluxAeon Flux

This was a really weird science fiction cartoon that was showed on MTV”s Liquid Television in the early 1990s. The show was about Aeon Flux, a female secret agent that was mixed up in a lot of conspiracies, a war with a neighboring country, assassinations, betrayal, cloning, and a bunch of other crazy plots. The entire cartoon was a complete mind fuck.

The feeling this show gave me was similar to the feeling I get from the Paranoia RPG and Brazil. Pretty much, it”s a totally fucked up distopian future where you are either a drone or you are involved in sinister greater forces that control and rule everything and keep everyone oppressed. Life is cheap and everybody is replaceable.

The way this cartoon was drawn and the bizarre style of it reminded me a lot of the comics that would come out in Heavy Metal magazine. A lot like the style of those weird french graphic novels from the 80s and 90s.

There aren”t a lot of episodes of this show. I remember renting the whole show on VHS back when those existed, so you have an idea how short it is.

There was a live action movie that was a remake of the show. It was okay. Most people either liked it or flat out hated it.

AnimaniacsAnimaniacs

This was Steven Spielberg”s next cartoon character after having made the hugely successful Tiny Toon Adventures. The show was like watching a cartoon version of The Marx Brothers. The entire cartoon was about two brothers and a sister going around trolling everybody they met. The show also introduced Pinky And The Brain, a cartoon that was about an idiot mouse that is always trying to help a super genius mouse “try to take over the world!” The Brain sounded a lot like Orson Welles. Pink And The Brain were probably my favorite characters from the show.

The main storyline for this insane show was that Yakko, Wakko, and Dot were 1930s cartoons characters that got trapped in the water tower of the Warner Bros Studios and were finally released to mess with the world in the 1990s. There were other sketches with other characters such as The Goodfeathers. The Goodfeathers were a parody of the gangsters from the movie Goodfellas except that they were a bunch of pigeons. They were great, even impersonating Joe Pesci”s characters that usually go ape shit over everything. There was also Slappy Squirrel which was a bitter old cartoon character that would put people in their place while trying to teach those values to her nephew Skippy Squirrel.

Batman BeyondBatman Beyond

Think Batman meets cyberpunk Shadowrun and this is pretty much what the show is. It”s set in the future. Bruce Wayne is old, has heart conditions, and is slowly dying. Everybody that Bruce Wayne worked with either hates him or is dead. What ends up happening is that Bruce Wayne can no longer be Batman. For a while he”s already used a power armor kind of Batsuit but even that doesn”t prevent him from having heart attacks while fighting crime. So… some kid that has a situation like Bruce gets picked up to be the next Batman.

The show is almost not even a kids show as people (rarely) die in this show but at least there is death. If you are a fan of the other Batman cartoons then you need to follow the chain of history by watching this show. The sad part is that this show got cancelled, probably because of the violence and dark tones, but if you really want to see how all of Batman ends, I urge you to watch Justice League”s “Epilogue” episode. That ends all of Batman, forever. It is simply the best thing ever written for Batman.

Anyways, back to Batman Beyond… The Joker is dead and so are many of the old villains since it”s the year 2039. Instead of having The Joker, you have The Joker street gang and other characters based on themes from the past as well as some of them returning. The new villains are insanely more powerful than classic Batman villains, some of them being to the scale of power that it would take Superman or the Justice League to bring them down.

There are movies of the show, and they are all worth watching.

Since youtube restricts it, I can”t embed the intro, so here”s the link to it instead (open in a new tab).

Batman The Animated SeriesBatman: The Animated Series

This is a cartoon that was so good that I would stop doing anything to watch. This set the bar for me for what everything comic book related should be for the rest of time. Batman The Animated Series is so damn good that it makes everything else Batman look like shit, and I am including the Tim Burton and Chris Nolan movies. Now, yeah, that might be going a little bit too far but for a cartoon this is simply ART. The music along with the drawings along with the voice acting and writing makes for a perfect cartoon. This IS the Dark Knight. The writing is so good that I often remember quotes from the show. “How much is a good night”s rest? Now there”s a riddle for you…” and many more.

This cartoon is what and are based on.

This cartoon is so good that each episode has its own unique soundtrack written for it. The level of writing are just as good as the original Twilight Zone series. You MUST watch it.

Again, youtube doesn”t allow embedding so just open in a new tab, the HD 1080p version of the Batman Intro.

Darkwing DuckDarkwing Duck

Darkwing Duck was a spinoff from DuckTales and it was sort of like a comical parody of superheroes, especially Batman. This takes place in the DuckTales universe, even having Launchpad MacQuack as his sidekick, the really bad pilot from DuckTales that always crashes everything that he pilots. Just think of it like a light hearted Batman except that his parents didn”t get murdered and that he has to take care of a bratty daughter Gosalyn Mallard. I remember any time that there would be action he would always say his catchphrase: “Let”s get dangerous!”

This cartoon was really popular in the early to mid 90s especially when DuckTales was still around.

Dilbert TV SeriesDilbert

This was an amazing comedy show based on the incredible make-fun-of-working comic strip Dilbert. The show was as funny as the strip but I could tell it was probably doomed from the start since it would show on UPN. Like it was totally marketed incorrectly, on the wrong network for this show. It would probably done really well on Fox or Cartoon Network or on Adult Swim but then again this was the 1990s, not 5-10 years later. Still, they should have at least gone with Fox, although Fox kills most of all of its good shows (like Family Guy and Futurama).

If you don”t know what Dilbert is, it”s about showing how crappy it is to work in a corporate cubicle farm culture. The boss is a moron/asshole, everybody does anything they can in order to do the least amount of work and get paid the least. You know, just like in real life?

If you like the strip, just watch the show to see the cartoon version. You can see all the episodes of Dilbert on youtube via Crackle. Here is the link to the first episode.

Eek The CatEek The Cat

Eek The Cat was the perfect cartoon created by Savage Steve Holland which was intended for kids with ADD and to make fun of pop culture. The whole show was about Eek the Cat which was the nicest cat ever and he would always get hurt for trying to do the right thing. Pretty much every episode was about that. There was this dog, Sharky the Sharkdog which was always trying to bite Eek at every opportunity. “It never hurts to help” was what Eek would always say and then the worst things would happen to him, always physically. He had this horribly fat cat girlfriend called Annabelle that was morbidly obese and disgusting. Despite that he always loved her.

To me this show was infinitely superior to shows that came afterwards like Spongebob Squarepants.

Exo SquadExoSquad

This is the pinnacle of 90s cartoons as far as rare cartoons go. I would say only Batman was as good as this cartoon. This is the ultimate space opera cartoon. It shows real war with people dying, the “good guys” not always winning, racism, terrorism, megalomania, etc. It was hard to watch this cartoon because they would always air it randomly, sometimes skipping episodes. I had the same problem with Babylon 5 because my parents never had cable so I would have to guess what I had missed.

The show is the ultimate parable made on World War 2. A lot of people die and you see things like crimes against humanity and cruelty. Shocking for a publicly aired cartooon.

Anyways, this show is probably one of my highest recommended shows in GENERAL to watch of all time. I like it enough that I run the main facebook fan page for it. Fortunately for us, although the show is dead, we can see the entire show for free here at hulu.

Start watching it and don”t stop until you saw it all. Only season 1 is available on DVD because Universal doesn”t care much for this show. 🙁

Family GuyFamily Guy

This show started off in the late 90s and it”s still on the air after having been cancelled many times. Personally I think the first seasons of the show were much funnier than the current seasons, since they seem to keep changing writers all the time and lately they”ve been relying too much on recycling internet jokes. Even the writers of the show make fun of how much the show has become like their spinoff show American Dad and there was even The Cleveland Show which was just SHIT.

Anyways, everybody knows what Family Guy is. It”s as famous as The Simpsons and Futurama. If you don”t know what Family Guy is, it”s nice to finally have met a time traveler or I”m glad that you”re awake from your coma.

FuturamaFuturama

Here is a show that was created by Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, that was superior (for geeks) to The Simpsons. The show is a LOT like Red Dwarf but even crazier because you can pretty much draw everything but Red Dwarf was limited by its budget. This show too had problems with it getting cancelled but it”s coming back again.

There are various movies of Futurama and they”re all worth watching.

The show is about this loser that gets frozen in cryogenic containment and he wakes up in the year 3000. The show is insanity having characters like the Santa Claus robot that kills everybody that”s been naughty and that means everybody. The aliens in the show are disgusting often eating garbage or they”re deadly or they”re just weird. Anyways, the loser Fry goes to work for an interstellar shipping company that”s run by an incompetent (not evil) genius Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth.

The show belongs in the comedy science fiction category alongside Red Dwarf. I highly recommend it.

Gargoyles
King of the Hill
Men in Black: The Series
Mighty Max
Muppet Babies
Pokemon
Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles
Sabrina the Animated Series
South Park
Spawn
Superman: The Animated Series
TaleSpin
Taz-Mania
The Maxx
The Simpsons
The Tick
Tiny Toon Adventures
X-Men

Holiday Hardware Guide

pile-of-christmas-presents

Do you remember getting your first console system or computer? The feeling inside must have been great, so much so that you most likely did not realize how much your parents suffered to get it for you. Check out my tale about one Christmas and the NES hunt.

You would think that you could not replicate that feeling once you are buying your own gifts, but that isn’t true. When I purchased my black Xbox 360 I felt just like a kid again even though I was spending my hard earned bucks and the same can be said for games like Batman Arkham City and the upcoming Star Wars, The Old Republic.

So you may have purchased your gifts this year and if you are lucky you have others buying gifts that you know you will love. Here at Obsolete Gamer, we look at modern games and systems that can also have a Retro twist to it, but in the end will bring smiles to our faces when we open it.

Genesis Desktop System: Origin PC

origin-pc-genesis

Here is the simple truth, you can build your own system or buy similar systems from any of a thousand retailers, but like the sexy MILF next door told you experience counts.

The Genesis is the premier desktop system offered by Origin PC and what makes this system and the company great is the different configurations they offer and the service and support they provide. You can go with an Intel P67 or X79 or even AMD. You can select the case you want and have multiple choices for everything you put inside. Best part is if there is something you want to add that you don’t see, ask them and they can hook you up.

Sure, you can have a nice house that looks like everyone else’s home on the block or you can create your own masterpiece by custom designing your rig with paint, artwork, lights and more and since pretty much everyone at Origin PC has been a gamer and in the business for over a decade or more you know when you need help you will get real answers.

The key for the holiday shopper is you don’t have to spend 5K on a system, you can build it to exact specifications and remove anything you don’t need guaranteeing you get exactly what you want.

You can check out the Genesis here.

iCADE: ION

I got a chance to see this system at the last CES and was impressed of how well it played using an iPAD. Now we all know you can find classic games on emulators, downloads and even in flash, but there was just something about using the arcade style joystick and buttons that made the iCade really fun to play.

Now currently it only runs Atari classic games which you can find more on the App Store so for Apple haters this might not be for you, but for everyone else this is a really cool device to have in your office or wherever you might game and for just under 100 bucks it won’t break the wallet.

You can check out the iCade here.

Siberia Headset & Sensei Mouse: SteelSeries

SteelSeries-Sensei-Mouse

Everyone has their favorite devices, for me it is all about comfort, control and durability. Having played pretty much every type of game and game system I learned what works best for me. For instance, I like the Xbox 360 controller the best because it works for me and the same is true for the mice I have tested and use from SteelSeries.

From turn around blind shots in FPS games to fast scroll movement in RTS games the SteelSeries mice have the precession and comfort that makes gaming and everyday tasks a breeze. I still use the XAI mouse I tested some time ago today and have no plan to replace it and the new Sensei mouse is now married to my gaming laptop.

Now as for headsets I fell in love with the Siberia because of its comfort and sound quality and the black and gold edition is pretty bad ass. Check out the full review here. I have been impressed with Steel Series products and their price point doesn’t leave you in debt after the holidays so for the people in your life that need computer accessories they are a great place to shop.

You can check out SteelSeries products here.

M.A.M.E. Arcade Cabinet

Northcoast Custom Arcades

Before the anti-pirate people come out the woodwork there are plenty of legal ways to play classic games on a M.A.M.E system including owning the original game. Honestly, one of the best ways to play M.A.M.E is on a full size arcade cabinet which you can have built or build yourself.

Personally, I never owned one, but I know a few that have and they built them themselves and it is pretty awesome. Pretty much the hardest part is knowing how to cut the wood and put it together, the wirework is not too hard, and there are a ton of websites that can show you step by step how to do it or you can search for several companies that will build you a system.

If you are going to go with a builder go with a professional like Northcoast. Just check out the awesome arcade cabinets they have already built and see images from customers. You also know they do good work because they were featured on the DIY network. Sure, these can get pricy, but it is worth it and if you are going to spend the cash make sure you get the best.

Just keep in mind this is a full size arcade cabinet so if you live in your dorm or small apartment you will quickly find yourself out of space, but if you have the room this is just an incredible addition to the classic gamer’s game room.

Check out NorthCoast arcade cabinets here.

Supaboy: Hyperkin

SupaBoy

So I first heard about this product on the Jace Hall Show page and knew I had to try one out. This handheld system plays original SNES carts and plays them on a 3.5 inch display that can even be connected to your television and two original SNES controllers.

Sure, you can get these on phones or pads or your PC and consoles, but there is something about having the original cartridge sticking out while gaming. Well, at least to me it is cool. The SupaBoy can be picked up for only 80 bucks which isn’t bad especially if you have a large SNES collection. I’m thinking Retro Stocking stuffer!

Check out the SupaBoy Portable SNES console here.

Get to shopping!

Now there will be more to come, but for now check out these products and see if any of them fit into your holiday gift giving plans. We also want to hear from you. Suggest to us some great holiday gaming hardware and we will bring a review to you.

Are video games finally being accepted by the mainstream?

Jimmy Fallon - Batman Arkham City

Any longtime gamer knows of that gut wrenching feeling that comes along when a mainstream media or entertainment source does a video game story.  From news stories that claim violent video games are kid’s toys to Jay Leno jokes that paint gamers as basement dwellers and virgins, it often seems that the industry stats aren’t known by much of what passes as news and entertainment these days.

The facts are hard to deny, however.  The Entertainment Software Association statistics show the average age of a video gamer in 2010 was 37 years of age with 72 percent of American households accepting gaming as a regular form of entertainment.  All said, the US spent $25.1 billion on video gaming last year alone, nearly two-and-a-half times more than they spent at the movies over the same time period.

While there have still been plenty of head shakers in the mainstream this year, overall 2011 has shown many signs that video gaming is finally gaining acceptance as the mainstream form of entertainment it is.

 The release of Batman: Arkham City made the monologue on Conan last week with a parody clip similar to what is typically done with major new films and political figures.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj9BN3WLHLg[/youtube]

 A lengthy television commercial for Google features gamer Brian Kingrey, the winner of the $1 Million contest onMLB2K11.  The clip shows how Kingrey studied and prepared for the contest by doing research on the search engine and speaks to several of his friends.  He also appears briefly in a shorter Google commercial.  Both ads debuted during NFL football games on Sunday.

 NBC’s Late Night With Jimmy Fallon regularly features previews of hot new gaming releases and guests from within the industry.  Shortly after the 2011 E3 Expo the show even featured an entire week dedicated to gaming, complete with special opening credits.

 Former Donkey Kong champion Steve Wiebe makes a short cameo as a security guard in hit film Horrible Bosses.  Reportedly, Colin Farrell’s character of Bobby Pellitt was inspired by another former Donkey Kong champ in Billy Mitchell.

 Members of the US Congress and reps from the video gaming industry formed the Caucus for Competitiveness in Entertainment Technology (E-Tech Caucus) to help continue to foster growth in the video game industry due to its impact on the economy and job market.

 The characters from Angry Birds appear in an ad for Wonderful Pistachios alongside numerous celebrities and pop culture icons.  Costumes from the game are among the most popular Halloween costumes this year as well.

Some 40 years after the release of the video game to mainstream consumers and revenue that trumps the previous kings of the entertainment industry, it appears that gaming is finally taking a seat alongside television, film and music as an accepted form of mainstream entertainment.

 

BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY Trailer

Batman Arkham City poster

Normally this would go on our sister site, Obsolete Gamer, but since this is also comic related we felt we should host it here. So the next game in the Battle Arkham series is Arkham city and finally we have a release date of October 18th.

Now, thanks to IGN, we have a brand new trailer showing gameplay footage and a new badguy to the series. Two Face.

Batman: Arkham City will be released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on October 18.