The long anticipated wait for GRID 2 is almost over! With its release date rapidly approaching (May 31st) fans of the GRID series of racing games are in for a well-deserved treat. Game development has built upon the original American themed GRID and now game play expands through 40 years of motor sport heritage and across three continents: North America, Europe, and Asia. Of course, the objective of GRID 2 is to develop your driving skills and become one of the top-ranked drivers in the world. There are also many new features, vehicles, and courses added that will allow game-play to be sensational for the PS3, XBOX 360 and PC platforms.
GRID 2 offers a multitude of vehicles, all separated by tier levels. Tier 1 being the introductory – the place where your race career begins. Vehicles in this tier include boosted Japanese sports cars, such as the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, American hatchbacks such as the Ford Focus ST, or classic European tuners, like the BMW 1 series. As game-play goes along, the 2nd Tier vehicles improve in quality. These vehicles include the Mercedes C63 AMG and Ford Mustang Boss 302. The final and most exotic stage of vehicles, Tier 3, includes dream-like machines of the highest class. The vehicles in this group include the McLaren MP4-12C, Subaru BRZ and the Super Touring Class Volvo S60.
Along with the vehicles, styles and locations of game-play have been upgraded for GRID 2. Certain game modes include time attack, world-series racing, and elimination to test your mettle as a driver. The most exciting attribute to these modes are the venues selected by developers for racing. Tracks include the beaches of Miami, the skyline of Chicago, the nightlife of Los Angeles, a run around the Eiffel Tower in the streets of Paris and, of course, the beautiful Cote d’Azur in the advanced levels of game-play. Other European circuits include Brands Hatch and the Red Bull Ring raceway. Many more tracks and road courses throughout the world with great scenery and attention to detail show how GRID 2 pushes the envelope for racing platform games.
The updates to innovations in the game set GRID 2 apart from the competition. The amount and degree of damage a car experiences has been intensified with realistic effects if you decide to trade paint with your opponents. Artificial Intelligence is no longer a standard push over; it marginally increases its level of difficulty according to how well you perform in your races, thus always allowing you to develop properly as a racer. A feature that is becoming more popular in racing games, the flashback and rewind feature, has been added to game-play in GRID 2. This feature allows you to correct any major mistake and focus on what is most important: driving at the limit. One final feature that was an interesting add to game-play was the True Feel Handling System, which offers real-life physics application to simulate the realistic drive ability of any vehicle, making game-play approachable, yet challenging to master overnight.
Sebastian is an amateur blogger, car affectionado and casual gamer. Driving and racing simulations have always been his go-to games after a hard days work.
Gamers who appreciate a good deal, DRM-free gameplay or indie games are already familiar with Humble Bundle. The Humble Indie Bundle was created as a way to feature independent games and offer consumers a way to purchase games while doing good. Arguably the best value in gaming, Humble Bundles often bundle multiple game titles for gamers to purchase by setting their own price. Humble Bundle sets pricing level suggestions that allow for additional content bonuses, but does not pressure consumers into paying more. Not only can consumers benefit from a great deal, they can feel good about their purchase, as Humble Bundle allows consumers to determine how much of their purchase price is paid directly to the game developers, Humble Bundle for hosting and processing, and select charities.
This week, Humble Bundle launched their first Humble Bundle Weekly Sale! Each Tuesday, Humble Bundle will offer a new game for sale using their pay what you want model and providing the same distribution model to allow funding to be split among the game developers, Humble Bundle and the selected charities.
What better way to start the weekly sale than to feature a critically acclaimed game? For the first Humble Bundle Weekly Sale, Humble Bundle teamed up with Supergiant Games to feature Bastion! Bastion is an action-RPG game that allows players to take on the role of a kid who is tasked with restoring the world after the Calamity wrecks it. With remarkable 2D painted artwork, varied gameplay and an immersive soundtrack, Bastion earned much praise and many awards, including the Game Critics Award for Best Downloadable Game of E3 2011.
Graphic: Supergiant Games
To purchase Bastion and for more information about this week’s deal and the additional content available, visit the website at HumbleBundle.com/weekly. Don’t forget to bookmark the site as new deals will be revealed every Tuesday.
Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at email@example.com. You can also email David at dlucier[at]goodtobeageek.com, email Jessa at jphillips[at]goodtobeageek.com.
Special thanks to Sterling for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Magnatune profile page (http://magnatune.com/artists/sterling) to learn more about him and discover more of his music.
Good To Be A Gamer is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Opinions expressed on Good To Be A Gamer are those of the hosts and/or guests and do not necessarily represent those of Good To Be A Geek. Good To Be A Geek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
Electronic Arts (EA) takes the opportunity at their E3 2012 Keynote to highlight a few of their biggest hits. The publisher also reveals some of their goals for gaming development, including extended the gaming experience through more closely knit social interaction, more intuitive gameplay and digital downloads.
EA and Visceral Entertainment present Dead Space 3. This horror, action-adventure game is back and more thrilling than ever! It features, for the first time in the franchise, co-op gameplay. Rife with new environments, new characters and bigger baddies, Dead Space 3 promises more heart-pounding action, coming in February 2013.
For the sports fans, Madden NFL 13 looks to enhance the franchise with more authentic gameplay. The improved Infinity physics engine creates more realistic play by taking into account physicality, action and balance. The Connected Careers function allows for a more immersive experience with an engaging story mode that creates a whole world, even a virtual Twitter feed to provide fan reactions. Step onto the field August 28, 2012.
Just when your Sim was getting a little bored, EA announces a new Sim City for PC. With even more interactivity and larger global challenges, the world-building game is bigger than ever before. Scheduled for release in 2013.
To date, Battlefield 3 has 50 million players worldwide. EA is out to prove they are a premier digital entertainment company and DICE is on hand to assist in reaching that goal. Battlefield 3 Premium is a new rewards program exclusive to Battlefield 3 players. The program offers new skins, dog tags, weapons, server priority and more! The biggest benefit is access to 5 massive digital expansion packs, each focusing on different warfare tactics. Premier membership is available now $49.99 and members will receive early access to the first DLC pack, “Close Quarters.”
BioWare is celebrating the huge success of Star Wars: The Old Republic. They are not resting on their laurels, though. Adding more PvP action, nightmare difficulty mode, more companion characters, new level caps and abilities, and a new planet with a new storyline, BioWare is serious about expanding the game so many love and bringing in new players. In July 2012, Star Wars: The Old Republic will go free-to-play up to level 15 for new players!
Medal of Honor: Warfighter goes global with their story and ties the game to real world events. Now, players will be able to choose to become one of the 12 different Tier 1 operators from 10 different countries. Serve your country October 23, 2012.
Another big focus for EA this year is to connect every game you play across every platform you play it on. Nowhere is the push towards this goal greater than in the EA Sports franchises, with FIFA 13 and Madden NFL 13 offering more interconnectivity than previously seen. I shared a bit about Madden NFL 13 earlier, so let us take a look at FIFA 13.
FIFA’s Football Social Network connects millions of fans to the sport, their friends and their clubs. To date, 11 million people make up the FIFA club. All returning 2012 players will carry their XP to FIFA 13 and will receive a special bonus in club. In 2012, iPAD, iPhone & Android users will be connected to club. The iPhone App will be re-tooled to provide greater functionality. Gameplay innovation unlike previous years. Leonard Messi is the cover player for FIFA 13 and a huge inspiration to gameplay with his dynamic dribble moves and attacking possibilities. Players can expect gameplay innovation unlike previous years, with a smarter AI system, player impact engine and greater control.
It is no doubt EA’s commitment to sports fans that prompted the mult-year partnership with UFC. UFC has a large, rabid fan base. The ink is still wet on this deal, so there is no news about a new game, but UFC fans can rest assured there will be a future for their sports on consoles.
Perhaps you are a racing fan. Not to worry, EA has not forgotten you. 2012 sees the next iteration in the hugely popular Need for Speed franchise, with Need for Speed: Most Wanted. The team at Criterion Games put their heads together to craft a game to allow the player to feel the rush of a driver on the run. This year, Need for Speed gets more competitive by making everything a challenge worth XP. Sexier cars, faster chases and more social connectivity. Get ready to put your skills to the test October 30, 2012.
Bringing back their award-winning development talent, Crytek pushes the boundaries of shooter sandbox gaming with the return of Crysis. Crysis 3 promises new tech, more powerful weapons and engaging story-telling to rival the 2 previous games. Don your nanosuit and prepare to take back the city February 2013.
EA is one of the biggest video game publishers in the world. The games featured at their EA keynote represent only a small number of their blockbuster titles. The publisher has many more upcoming titles, so stay tuned for updates.
Leave us a comment below to tell us what titles you cannot wait to play!
Jessa Phillips and David Lucier are together at last! Recording in the same room for this epic podcast episode, they are joined by special guest, Kat Lucier to talk about all the video games, cosplay, panels and more from on-site at PAX East 2012.
This episode is particularly lengthy and jam packed with goodness. For the ease and convenience of our listeners, we have included time stamps below for the topics we discussed.
In the interest of full disclosure, this episode contains adult language.
00:23 – Introductions
01:39 – General Impressions
10:40 – Lollipop Chainsaw
12:04 – Aliens: Colonial Marines
13:44 – Jack Lumber (Indie)
16:25 – Go Home Dinosaurs (Indie)
17:56 – Retrograde (Indie)
22:06 – Theatrythm: Final Fantasy
24:39 – Spelltower (Indie)
29:59 – Snapshot (Indie)
32:45 – Primal Carnage (Indie)
36:31 – Super Time Force (Indie)
40:06 – Vessel (Indie)
41:08 – Game Minder App
43:38 – Could Summer Become the Season for Indie Games?
48:34 – Kickstarter
49:01 – Miskatonic School for Girls
51:18 – Scallops
52:56 – Cards Against Humanity
53:53 – Win, Lose or Banana
54:21 – The Secret World
57:39 – Mark of the Ninja
1:01:10 – Firefall
1:07:14 – Far Cry 3
1:09:29 – Miniature Paint n’ Take
1:13:55 – The Entertainment Consumers’ Association (ECA)
1:19:16 – Selecting Save on the Games We Make
1:21:11 – How to Make an Arcade Stick
1:21:22 – XY: Transgender Issues in Gaming
1:21:45 – Chris Avellone of Obsidian talks Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2
1:24:50 – Balancing Gameplay & Plot
1:28:36 – Future of Dungeons & Dragons
1:31:51 – Stuff Your Criticism, I Want a Review
1:42:30 – Education & Gaming
1:46:00 – Future of Online Gaming
1:54:19 – DLC: Continuing the Story
1:56:48 – Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker
1:58:09 – Epic Games
1:58:58 – Legal Issues in Gaming
2:01:44 – Omegathon: Just Dance 2
The mobile phone I have in my pocket is literally thousands of times more powerful than the then state of the art desktop computers many of us were using when we fell in love with computer games. With this kind of power in our pockets, it is little wonder so many iconic games from our childhood are finding themselves rebooted and given a new lease on life in a mobile format.
Whether you gave up on gaming but still have a fondness for the pursuits of your past; have your own children and want to show them what you used to do at their age; or just want to indulge in some nostalgia, there are bound to be some retro titles with a mobile release that will appeal to you.
Despite the second success that a lot of these games are experiencing, there are a few of my favorites I have yet to see. Here are the top 5 games that I would like to be able to download on the app store.
5. The World’s Greenest Detective
Platform: Amstrad PCW
Original release: 1986
Batman games are popular right now, with the enormously successful and award winning Arkham series. This might be the perfect time to rediscover the first Batman computer game.
The Amstrad title made a very early attempt at 3D and saw Batman navigating a series of green and black rooms trying to locate all his gadgets and Batmobile pieces which have been stolen and hidden by The Joker, who is holding Robin hostage.
In true Batman style, you cannot kill your enemies, but instead have to avoid them while solving a series of mazes and puzzles. The original game had no capability to save, so the game was perhaps overly challenging. With this additional function, a mobile release of BATMAN is sure to keep you occupied on the train for some time to come.
To date, there have been two attempts at bringing BATMAN back: a very rare and little known GameBoy Advanced version of the game was supposedly released; as well as a freeware online version renamed WATMAN. However this piece of Batman history deserves a place in the mainstream, so it has made my list of retro computer games that need a mobile re-release.
4.The Keen Series
Title: Commander Keen 4-6
Original release Date: 1990-91
The Commander Keen series was one of the first to bring console style platform gaming to the PC. With an imaginative story and characters created by Tom Hall, Commander Keen was a real rival to its console competitors.
Commander Keen follows the adventures of 8 year old boy genius, Billy Blaze. With his homemade spacecraft and pogo stick he becomes Commander Keen, defender of the universe. Whilst Sonic and Mario received movie and TV spin-offs, Commander Keen has been largely forgotten. Isn’t it about time this hero was remembered with a port of his games to the iPhone?
There was one attempt at making Commander Keen mobile on the GameBoy Color, but with few of the original creators backing that game, it was a complete flop. The makers of Commander Keen were also behind Duke Nukem, Wolfenstein and Doom - all of which have had recent mobile releases. Isn’t it about time for Commander Keen to get one too?
3.The Dope Fish
Original release: N/A
Not strictly a port of a retro game, but here’s one video game character that really deserves his own game. The mobile platform could be the perfect place to do this. The Dope Fish was originally a minor character in the fourth Commander Keen title; however, has had cameos in several games since, the most recent of which being Max Payne.
The giant green fish, purported to be the second dumbest creature in the universe, has a thought pattern that consists entirely of “swim, swim, hungry, swim, swim.” Exactly what would happen in this game is really down to the imagination of its creators. A few fans have already had a go on the PC, but this is one game that is best suited to a mobile platform
4.Pikachu I choose you
Platform: GameBoy Color
Original release: 1998
Pokémon games have already seen mobile success on GameBoy, but with almost everyone having a smartphone, isn’t it about time we found a way to relive the fun of catching, trading and battling pocket monsters on our mobile phones? Pokémon is a game that was easy to pick up and put back down. It seems like a game that would transfer really well to the mobile platform given the multiple connectivity options available on phones.
However, this is not a game we can expect to see anytime soon. Nintendo is still focusing on releasing new versions of Pokémon games for their Nintendo DS handhelds and have stated they have no interest in creating games for rival mobile platforms.
Unless Nintendo begins to view the App Store as an obvious money spinner, it is unlikely we will see Pokémon there anytime soon.
Original release: 1990
One of the mobile re-releases I have enjoyed most has been The Secret Of Monkey Island. This game, with its complete makeover, has made great use of the touch interface on iPhone. I would go as far as saying I have enjoyed playing this game even more the second time around than I did the first (and I was a fan the first time too.) It left the player wanting more. Another LucasArts title to use the same point-and-click adventure style was Loom.
Loom; therefore, makes it to the #1 position. I want to see Loom given the same treatment The Secret Of Monkey Island received. I hope the result will be a game I will enjoy every bit as much. Loom sees you as Bobbin, exploring a strange world where all the elders have been turned into swans. You must find clues and follow the story to find a way to save them.
Although we were happy to hear this game was recently released on Steam, it was not given the same makeover as The Secret Of Monkey Island. About the Author Ewan Cambell MacDougall is an avid gamer and iOS user. He has provided this article on behalf of Equanet. Equanet supplies businesses with a wide range of Apple computers and other Apple products.
How will you spend your summer vacation? Steam is hoping you will spend it gaming with them. Today, the gaming network launched its Summer Camp Sale.
Photo Credit: Steam
Steam has become known for its epic sales – sucking gamers into the simple “click and buy” motion with prices they simply cannot resist. What makes these sales so irressitable? The games. After all, just because a game is 60% off does not mean gamers will suddenly want to buy it. Gamers want to play the games they enjoy. Steam understands this.
Even on day one the Steam Summer Camp Sale boasts some fantastic deals, including Medal of Honor and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for 66% off, or Borderlands for 75% off the regular purchase price. How about Portal 2 or Left for Dead 2 for 35% off? Let’s say you are loyal to a particular publisher like Capcom. Steam has you covered. Today’s Summer Camp Sale deals include 33% off select Capcom titles, like Lost Planet 2, Dead Rising 2 and other fan favorites. If none of the sale offerings excite your inner gamer. No worries, every day through July 10th 2011, Steam is featuring different games and publisher offerings in their daily deals.
Photo Credit: Steam
Cheap games not enough for you? How about free stuff? All you have to do is play. Playing games earns you Summer Camp Steam Achievements. Each achievement earns gamers a prize ticket that can be redeemed for great in-game content such as playable characters, gear and maps. Prize tickets must be redeemed during the Summer Camp Sale to get your free goodies. But wait, there’s more! Each prize ticket earns gamers a chance at the Grand Prize. 100 lucky gamers will be selected to receive the top 10 games on their wishlist!
Sign in to your Steam account on Mac, PC, or PSN today to take advantage of these great deals, giveaways and gaming. If you do not have a Steam account, head over to http://www.steampowered.com to register and install for free.
Over the years, it’s become increasingly difficult to say anything bad about Valve, the developer which has not only given us some of the greatest games of all time (Half-Life, its sequels, Portal, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, et cetera) but has also put together the definitive online games distribution and community integration platform, Steam. Yes, gamers have been frustrated with their infrequent release schedule, but the continued cries of gamers for them to finish the Half-Life 2 Episodes trilogy is a testament to the greatness of their games, but the truth of the matter is that while Valve is still technically in the business of making Half-Life games, their main revenue stream now comes from selling you games.
Almost exclusively, this has been a pretty good thing. Even though Valve has shifted some of its gears from development to retail, they still approach the business as if they are Valve (probably because they are Valve), and this has always meant innovation and making their customers happy and loyal. It is not uncommon to see a Steam customer with a game library larger than he or she will ever have time to play. Valve is uncommonly good at getting people to buy games from them because they make it incredibly easy to do so, usually by heavily marking down prices for a limited time. Sometimes, I go to my games library and see games that I’ve purchased that I’ve never even downloaded, let alone play. Keep in mind that I am a Mac user, and Steam was only released for the OSX platform in the last year. Just yesterday, something in my library caught my eye, and I had to go to the products page on Steam and look at screenshots and trailers before I could remember what the game was and that I had, in fact, purchased it. Perhaps one of these days I will actually get around to downloading and then playing Hoard, but then there might be some other game that catches my eye and I’ll forget all about the game all over again.
Clearly, this has become a viable and lucrative business model, and recently they’ve taken to exploiting their own wares to increase their customer base. I previously mentioned that last year, Valve brought Steam to OSX. In order to entice customers, they offered up a nice prize for downloading their storefront/software: a free copy of their surprise hit game Portal. This coming Tuesday, they convince even more potential (inevitable) customers to download their storefront/software by offering a free PC or OSX copy of Portal 2 to those who purchase the PS3 version. They’ve even convinced Sony to let them integrate Steam into the PS3. While it will currently only allow for cross-platform cooperative play and cloud saving for the PS3 game, and some (I imagine) limited community hooks, who knows what this integration could lead to in the future. What is certain is that Valve now has its foot in the door of a third potential storefront, depending on how much Sony will let them get away with. It’s a brilliant ploy, and it benefits both the company and the gamers who support and love them.
This past week, however, we’ve been witness to a bit of a misstep on the part of Valve. One of the many ways they get people to purchase games that they don’t necessarily want (or have already purchased) is with bundles. They put a bunch of games together, usually smaller and indie titles, and offer them at a significant discount. Thus, last week, we have the $40 Potato Sack Bundle, a savings of 75% off of 13 games including indie hits like Super Meat Boy, Amnesia, Audiosurf and Bit.Trip.Runner plus a potato hat for Team Fortress 2 and a unique skin for use in Portal 2. On its surface the bundle represents a good value, but some of the games included are more than three years old already and have likely already been repurchased over and over again by most of the people who would be excited by a deal like this. The Potato Sack Bundle was nice, but it wasn’t the type of bundle one would rush out to purchase, especially with Portal 2 coming so soon.
There is a fine line between incentivizing your product and exploiting your customer base. I know a few people who purchased Zone of the Enders to play the Metal Gear Solid 2 demo that was packaged with it, and I know even more people who purchased Crackdown so they could get their hands on a Halo 3 multiplayer beta code. Hell, I once bought Brave Fencer Musashi so I could get an early look at Final Fantasy VIII. These were all incentives, though. Konami, Microsoft, and Square (no Enix) dangled a piece of a game months away behind a new and untested property. It was a little cheesy, but everyone who purchased those games enticed by those demos received a game that could stand on its merits alone.
I bring this up because Valve offered a similar, hidden incentive with the Potato Sack bundle. In the last few days, it has been revealed that Valve has tied the number of bundles purchased and the number of hours played to the release of Portal 2. To be specific, if we buy enough of these $40 bundles filled with games that many of us already have, and we play them all a real bunch, we’ll get the digital release of Portal 2 a scant few days early. I first heard about this because it seemed as if the internet was exploding with celebration over this revelation, from which I assume I am in the minority in my disgust.
It pleases me, however, that my small boycott was mostly unnecessary. As of right now, which is about 8 o’clock on Sunday night, Portal 2 will already be released by the time Valve meets their Potato Sack benchmarks. I wish the makers of the games included in the bundle nothing but the best, and I will continue to support Valve as they earned a deep well of good will from the gaming community as a whole. I believe that they have spent some of that good will with this experiment, and I hope that this particular failure means that I won’t have to spend $80 on an impending Bread Box Bundle in order to ensure that Half-Life 2: Episode 3 does not cease development.
On the show, I go to TempleCon. EA is in hot water, Playstation has been busy and Undead Labs is having a very good week.
NEED TO KNOW **News** Sony PSP2: Sony announced technical specification for their next generation portable. Dubbed the PSP2, it comes packed with features, including a 5” multi-touch OLED sreen, WiFi & 3G connectivity, dual analog sticks and a rear touchpad, front and rear cameras and built-in GPS. Sony is looking to bridge the gap between console & portable gaming.
Read the Sony Computer Entertainment press release: http://www.scei.co.jp/corporate/release/110127a_e.html
Playstation Phone: A norwegian site, DroidNYTT, got their hands on a leaked commercial which seems to confirm the Playstation Phone is real and it has a name. The latest leak reveals the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play, expected to officially be announced at the Mobile World Congress, taking play February 14-17, 2011. The commercial suggests the phone will run on the Android platform.
Watch the commercial on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MV09PRsAU2Y
Undead Labs teams up with Microsoft Games to bring their open-world zombie survival game to XBLA. Code named “Class 3,” this first look at their big picture asks gamers to put their survival skills to the test in the zombie apocolypse. Incorporating a “choose your own adventure” aspect, the content is influenced by the decisions and actions of the players as they determine where to find shelter, how to obtain resources and how to face off against the zombie hordes. The most interesting part of this game development is that Class 3 is the first part of what will become a bigger game, code-named “Class 4.” The development team is so committed to creating a fully functioning and immersive game, they are trying something new by focusing on the game-play aspects to really nail them down, before moving on to expand the world and the multitude of options that will be available in the completed “Class 4.”
Read more at Undead Labs: http://undeadlabs.com/2011/02/news/undead-labs-and-microsoft-game-studios-to-create-zombie-survival-franchise-on-xbox-360/
Common Sense Media seeks sanctions against EA: At the heart of the Dead Space 2 marketing campaign is a commercial boasting “Your mom hates Dead Space 2,” showing reactions from a group of mothers being shown graphic footage from the new game. The shock advertising is meant to appeal to rebellious young gamers. Dead Space 2 has been rated for players age 17 and up. The accusation here is not the campaign itself is offensive, rather that the campaign works too well, enticing gamers under 17 to play. The ESRB has already denied the request, reminding Common Sense Media it cannot be proved the commercial targets gamers of a specific age. Further, the ESRB was consulted and approved the commercial prior to its airing.
Read more from the LA Times coverage: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/02/your-mom-hates-dead-space-2-advert-stirring-controversy.html
**Games released last week include: Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 (PS3, Xbox 360)
Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops (PC)
**Games being released this week include: Mario Sports Mix (Wii)
Sniper: Ghost Warrior (PS3)
Hyperdimension Neptunia (PS3)
Trinity: Sould of Zill O’ll Zero (PS3)
Fate of The World (PC)
Two Worlds II (PC)
EverQuest II: Destiny of Velious (PC)
Naruto Shippuden: Shinobi Rumble (Nintendo DS)
Test Drive Unlimited 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
You Don’t Know Jack (Nintendo DS, PS3, Xbox 360)
Body & Brain Connection (Xbox 360 w/Kinect)
**On the Calendar, check out these Upcoming Events:
Thanks to Sterling for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Magnatune profile page to learn more about him and discover more of his music. http://magnatune.com/artists/sterling
Good To Be A Gamer is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Opinions expressed on Good To Be A Gamer are those of the host and/or guests and do not necessarily represent those of Good To Be A Geek.
The 2010 Spike Video Game Awards opened with a musical number to introduce Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), this year’s host. When Harris took the stage, he quickly dispatched the tuxedo wearing chorus boys with his “firearms.”
Gorgeous graphics synchronized to music, creating an immersive first-person shooter is one way to begin a keynote. Fans of Ultimate Rez were thrilled to see Tetsuya Mizuguchi, who started the keynote with a game-play demo of Child of Eden showing off its Kinect capability to open the show. In addition to the motion controller compatibility, Child of Eden can be played with standard controllers. Get lost in the psychedelic action when the game is released on PS3 and Xbox 360 on March 30, 2011.
Actor and television host, Joel McHale took control to present a section of the keynote dubbed “Games you can Feel.” Keeping the up momentum, Vincent Pontbriand, Producer, and Patrick Plourde, Game Director brought us Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The newest in the popular franchise expands on Ezio Auditore’s role as an assassin in rennaisance Rome. This time, he is hunted by the Templars, shifting the focus of the game to offensive attacks, including horse fighting. As with the previous games, the graphics and scope of the environment is expansive. The online multi-player demo appears intriguing and impressive, calling on other assassins to complete missions. Don the assassin’s cloak again November 16, 2010 on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
Courtesy of Ubisoft
Joining Joel McHale, Shaun White appeared to show off his newest game, Shaun White Skateboarding. Nick Harper, Creative Director and Alexia Jolis-Desautels, Game Designer were also on hand to expound on the game and present a game-play demo. One of the key elements of the game is Transformation. Transformation includes shaping aspects which allow the player to influence the environment and create new skate opportunities on the fly. The new elements give each player an individual game experience.
If you are anything like me, the one thing missing from the motion controller hulabaloo is laser tag. Ubisoft is looking to fill that void with Battle Tag. Gaël Seydoux (Producer) & a group of players ran through the E3 audience to demo the game-play to show off this real life shooter you can play at home. The game is a combination of Laser Tag and a Shooter that will allow for co-op play for up to 4 players on each team. Battle Tag also allows players to track their game results on their home computer. Battle Tag will ship in late 2010 with 2 guns, 1 UbiConnect, 4 tags & 2 harnesses.
Courtesy of Ubisoft
Gaming is not all about the frantic energy of shooters, hack and slash games or platformers. These days developers are working hard to get us healthy. Enter Innergy, brought to us by New Concept Directory, Tommy François. Attach the finger sensor peripheral, which can connect to any computer anywhere. Focus on the graphics as Innergy helps you to focus on your breathing to achieve much needed relaxation. Feel the calm when Innergy is released for PC in 2011.
Keeping the focus on getting gamers active, Felicia Williams, International Brand Manager, and Michael George, Fitness Expert & Personal Trainer, introduced Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, being release exclusively on Xbox 360 for Kinect. Combining sports games like skiing, soccer & football, as well as, personal training, fitness classes or fun gym activities, plus online connectivity. Gamers can send activity challenges to connected friends and follow their stats and compare results with their friends. Interconnected with social networking so you can share your experiences with Facebook friends. June 10, 2010
Electronic Arts (EA) has long been one of the most popular and respected game publishers in the industry. With games to appeal to players of all genres, I am excited to see what we can expect from the company in the near future. Announcing 10 upcoming titles and a loyalty rewards club, EA has a bit of something to appeal to players of all genres.
The keynote opened strong with a frantic chase scene from the upcoming release, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Craig Sullivan, Creative Director at Criterion Games appeared to highlight the latest game from the popular franchise. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit gives players the option to play as a career driver or a police officer in high speed car chases. Criterion Games has set out to push the franchise beyond the 2-player experience by incorporating online connectivity. Sullivan expounded on their mission, “we are setting out to re-imagine Need for Speed in a Criterion Games style for a connected generation.” The Autolog component to the racer allows players for compete and compare their results with connected friends. Watch the Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit trailer below and get ready to play “cops and robbers” on PC, PS3, Xbox 360 or Wii beginning November 16, 2010.
Courtesy of Criterion Games
John Riccitiello, CEO of EA, took the stage to announce the remaining 9 games set for the coming year, starting with Dead Space 2. Steve Papoutsis, Executive Producer at Visceral Games, boasted the unmitigated success of the Dead Space franchise with the original game, comic series, animated feature and Dead Space: Extraction. Followed by Rich Briggs, Producer on Dead Space 2, who took the stage to show off some gameplay. Dead Space 2 is set to bring back all the gruesome violence and tension-filled, creepy atmosphere that helped the original game capture the horror/thriller game genre. Battle the necromorphs on PC, PS3 or Xbox 360 on January 25, 2011.
Courtesy of Visceral Games
In some of the most anticipated news, EA Los Angeles and DICE teamed up for Medal of Honor. Sean Decker, General Manager of EA LA, presented the first person shooter which takes place in Afghanistan and provides a single-player experience, as well as online multiplayer gameplay. The muti-player game includes Team Assault mode, a death match mode where teams go head-to-head attempting be the first team to earn a set number of points. To show just how impressive the multiplayer game is, EA staged a live 24-person demo. Become a Tier 1 Operator when Medal of Honor launches on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 12, 2010. Pre-order the game now to gain access to the online multiplayer beta which goes live June 21, 2010.
Courtesy of EA
Katrina Strafford, Senior Director Online at EA, provided a break in the game announcements by presenting the Gun Club. Gun Club is a rewards program for loyal EA gamers and provides early access to news, events and beta gameplay, as well as weapon unlocks and special features. The first incentive is for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 VIPs who pre-order Medal of Honor. They will be rewarded with beta access to Medal of Honor beginning June 17, 2010.
Courtesy of EA
EA also likes sports to prove it, they are releasing EA Sports MMA. A game in development for two years that brings authentic details from the look of the athletes to their individual fighting styles. EA Sports MMA also works in the international aspects of the sport with different training facilities and cages, fighting styles and rules. Peter Moore, President of EA, touched on the integration of online connectivity stating, “where, as always, we’re providing deep innovation for the core, we’re also on new platforms with new experiences and we’re infusing online aggressively into everything that we do.” The EA Sports Live Broadcast functionality of EA Sports MMA is a perfect example of how online community is factoring into game-play. With EA Sports Live Broadcast, gamers create their own fighters and hype videos. The online community selects the fighters they want to see battle it out. The selected fighters meet in the cage, while the match is broadcast live online, via console and internet, with live commentary. Get ready to square off on PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 19, 2010.
Courtesy of EA
Looking to capitalize on the motion controller buzz, Andrew Wilson, Head of Development, took the stage to introduce EA SPORTS Active 2. Making the most of online functionality, wireless and biometrics with an included heart monitor, more than 70 exercises and the ability to track progress online, EA is doing their best to help keep gamers active. EA SPORTS Active 2 will launch November 16, 2010 on PS3, Wii and Xbox 360, with Kinect compatibility.
Courtesy of EA
Keeping with sports, Peter Moore was joined by Hall of Famer, Joe Montana to talk Madden NFL 11. Tying Joe Montana’s insight into the complexities of calling plays with the new features in Madden NFL 11, EA’s mission with this installment of the much beloved franchise was to create a game that was “Simpler. Quicker. Deeper.” To that end, EA created a game that cut the time to play a full game in half and gives gamers more control in calling and changing plays. They also included 3-on-3 co-op gameplay. Get in the huddle on PS2, PS3, PSP, Xbox 360 and Wii on August 10, 2010.
Courtesy of EA
This year Sims get free will. Rob Humble, Executive VP at EA Play Label introduced us to a wold of endless possibilities with Sims 3. Building on the fully immersive game, EA is taking it further with the ability to customize just about everything, from the look and personality traits of the Sims themselves to the design of their dream home. Sims 3 is available now for PC and will be available for Nintendo DS, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360 this fall.
Courtesy of EA
In a world on the brink of anihilation, you are the ultimate supersoldier struggling to save New York City from an alien invasion in Crysis 2. Cevat Yerli, Founder, CEO & President of Crytek brought an action-packed demo and announced the Holiday 2010 release on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, including 3D versions.
Courtesy of Crytek
If you are looking for an over-the-top shooter, People Can Fly, part of Epic Games, would like to introduce Bulletstorm. A first-person shooter where players are rewarded for excessively violent and creative kills. Adrian Chmielarz, Creative Director at People Can Fly, Cliff Bleszinski, Design Director at Epic Games and Tanya Jessen, Producer at Epic Games presented a live demo that highlighted extravagant explosions, blood and foul language. This game is all about the havoc you can wreak. Why not earn points for the carnage you inflict? Look for Bulletstorm to blow up on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on February 22, 2011.
Courtesy of People Can Fly & Epic Games
Finally, to close out the keynote, Mary Bihr of Lucas Arts and Greg Zeschuk of BioWare brought the news every Star Wars fanboy (and girl) has been waiting for . . . a look at Star Wars: The Old Republic. The much anticipated massively multiplayer online game (MMO) touched most of the audience with a poignant and inspiring cinematic trailer titled “Hope”. In addition to the interactive game-play, allowing players to engage in player versus player battle using lightsabers and the power of The Force, each player will get their own starship. The starship will act as a home base, where players can interact with their companion characters and other players, or plan their next adventure. Watch the “Hope” trailer below and feel The Force.
Courtesy of BioWare
EA always promises innovation. With 10 upcoming releases, including games with 3D and motion control integration, they have lived up to expectation for the coming year. Integrating online connectivity and games to appeal to every kind of gamer is sure to entice more people to spark up their PCs and consoles. I’ll see you in game.
As I waited patiently in the queue line for the NVIDIA Presents panel at PAX East 2010, staff came around to pass out 3D glasses. If nothing else, I knew this panel would be interesting. Drew Henry, GeForce General Manager at NVIDIA, took the stage to introduce the newest GPU series for PC gaming. The GeForce GTX 400 series graphics cards offer 3D Vision to provide a fully immersive gaming, photo and film experience. The improved technology and processing power provides smooth, realistic effects and the interactive ray tracing really amps up the photo-realism.
The crowning achievement in the GTX 400 series is the GTX 480, which boasts as many transistors as 4 Intel Quad-core i7 processors and 2x the performance of the previous GTX 200 series graphics cards. Game releases that will be optimized for 3D Vision include Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Need for Speed Shift, Metro 2033, Mafia 2 and Just Cause 2. The folks at NVIDIA are proud of this latest improvement and are happy to make gaming for the PC more enjoyable for gamers who like to blow things up. With such a large presence at PAX East, they coined this year’s motto: CRANK THAT S#!T UP!
To prove they are more than hype, NVIDIA shared game demos for Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Metro 2033 and Need for Speed, as well as World of Warcraft, to show off the 3D Vision technology. The GPUs will also ship with two built-in games to allow consumers to see what the graphics processor is capable of. Supersonic Sled allows players to set up and destroy a train test track. Zoom in and out of the landscape; create obstacles or shoot things with chickens; players can even view the track construct in a blueprint mode. Also shipping with the GPU is Design Garage, which allows players to create custom cars. Design Garage will show off the astounding detail and accuracy the GTX 400 series cards provide. The GeForce GTX 400 series GPUs will be available for purchase in mid-April 2010. Visit the NVIDIA website for more information about the GeForce GTX 400 series GPU.
Last weekend I was one of the lucky 50,000+ gamers to attend the first PAX East event. Held at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts, PAX East created a community, no, a home for like-minded geeks who like to play games. PAX East is a gaming convention, so the biggest draw was the game-play.
The 1-1/2 hour line to play the demo, clearly made Red Dead Redemption the most anticipated game of PAX East. The third person western shooter from Rockstar Games looks to redeem the disappointment players felt with Red Dead Revolver. Immediately players will be drawn in by complete and expansive landscapes. The beautiful landscapes come fully inhabited with wildlife such as coyotes, rabbits, horses and bears, all of which you can hunt, but be warned, they can hunt you too. One of the new features is Deadeye, letting the player slow time and mark targets to improve accuracy and create adrenaline-pumping shoot-outs. Look for Red Dead Redemption to be released May 18, 2010 for Xbox 360 and PS3.
Another game with a large presence was Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands from Ubisoft. I know what you are thinking . . . another video game/film tie-in. No need for concern, the game has no ties to the upcoming movie release. The third person adventure is reminiscent of the originalPrince of Persia game and combines aspects from original game players will appreciate, such as acrobatics and classic wall-run movement, with a more powerful gaming engine and the ability to control nature for some interesting game-play. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is scheduled for release May 18, 2010 on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.
Perhaps war games are more your speed. Atomic Games has you in mind. With roots in creating military simulations, the company looks to put you into the action with Breach. A first person, multi-player shooter where you play as an elite member of a CIA field team – the kind the government sends in when no one can know. This game uses real world tactics. One of the most exciting features is that just about anything you can use for cover in the game, you can destroy. Shoot through brick to create the perfect sniper position, punch through ceilings to get the drop on enemies, Breach will have you looking at FPS action in a whole new way. Breach will be available exclusively for download on Xbox Live Arcade beginning July 1, 2010.
One of the things the Penny Arcade crew feels is important is giving independent game developers a voice. One way they help is by sponsoring the Indie Showcase. Indie game developers get space on the exhibit floor to demo their games as a way to get their games in your hands. With enough people talking about their games, the hope is the interest and the demand will grow.
One such game is Comic Jumper: The Adventures of Captain Smiley from Twisted Pixels. Have you ever wanted to play the superhero in a comic book? Here’s your chance. Accompanied by your snarky costume and your lovely sidekick, you will fight and shoot villains as they threaten the peace of your city. Wreak havoc on hordes of ladies as you make your way to face off against your arch-nemesis, Brad. Comic Jumper brings back a bit of nostalgia, is funny and fun to play.
Shank is another indie game that everyone, including myself, is excited for. Developed by Klei Entertainment, this is a no-holds barred, 2D, side-scrolling bloodbath. Parents, I do not recommend this game for children. If you like a hack-and-slash game, this is for you. There is not a whole lot of information out there about the lead character, but here is what you need to know. He has a score to settle, there are a lot of guys he has to kill and he is very good at killing. As far as the weaponry goes, he has pistols, a chainsaw and knives. Truly, you do not need any more, you can create more than enough damage to quench your blood thirst. The game-play is gory and fantastic. The art is simple, yet gorgeous. Shank proves you do not need over the top graphics to make a good game. Unfortunately, I did not get a released date, but keep your eyes out for Shank to be released for Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and PC.
There were, of course, many more games that graced the exhibit hall. This article is only a quick overview of the games I got to experience hands-on. One thing is sure, no matter what kind of gamer you are, there is a game being developed for you. So far, 2010 has me excited to spark up my console and upgrade my gaming PC.