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Articles by TexCub

March 12, 2008

True Guitar Hero Sets Guinness World Record

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There are many Guitar Hero players that like to think they are better than the average gamer (myself included), but deep down even I know there will always be someone younger, better and faster to come along and put us in our place. Unless you're Chris Chike of Rochester, Minnesota, that is.

Chris (better known as imchris4life to many) let his unrivaled performance speak for itself in New York City this week at the Guinness Book of World Records sponsored gaming event. Chris ripped through DragonForce's "Through the Fire and Flames" with 97% accuracy to achieve an unbelievable score of 840,647 points and earn the coveted "Highest Score for a Single Song on Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock" world record.

While I'm truly impressed with Chris' skills, I can't help but wonder... Why doesn't DragonForce guitarists Herman Li and Sam Totman get the same credit? I mean, they play that shit for reals.

Watch Herman Li and Sam Totman in DragonForce's video for "Through the Fire and Flames" here. While the magic begins instantly, jump to 3:20 for the duel.

Watch Chris' Record Setting Performance Video here.

[via: TeamXbox]


March 11, 2008

User-Created Music Eyed For Rock Band

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I can't help but admire a developer with a vision, or more specifically, a VP of product development with a vision. Greg LoPiccolo of Harmonix is just that. His vision for the future of Rock Band is bigger than even I had previously thought was possible.

LoPiccolo recently went on record with GamesIndustry.biz in regards to the direction in which he would like to see Rock Band grow. While I have heard people suggest additional instruments (LoPiccolo addresses the oft requested keyboard peripheral), bringing the concept of user-generated content to the platform is not something had not crossed my mind.

"We would like to make it possible for people to introduce their own music into the Rock Band ecosystem, which is a pretty complicated topic. We'd love to have it be a vehicle for people to be able to express themselves in terms of creating their own music and bringing it to a wider audience."

Admittedly, there are many technical obstacles to overcome in order to allow Rock Band users the opportunity to create and share their own tracks (think intellectual property issues) but LoPiccolo sees nothing but future opportunities for you and your band mates.

Peruse GamesIndustry's full interview, including LoPiccolo's thoughts on adding a keyboard, via the link below.

LoPiccolo: We Want User-Created Music In Rock Band [GamesIndustry.biz]
[via: QJ.net]

March 10, 2008

New Releases For The Week Of 3/10/08

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I'm keeping this week's new releases short and sweet. Hot titles are Condemned 2: Bloodshot, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates and Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Does anything tickle your fancy? Condemned 2 is too intense for me, so you may see me with my nose to the DS, working through the Crystal Chronicles.

Here are your new releases for this second week in March:

Buzz! Junior: RoboJam (PS2)
Buzz! The Hollywood Quiz (PS2)
Condemned 2: Bloodshot (360, PS3)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates (DS)
FlatOut: Head On (PSP)
House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return (Wii)
Insecticide (DS)
Lost Empire: Immortals (PC)
Nanostray 2 (DS)
Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (360, PS2, PS3, PSP)
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (PS2)
Sam & Max Episode 204: Chariots of the Dogs (PC)
Seven Kingdoms: Conquest (PC)
Sudden Strike 3: Arms for Victory (PC)
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)
Wild ARMs XF (PSP)
Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 (DS)
World Championship Cards (PSP)


March 9, 2008

Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal -- WTF?

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It's not often that a game is so awful that I feel I have to warn people about it, but sadly, Warner Brothers Games' Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal necessitates just that. This game is so bad that I beg of you -- don't buy it, don't rent it, don't even borrow it.

After being unimpressed by the demo available on Xbox Live Marketplace, I really didn't expect to pick it up. But seeing as how I'm a total sucker for a cute bear, when my better half showed some interest in it while playing the demo with me, I thought to myself, "Well, it might be a fun co-op experience and easy gamerscore." Oh, how wrong I was.

I guess with several genuinely fun co-op experiences under my belt recently, I have just begun to take for granted that "co-op" is equal to "fun with a buddy." Lego Star Wars is a good example of cooperative play done correctly. The same goes for Gears of War, Crackdown, The Simpson's Game, and even Eternal Sonata. So it was with blind optimism that I traded for Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal on Goozex, expecting to spend a few casual afternoons and evenings plodding through story mode with a partner. Instead, we saw the "if it's not fun, stop playing" rule enacted faster than ever.

I don't understand why it's 2008 and some developers don't seem to grasp the fact that having to manually control the camera completely blows ass tarts. Taking into consideration the level designs found in this abomination of a gaming experience -- lots of turning, exploring, a lack of melee targeting -- the game quickly devolves into a ever-spinning experiment in motion sickness. Add a second player and the problem only worsens. When you're spending more than half of your play time simply trying to position the camera so you can see what's going on, the fun stops (if we had any to begin with). If you really can't set up a decent camera angle, at least design the levels to be more linear so that a player can primarily move forward and can concentrate on the "action" rather than just struggling to see what's going on.

So, while I might have written a full review of Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal, this is all you're getting. Why? I think I mentioned my long standing rule before: If it stops being fun, quit playing. That's exactly why we didn't even make it twenty minutes into the game. So heed my warning, ladies and gents, avoid Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal at all costs. Avoid it at retail, avoid it at rental, avoid it at the bargain bin. Your sanity will thank me.

The Seven Circles Of (Nintendo's) Hell

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I don't think there is any argument against the idea that games are meant to be fun and enjoyable. There may be some argument, however, over what makes a game fun. Should it be as relaxing as taking your dog for a walk on a breezy spring day? Or should it be challenging, enough so that when you've finished you feel a true sense of accomplishment? I know that more often than not, I fall into the latter category. I have just enough of an inferiority complex that I get off knowing that I can do something someone else can't. But what happens when I can't get through Rock Band's last expert song? How do I react when Persona of Lost Odyssey is ripping my crew apart for the fifth time in a row? It gets ugly. So ugly that my partner enforces the "if it's not fun anymore, turn it off," rule and I take an involuntary break.

This is precisely why I'm treating CVG's list of the twenty-one hardest Nintendo games as a list to avoid for the most part. If you're a gamer whose blood boils with frustration, I suggest you follow my lead. On the other hand, if you're a glutton for punishment or just an obsessive completionist, print this off as your checklist and get to work.

I've highlighted four games here that I've played enough to be familiar with -- familiar enough to know that any gamer who has conquered these titles receives complete respect, and deservedly so.

  • Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz -- Sega's instantly recognizable monkey-in-a-ball labyrinth-styled game will leave you going -- wait for it -- bananas.
  • Kuru Kuru Kururin -- A GBA import that involves carefully navigating a twirling baton through mazes and hazards. You'd think I'd have handling sticks down by this point in my life, but it wasn't so.
  • Trauma Center: Under the Knife -- A DS launch title that became so difficult by mid-game that even slowing down time would not prevent my patients from bleeding out. Even with two hands.
  • Super Mario Bros. 2: The Lost Levels -- I thought after all of my years platforming, this would be a cinch. To this day, it's the only Mario game I have been unable to finish, except for Galaxy, which I'm still working on.

Head on over to CVG for their complete list of the hardest-of-the-hard Nintendo titles. Just beware -- those who venture into the bowels of this hell may never return (with unsmashed controllers).

The 21 Hardest Nintendo Games Ever [CVG]
[via: GoNintendo]


Wii Contamination Preventing Some Brawls

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The years of waiting have finally come to an end. Super Smash Bros. Brawl is now available for your frenetic fighting pleasure. With many stores holding midnight launches last night, I have no doubt that many of those gamers spent their entire night awake, their eyes glued to their televisions with wavebird controllers in hand. That is, unless you were one of an unlucky few who experienced difficulties getting your Wii to read your SSBB disc.

From Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. Brawl support page:

Super Smash Bros. Brawl utilizes a double-layer disc which has a large memory capacity. A very small percentage of Wii consoles may have trouble consistently reading data off this large capacity disc if there is some contamination on the lens of the disc drive. Nintendo has specialized cleaning equipment that can resolve this problem. (Please do NOT attempt to clean the lens yourself, as you may damage the system.)

I hope that none of you are affected by this hiccup. I have to say, discovering this problem after attending a midnight launch must be pretty disheartening. We don't have anyway of knowing how many people will be affected or exactly how the contamination could have happened. If you are one of the unfortunate people affected, be sure to let us know before heading over to Nintendo's support page to arrange for your Wii's return trip to Nintendo for repairs. If you're not affected, how much are you loving Brawl right now?

Nintendo SSBB Repair Form
[Nintendo]
[via: QJ.net]

March 8, 2008

Gaming Tats Have Jumped The Shark

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Okay, I'm calling it. Gaming tattoos have officially jumped the shark.

I'm no stranger to body art and have admired many gaming and non-gaming tattoos alike, but this is starting to get silly. Duck Hunt? Even in my wildest dreams I can't imagine justifying Duck Hunt ink. I hope, for this young lady's sake, that there is some sort of deep, symbolic meaning behind marking herself with such an odd choice. I give her credit for originality, though. I guess nostalgia can dictate a larger part of our behavior than I'd like to think. It makes me wonder if in twenty more years, people will be getting marked with Electroplankton, Katamari's Prince, or Patapon silhouettes.

This just makes me long for the tramp stamps and slag tags from the days of yesteryear.

Duck Hunt Tattoo Showcases Love For Dogs, Shooting, Mockery [WiiFanboy]

Where Do You Find The Time?

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It's been just over three weeks since Mistwalker's latest turn-based RPG, Lost Odyssey, was released here in the US. I expected to enjoy the game, but I didn't expect to love it like I do. What I didn't expect was that I would be trading such a large chunk of my life for an enthralling tale of love and loss, loyalty and betrayal. As it stands, I have invested over 60 hours of gaming into the title, with (I'm estiimating) about another 20 hours more if I want to fill out the entire 1000 points of gamerscore.

I can't remember the last time I have invested so much time into a single game. While I'm in a position to dedicate an unusually large amount of time to my gaming passion, I can't help but wonder about the average gamer. Does the average, recreational gamer have the kind of time it takes to finish lengthy titles like Lost Odyssey?

How much time are you able to allot to the bits and bytes of your interactive entertainment? With some games requiring ridiculous amounts of time to experience, it's not a big surprise that casual, pick-up and play games have flourished in recent years. I can't help but look at literally over a dozen games that have yet to be opened or even booted in my 360 and wonder if I'm ever going to find the time to give titles like Project Gotham Racing 4, Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, Assassin's Creed, and Mass Effect the time they deserve. We're not even counting the bargain-priced games I pick up on impulse -- Def Jam Icon, Project Sylpheed, Pirates of the Caribbean. Even rentals, The Club and Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors, sit in unopened envelopes from GameFly.

So, I'm curious. Realistically, how much time are you able to earmark for gaming? Do you take into consideration a games length before committing yourself to a particular title? Would you be willing to invest 60 or more hours into a single game's story or do you feel your time is better spent playing smaller, less time-intensive but more complete experiences?

Handpainting Your DS Makes Mario Fart

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We've seen numerous do-it-yourself paint jobs on a variety of Nintendo DS units over the years. Customizing your gaming platform of choice has been an easy way to express your inner artist while at the same time setting yourself apart from the millions of other DS users in a unique style that makes a statement about you, the user.

At the moment, if I'd had my druthers, I would be inclined to give my old DS a Professor Layton theme or even a throw back to Mr. Driller. Since I'm not so artistically inclined, when I did customize a DS for my bear for Christmas two years ago, I copped out and sprung for an easily removable Kansas State University vinyl skin. I could live with a lot of things adorning my DS, but I'm not so sure about this.

Flickr user, Punkfish, opted to take the road less traveled and did a bang-up job painstakingly painting an old pink DS in full Mario goodness, replete with a super mushroom, a koopa, a warp pipe, and uh... a farting Mario.

Some things just defy explanation, but make for a good laugh! Thanks to Punkfish for sharing all of his hard work with us!

Punkfish Photos [Flickr]
[via: That Girl's Site]


March 2, 2008

New Releases For The Week Of 3/03/08

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It is with a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm that I bring you this week's game releases. Why all the hubbub? Because this week will see the release of Bully: Scholarship Edition to the Wii and Xbox 360, bringing along with it the very first GLBT-oriented achievement! You, too, can earn the Over The Rainbow achievement by doing what comes naturally to you (if you're a gay fella, that is) -- kissing boys!

Now, if you're not interested in lip-locking with the guys, ladies -- and I know there are many of you, too -- I think you will still be able to find something that catches your eye this week. This week will see long-awaited release of God of War: Chains of Olympus to PSPs everywhere, as well as Silent Hill Origins to PS2s. Sports fans will be cup-deep in baseball this week with both MLB 08: The Show and Major League Baseball 2K8 hitting shelves, too. Alternately, if you just aren't into those major releases, you can live out your dreams as a 'tween figure skater in Imagine Figure Skater or test your ninja-like reflexes in the aptly titled Ninja Reflex.

Anno 1701: Dawn of Discovery (DS)
Army of Two (360, PS3)
Bully: Scholarship Edition (360, Wii)
Chicken Hunter (DS)
Eco Creatures: Save the Forest (DS)
Galactic Command - Echo Squad (PC)
God of War: Chains of Olympus (PSP)
Imagine Figure Skater (DS)
Imperium Romanum (PC)
Legends of Norrath: Inquisitor (PC)
Let's Ride: Friends Forever (DS)
MLB 08: The Show (PS2, PS3, PSP)
Major League Baseball 2K8 (360, PS2, PS3, Wii)
Mysterious Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer (DS)
Mysteryville 2 (PC)
Ninja Reflex (DS, Wii)
Petz Bunnyz (DS)
Rocketmen: Axis of Evil (360)
Silent Hill: Origins (PS2)
Stranger (PC)
Tom Clancy's Chronicles (PC)
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Soulstorm (PC)

Guinness Hosting London Cosplay World Record Attempt

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Listen up, all of our UK readers! If you're going to be in London this March 18th, break out that old cosplay trunk and see what you can dig up and dust off for your chance at making history. Nerdy history, but history nonetheless.

Guinness World Record's Gamers Edition is organizing an attempt to set the record for the "largest gathering of games characters." Anyone who is willing to dress up as one of their beloved franchise characters should plan on spending part of their March 18th along the Millennium Bridge with hundreds (thousands?) of your game loving brethren. I realize this isn't for a couple of more weeks, but I know that it may take you a few days to get your fetish Birdo costume cleaned from the last festive get-together to which you wore it.

One more note, if you plan on attending, PLEASE REGISTER with Guinness first and don't forget to take along your camera to snap a few pics for all of us GayGamers who aren't able to attend!

Dress Up And Break A Record [Guardian Unlimited Gamesblog]

Good News, Everyone! Futurama Game Returns As DVD Extra

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As all of my Xbox Live buddies may be aware, I'm huge fan of Futurama. So it is with great pleasure I bring you this little tidbit of Futurama and gaming goodness. The Futurama game (or rather the half-hour of cut scene material) will be making an encore appearance on the second upcoming DVD release, Futurama - The Beast with a Billion Backs, tentatively scheduled for a June 24th release.

Continue reading past the break for more details, as well as a nice embedded Futurama video.

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