Is the 3DS the new Virtual Boy?

Cancelled titles, flagging sales only 2 months in, a software lineup that even Atari Jaguar owners would laugh at. Is the 3DS doomed to be a quickly forgotten experiment? That's what some seem to be suggesting in the wake of not only the latest sales numbers, but Nintendo's big announcement this morning that they will be slashing the price of the 3DS a whopping $70 to a much more attractive $170. And just to be sure they don't piss off the early adopters, everybody who has or gets one before the price drop gets TWENTY free games. Sure they are downloadable old NES and GBA titles, but it's hard to be mad when I'm getting stuff like Ice Cimbers & Mario Kart: Super Circuit for free.

Does this move seem drastic and possibly desperate considering the PS Vita isn't even out yet? Maybe, but this is a very different time than when the DS launched. The economy was better and there weren't tons of portable phones and tablets and whatnot all vying for your time and your dollars. What this does IMHO is send a message that Nintendo is being extremely aggressive this time around and it'll most likely pay off come this holiday when the new low price is combined with the release of games like Mario Kart, Super Mario 3DS and Kid Icarus.

Now, in reference to the heading, many naysayers are claiming that the 3DS is already the next Virtual Boy, essentially a huge blunder best left forgotten. But there are quite a few differences here, namely that the Virtual Boy's biggest issues were all major design flaws (horrible red graphics, stupid helmet that was heavy and gave people headaches). You can turn off the 3D and you are still essentially left with something that's quite a visual step up from the DS which companies can make quality games for without having to shoehorn 3D into everything. Will the 3D remain a key component since the public seems kind of ambivalent at best about that technology? That's really up to Nintendo and 3rd party developers to decide. Making games that really use the 3D feature in new and innovative ways rather than just doing it because they can will make it a key feature and a differentiator from most competition, and it's really up to them to make that happen. I fully expect once solid titles really start rolling out (which they will in the coming months) sales will easily skyrocket with the new price point and a year from now everyone will wonder what the worry was about as they are playing Blast Corps in 3D (hopefully).

That's all for today, I should have another post up this weekend sometime. In the meantime, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Sushi Boy Thunder


A legacy worth mentioning?

Admittedly as I've mentioned before, most DLC isn't even worth looking at and Bioware's is no exception as the large majority for previous titles has been overpriced short and uninteresting. Dragon Age II's Legacy is none of those things so far frankly. I'm a little over 90 minutes in (which is on average about as long as most previous Bioware DLC has been) and just seem to be getting into it. Granted, they could cut it short like they did with pretty much the third act, but I'm sensing there are at least a couple more hours here which certainly makes it well worth the $10. There's even some replay value there for not only new dialogue banter between party characters but also obviously depending where you are in the game, you may have a wider variety of characters to play through it with. The story is intriguing so far as well. Hopefully future DA II dlc will measure up to this very worthy first release.

Don't have DA II or looking for something new in the summer doldrums? Xbox's Summer of Arcade may have your answer yet again with the very original From Dust. I haven't downloaded the trial yet, but I should get a chance to play around with it this weekend. The early reviews are very positive. It'd be nice if XBLA releases could be regularly this kind of quality instead of being so inconsistent, especially with the prices on average going up.

That's really all I have for today, but I should have another post up tomorrow or Friday (if it's Friday I might have a Cowboys and Aliens review as I am planning on seeing it this weekend), until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Knights of Badassdom


A man out of time....

Well actually I did happen to be able to go catch Captain America on Friday night and I really enjoyed it overall. Evans was damn good in the role and the action was spectacular. It does almost seem like a film that was lifted straight out of the early days of film making in its style and dialogue. It has that same serial vibe going for it that Lucas infused the Indiana Jones movies with. It doesn't take a lot of risks or try and be edgy, but it doesn't really need to be. My one minor complaint would be that both Peggy Carter and Cap's squadron of Howling Commandos don't get much screen time and since it seems like only the first movie will take place in WWII, there's a bit of missed opportunity there. I think the Howling Commandos could certainly make for a good film, but odds are they're a little too far down on the Marvel food chain for that to happen.

So the WiiU won't be compatible with Gamecube games but that doesn't necessarily mean we won't have any opportunity to play them as it's been suggested that they will probably be released on Wiiware once the WiiU is actually out. Depending on pricing this could be a pretty awesome prospect, though considering the huge leap in size of the games, it does make one wonder how we would store given Nintendo's rather half-assed storage measures to date. Hopefully they'll have something close to on par with the storage space the PS3 & 360 have now and it won't be an issue.

Finally in potentially awesome news, Lego has recently required the rights to make Marvel & DC Lego characters and sets. This is obviously awesome for any Lego fan, and while I haven't bought any Legos in years, the real exciting potential would be for a Marvel or DC-based lego videogame. Of course, Marvel & DC together in a Lego game would arguably be the biggest Nerdgasm of all time, but odds are that's not going to happen, so I'd just be pretty stoked to have something with the Avengers or the Justice League.

That's all for today, I should have another post up Monday or Tuesday. Until then, here's your BIG BANG CLIP OF THE WEEK:


Chris Evans can't be Captain America, he's already the Human Torch!!!

Admittedly there's been some joking of this sort since Evans was cast as Marvel's iconic all-American soldier. But,  possibly because the Fantastic 4 movies are considered some of the worst comic book films of the last couple years, the usual fans don't really seem bothered by it. It'd be different if say Hugh Jackman was cast in the role, not only would he probably be really wrong for it, the guy is so ingrained in fans' minds as Wolverine I think some people's heads would explode trying to comprehend that. There was also some doubt on Evans ability but aside from the really solid reviews, I've always found Evans a really solid and fun actor to watch from things like Sunshine & Push to more just fun stuff like Scott Pilgrim. Hopefully Captain America and the Avengers next year will push him into bigger stardom because he's actually been doing really solid work for a few years now and deserves it frankly. I'm excited to see the film, but my weekend's pretty packed already so I might not be seeing it til I have a day off next week. I'll be sure to post my thoughts then.

Ok Xbox's Summer of Arcade has started! Are you pumped? Why not? Could it be because nearly every year "SoA" seems like an apology for the fact that 3 months go by without any cool titles and even for the lowered expectations of digital titles these usually seem underwhelming? Well, obviously I can't speak for the rest of the SoA titles (except Fruit Ninja Kinect, just fuck you Microsoft on that one) because they haven't come out yet but the first one is actually pretty awesome. Bastion, best described as an isometric dungeon-crawler is just oozing style, creativity and coolness. The action is solid but fairly boiler-plater shooting and hitting the hell out of anything that moves with a decent array of weaponry,What really makes it fun is the clever narrator that tells you story, and not in a canned fashion, he actually adjusts on the fly. I don't own it yet as I'm saving my $$$ for the Dragon Age II: Legacy DLC set to hit next week but I pan to purchase it not long after and you should as well if you want to support good original downloadable titles.

So the new Spider-Man trailer is out, and everyone's biggest complaint seems to be "not another origin story!". Which given that the Sam Raimi films weren't all that long ago, seems like a somewhat valid complaint, but they've recast everybody, put Peter in High School and even given him back his old-school web shooters. While comic book fans and internet nerds might be able to just accept that, the general movie going-public will just be confused and think they are at the wrong movie. Besides, the last time they tried rebooting a series without an origin story, we got Superman Returns. Granted, maybe Sony should've waited a few more years so the last 3 films weren't so fresh in everyone's mind, but given that there's money to be made that just wasn't a realistic expectation. I for one am excited all over again.

Ok that's it for today I should have another post up tomorrow or Sunday. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: War Horse


Could games get even shorter?

Now appropriate game length has always been a debatable issue, but the general consensus is that of you tell a compelling story and have well-paced gameplay, your game can be as long as you like. But there also seems to be a waning trend in particularly lengthy games. 25 hours used to be short for an rpg, now its pretty much the standard. Action titles and especially FPS games often run short of 10 or sometimes even 5 hours. Now in some cases, this is a good thing. Lord knows there are plenty of solid titles with what feels like completely boring filler. But I'm pretty sure anyone who paid $60 for a game and didn't even get 10 hours out of it feels pretty ripped off.

And now developers are coming out and saying that games these days are too long and gamers don't enjoy 10+ hour titles. Which I believe is a huge fucking crock. There are tons of games that provide top-notch story telling and lots of gameplay that sell incredibly well. It's all about delivering a truly compelling experience. If gamers don't bother to finish because it's just "too long," well that's their loss. If developers start making games even shorter than they already are, that just smacks of lazyness and most certainly putting the almighty dollar ahead of any creativity. Would you want a Mass Effect title that takes maybe 15 hours to beat? The next Uncharted game to only take 5? If that's where games are heading, maybe I should start buying more books....

That's it for today, but I should have another post up tomorrow. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Murloc RPG:SF


The XStaton 720?

So a seemingly ludicrous, though if you really take a minute to think about it not that ludicrous rumor has popped up that Microsoft and Sony may actually team up in order to make one mega-powerful all-encompassing console, combining Sony's knack for great software with Microsoft's online expertise. It really isn't that far fetched really. It's sometimes hard to remember, especially with the legions of fanboys Sony & Microsoft both have, that they are at the end of the of the day major corporations out to make money, and if it makes really good business sense for this sort of partnership to happen, suddenly it doesn't seem like such an out there possibility. Between the mounting pressures of competing against not only the juggernaut that is Nintendo, but the casual gaming space as well, it might make perfect sense to unify in order to offer one high-end experience rather than continually make consumers choose, especially in an economy like we have now.

What do I personally think? Obviously it would be great not to have to try to afford separate consoles just so I can experience all the games, and one major high-end platform would mean no waiting on ports and also no inferior ports. Of course, this also means less choice for both gamers and developers. It may also mean no real price wars to take advantage of. Also you are looking at two very divergent philosophies that just may not mesh very well.

At the end of the day, I think the possibility of an MS/Sony team-up is possible, but very slim. Of course I could be proven completely wrong by such a thing being unveiled at E3 in the next year or two. It would be nice to hear a lot less fanboy bitching, that's for sure.

That's all for now, since this was what I meant to post Sunday (I was a little too tired after work and just crashed) I may have another post tonight, but most likely I'll do another one Tuesday. In the meantime, here's your BIG BANG CLIP OF THE WEEK:


Now I can watch Star Trek at McDonalds....

Ok so firstly I did see Deathly Hallows Part 2 last night. It's always very hard to deliver on a finale, expectations run extremely high and you need to tie up any loose ends and still deliver a finale that's thrilling and compelling. I think they managed to do that with this movie. It was a huge action-packed finale with lots of fun epic moments. Admittedly certain scenes might not have the same impact for those who have only seen the movies and not read the books but I can't imagine any fan being truly disapointed.

The other big Potter-related news is of the Dark Knight Rises trailer that premiered. While it's good to know the movie has a definitive release date, the trailer was pretty much a waste, with footage mostly culled together from the last 2 films and Gary Oldman barely understandable talking from a hospital bed. My guess is that rather than breaking Batman's back like he did in the comics he puts Gordon in the hospital. Which for the purposes of the movie would probably be way better, we don't want a Batman movie where he's probably out of action for at least half of it healing up his spine.

And yes, Netflix is now on the 3DS, though I sort of question why. I mean sure you can use it at hotspots, but frankly the smallish screen size and completely shitty battery power means you'd probably be lucky to get a 2-hour movie in, much less be able to watch a marathon of the recently acquired Star Trek shows.

That's it for today, but I should have another post up tomorrow or Sunday. In the meantime here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Hugo


Spoiler: Potter kills Voldemort...

And even if you didn't read the books, you should've been able to guess that the grand finale will consist of Harry's victory over He who shall not be named. But of course that's not the real question. The real question after Deathly Hallows part 2 is, what's next? Is there another big franchise Warner Bros can bank on? They've said their next big money-maker is DC superheroes but really, we all know a Green Arrow film or the 40th Superman reboot is not going to bring in the numbers the Potter Franchise has. Another set of kids books? They've been trying to do that since the opening weekend of Philosopher's Stone with various series and met with middling success at best, but that doesn't mean that something won't come along. And of course will there be any more Potter books, movies, or video games? I think something actually starring The chosen one is long shot at best, but there's a whole universe here that is worthy of exploration. Something covering either Voldemort's original rise to power or the years after his defeat could be a great possibility for movies, books or games. I think not only the huge dollar potential but the fact that there is still plenty left to explore means that this will hardly be the last we see of the world of Harry Potter.

Catherine is a weird little game out of Japan that might normally not get much notice, but it's mature content and fact that it's published by Atlus, which usually makes fairly awesome games come stateside (the Persona series, Dark Souls, etc.) has gotten it a fair amount of coverage. Now it's finally due out later this month, and a demo was released today for the 360 & PS3. I tried out the demo and felt like I was playing a twisted game of Q*Bert with awful controls, as I would constantly pull the wrong block or pull it the wrong direction or even overshoot and be left hanging with nothing to do but fall to my death. Add in choppy animation and bad even by cheesy anime standards acting and you've got something that will probably only appeal to those who will buy this just because it's a quirky indie title rather than it actually being good.

No, I haven't been able to catch the premiere of Torchwood: Miracle Day yet, but I was able to watch the latest Superhero drama, Alphas, thanks to it being free on Xbox live. It certainly cribs quite a bit from X-men(which makes sense since it's from two of the writers on X-men), but it's got a mostly solid cast (I could see the slightly autistic kid getting really annoying after a few episodes) and well done action & plot while already hinting at bigger threads for the run of the season if not the whole show. It could be another stinker along the lines of No Ordinary family but first impressions are we could have the first good superhero show in a long, long while.

Ok that's all for today. I might have another post up tomorrow but more likely Friday with a review of Deathly Hallows part 2 along with a few other things. Until then, here is your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Dinosaur Zookeeper


Could the Wii U's online system actually be worse than the Wii's?

We are all pumped for Nintendo to move into the current times, having an HD-capable system and finally a decent online system! That's are what they are having, right, a decent online system. After all, Reggie promised us the end of friend codes! But wait, did he or anyone else at Nintendo even say anything else definitive about what the system would be like and how it would work? There's actually a very telling and potentially disturbing quote from Reggie himself here:

"...instead of a situation where a publisher has their own network and wants that to be the predominant platform, and having arguments with platform holders, we’re going to welcome that. We’re going to welcome that from the best and the brightest of the third party publishers".

Now, to me that sounds like they are just going to let developers and publishers try and set up their own network rather than have one standard universal setup like the 360 & PS3 have. Just think about that for a second. At a bare minimum you might need a username & password & friends list for nearly every major publisher out there, not a promising prospect at all. It also sounds like they might half-ass it at best with their own titles that could greatly benefit online. Nintendo has a ton of unique franchises that could provide experiences you couldn't get anywhere else in an online setting. Smash Bros. is the most obvious, but New Super Mario Bros, Wii Sports, Metroid, Pikmin and even Zelda (think 4 swords online) all have strong possibilities that could make Nintendo's online network the one to beat, and all it would really need is a competent setup. Easy to find and make friends, leaderboards, etc. Instead it sounds like we might very well be getting something that is actually far worse than friend codes ever were, and that's if publishers even bother. After all, setting up and maintaining servers ain't cheap, and I can't think of anybody who would go through this trouble just to play a few games...

That is all for today, I should have another post up by Tuesday. Until then, here's your BIG BANG CLIP OF THE WEEK:


An important PSA from Nathan Fillion....

Swamp ass, it's a serious problem. But together, we can beat it!

It seems like we've been waiting for awhile for even an announcement about any significant Dragon Age II DLC. Well it's finally been announced and it's not even that for off, coming out in a little under 3weeks! I am pumped, but cautiously so. IMHO the only worthwhile expansion released for Dragon Age was Awakenings (and nearly all Mass Effect DLC has been fairly worthless) which was a fairly meaty addition but was also $40. $10 will probably buy us a couple hours, tops. I'm not fond of DLC in can finish off in an afternoon. I'd gladly pay $10 for a sidequest that also brought a new party member to the mix as Sebastian was a fairly interesting addition that I really enjoyed.

Fnally, the long-awaited premiere of the Torchwood: Miracle Day is tonight. It's going to be extremely tough to match the insanely epic Children of Earth (seriously, if you haven't watched that DO IT NOW before the new season airs) but getting a bigger budget, a new setting and and potential exposure to a much wider audience should help. Sadly I don't have cable, so that leaves out watching it tonight, but there's a decent catch it'll turn up on Netflix or I can just stream it online in a day or so in which case I'll try and post my thoughts next time I post.

That's it for today, I should have another post up tomorrow or Sunday. In the meantime, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Shop Empire


Parappa the Rapper: Final Fantasy Edition....

Yay! A new Final Fantasy game is on the way!  Is it the next main number? A spin-off action title? A Dress Up Game? Sadly, no. Instead it's one of their inane little experiments and they are just shoving the Final Fantasy name & characters on there in a desperate attempt to boost sales because the Final Fantasy faithful are like many other fanbases in that they will buy virtually anything with the name attached. But really, a rhythm game? Yes Final Fantasy has some extremely memorable and awesome music, I have a fair amount of it in my itunes library.

And hey, nothing is wrong with music-based or rhythm-based games, there have been some truly classic titles such as Parappa, Rez and Elite Beat Agents. But these are not two great tastes that taste great together. Not too mention Square's track record trying to shove Final Fantasy into games that are decidedly not rpgs is appallingly bad, not too mention something that really betrays the characters. It's not the same when somebody like Mario appears in a different type game, he's not a particularly deep and developed character. Characters who deal with deep emotional trauma while saving the world don't really belong in party titles or casual titles. What's next? A Metal Gear Solid game Mario Party style? Actually, Hideo Kajima is just crazy enough to try something like that frankly, but let's hope he never does.

Ok that is it for today, but I should have another post up sometime tomorrow. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol


We may be one step closer to a Guy Gardner film...

Well, depending on who you talk to, fast track sequel may or may not be happening to this summer's biggest box office bust so far, Green Lantern. I'll reiterate what I said before-I think it was a perfectly enjoyable flick, and I really, really don't get the hate. If Michael Bay can get 3 movies to ruin Transformers over and over again, I'm pretty sure we should get at least one more shot at a great Green Lantern film. It's a solid character with a diverse and just cool universe.

Do we need another one with Ryan Reynolds though? While I'd be perfectly fine with it, there have been several human Lanterns throughout the decades, so a continuation that wasn't necessarily a total reboot (after all, we don't need another movie where they hint at Sinestro's eventual turn to villany, he could just be the next villain) would certainly be other options. As awesome as it would be, a movie with Gardner is probably not going to happen because audiences don't like following a complete asshole for a whole movie. Kyle Rayner is just about as bland as it gets(though the studios could right a terrible wrong by making one with him and casting Nathan Fillion in the role). Realistically, Jon Stewart seems like the most reasonable choice, he's one of the more popular versions, and let's face it, there's a pretty severe lack of Black superheroes on the big screen, and that would certainly be a consideration. I also think there are several actors who could play him convincingly, Will Smith being near the top of the list if they wanted to try for the biggest star they could possibly land. Whatever they decide to do with the franchise, I seriously hope this one movie isn't the end of it, and that we never, ever EEEEVVVEEEERRRR see Jack Black sporting a Lantern Ring.

Ok, that's really all for today, with a little luck I should have another post up Tuesday at the latest. In the meantime, here's your BIG BANG CLIP OF THE WEEK:


Get the hint,DC Universe.....

Ok seriously, I know MMOs on consoles are still pretty much in their infancy, and maybe they have to go through some of the same growing pains PC ones did, but with everything from City of Heroes to Conan to LOTR to even WOW (in some limited capacity) being free to play and it being an extremely beneficial manuever every single time so far, the only one not even giving a hint of budging is DCU. DCU has opened a bare bones microtransaction store instead. Whoopee. Now, I have enjoyed DC Universe, but frankly it doesn't have any real long term appeal at the moment. It's fun for like a month, then you take a few months off, then come back for another month. But who wants to keep paying for that? I don't know about you but I have better things to spend my money on, And if the King of MMOs is starting to lean towards free2play, the new kid on the block that doesn't have nearly the same appeal. It would actually be great if DCU went this route before The Old Republic hits,because frankly it'd make make EA & Bioware look rather foolish to try wrangling $15 or so a month out of gamers when pretty much everybody else has jumped on the free2play bandwagon. Sure, throw in some kind of premium level, but it's pretty clear at this point that the free model with little things you can buy that may not even be all that useful in-game is much better for both the consumer and the developer/publisher.

Ok, that's really all I have for today, I should have another post up Saturday or Sunday. Until then, here is your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Snailiad