Video Game Blog

Blogs are the thing to do on the net.  While I have done a similar thing in my newsletters for years, I thought I would take a shot at a few blogs on this site.  I will start off with one that is strictly about video games and if things go well, I may try one on comics and possibly just my day to day thoughts.  So check back here and see what the latest is I am writing about.

This blog will deal with all video games from classic to modern to arcades and pinball.  Just whatever I am thinking about at the time.  If you see something you want to comment on, feel free to email me.  I will try to respond but I am not the fastest in responding.  Enjoy!

If you enjoy Tom's writing, check out these are sections of the website:

Video Game Blogs from March - April 2005
Video Game Blogs from May - June 2005
Video Game Blogs from July - August 2005
Video Game Blogs from September - October 2005
Video Game Blogs from November - December 2005
Video Game Blogs from January - June 2006
Retrogaming Times - The Classic Video Game Newsletter.
Bit Age Times - Video Game Newsletter for the Second Generation.
Just Newsprint - The Comic Newsletter for Comic Readers.
Arcade After Dark - My other website that features video game comic strips.
KZ Comics - My tribute site to the comic book company I founded and ran in the 1980's.



08/26/2007
I have been playing some Pacland for a comic strip I am working for on my other site, Arcade After Dark.  I wonder when they decided to add legs to Pac-Man?  I guess it may be the cartoon show or it could be this game.  But I think it is pretty funny that all of a sudden he grew legs and arms.  That should have made Q*Bert jealous.

Has Big Boy ever starred in a video game?  Talk about a natural for a video game, Big Boy along with Dolly and his dog, whatever its name was, would make for a fun giveaway game in the spirit of the Burger King games.  Not sure how popular Big Boys is anymore.  I think his comic finally was cancelled.

08/24/2007
I know it would take a ton of work, but I ain't doing it so who cares.  I want a Marvel game that has pretty much every super hero and super villain in it.  You could choose any character and battle any other character.  One that has a true version of their powers and strength level.  And while I am asking for the sun and moon, let's put in where you can make up any super group and battle any other group.  That would be awesome beyond words.  I know it is a pipe dream of epic proportions, but without dreams what do we have?  Oh yeah, reality. 

08/20/2007
Been awhile since I had a really good laugh from reading emails.  Some person offered to do banner exchanges with me.  He was offering three banners on his site for one on my site.  While banner exchanges have all but gone away, what makes this funny is the guy's sites were porn sites.  I cannot think of a more repulsive site to exchange with.  That is worse than the gambling sites that email me weekly.  Needless to say, I did not take him up on the offer.  I marked that email as spam and erased it.

So has anyone done any bobbleheads of video game characters yet?  I don't mean those giveaways of Mario and Starfox, but actual ones for sale, especially classic characters.  I would love to get a Pac-Man or Q*Bert Bobble Head (not sure how you would do Q*Bert as his body and head are sorta connected).

If you read this, you probably saw how I talked about a Nintendo Amusement Park.  Well, I decided to put some more thought into it and did up an article about it along with some of the Geauga Lake rides that could be renamed and rethemed.  Look for it to appear in the next issue of Retrogaming Times Monthly.

08/13/2007
I decided to join the 21st century.  After a decade of using a CRT monitor, I finally bought an LCD one.  Actually it was supposed to be a Christmas gift that was a little late.  Anyway, picked up a nice 19 inch monitor to replace my 15 inch one.  So much nicer than my old monitor.  Now I can look at incredibly old games on a modern monitor.

Just finishing watching the movie Apocalypto and must say I was impressed.  It had one of the best chase scenes in a movie, even if it was on foot.  I kept thinking how caught up I got into this chase scene and wondered why a video game cannot capture that same feeling.  What is it about video games that keep you from becoming truly immersed.  I know of games that are captivating, but I have yet to play a game that completely immerses me like a movie can.  What would it take for a video game to do this?  VR helmet?  Surround sound?  The one thing I think is missing is the ability to take a game where you can keep playing it over and over until you beat it and get that feeling of excitement and terror that movies can convey.  Not sure how you could do it without doing something insane.  It is hard to get too caught up when you know you have another chance.


08/02/2007
Maybe my message is getting across.  I have seen a drop in the emails for lame sites and an increase in ones for cool sites.  Here is one that I received today that I find enjoyable and you may enjoy as well.  It is for a top ten list of video game t-shirts.  I have never seen these for sale, but I wouldn't mind owning a few (especially the Pac-man one and the Nintendo family tree).
http://blog.jjgames.com/2007/08/top-ten-video-game-t-shirts.html

Speaking of video game t-shirts, I get emails from people asking where to find them.  A quick google search will yield you all kinds of sites.  But if you want to just drive over and pick some up, a good place to check is Target.  I have found numerous video game t-shirts there including one that shows a NES controller and says "Gamer", another one with a screen of Donkey Kong and a couple of cool Pac-Man shirts.  They change them often, so you need to check back every few months.  And they are usually pretty inexpensive. 


07/30/2007
Like the geese flying south signals the coming of winter, video games also have their own signal.  It is called the increase in triple A titles being released.  After a thin summer, there are a slew of big hits coming in August, a sure sign of the coming holidays.  Look at this list of coming games - Lair, Bioshock, Tiger Woods, Metroid 3, Blue Dragon and of course Madden.  That is some big time games coming in August.  And it will be nothing compared to September.  Time to blow those paychecks.

I saw how the new Stranglehold game will also have a John Woo movie, Hard Boiled on the same disc.  Now that is a cool bonus and one that I would like to see them do more often.  Sure beats an interview with the designers.

There is a game coming based on the movie, High School Musical.  I am afraid to find out what the gameplay is like.  Talk about the ultimate gag gift for a friend.  Well, unless your friend is a big fan of the movie.  Finding that out could be very awkward.

Why is it that I get more emails when I talk about something non video game.  I have a rant about the french fries at the Great Steak and Potato company and I get twice as many emails?  And it wasn't about that company.  People were sending in their disappointment with just about every fast food company.  I seem to have hit a chord.  Maybe I should talk about fast food more.  Naw, that would be boring.


07/27/2007
I saw where the cast for the Watchmen movie has been finalized.  Anyone who is a comic book fan knows of the Watchmen.  It is Alan Moore's greatest book (and that is saying something from a man who wrote many of the best comic stories of all-time).  One must wonder that if the movie is going into production, will the video game be far behind?  While I feel that the comic book could make a cool video game, it would have to be done by someone who really cares for the story.  That would pretty much eliminate Electronic Arts, who I can see ruining it.  Activision could do a good job, but I am skeptical.  It would have to be a small company that really wants to be true to the original story.  But I don't hold my breath.

Beowulf is being turned into a movie and a video game.  Wonder how many people have actually read the original story?  I did years ago and it was good.  But then I went through a phase when I was reading all the classics from Homer's Odyssey to Dante's Inferno to Melville's Moby Dick.  Wait a second....That could be a good idea for a video game.  Instead of trying to turn one book into a video game, why not take scenes from many books and make a video game out of it.  You could become some person who could jump in and relive the great moments of literature.  One chapter of the game would have you battling Moby Dick, the great white whale.  Another would have you trying to escape from the half human/half beast men of the Island of Doctor Moreau.  Then you would be battling the Cyclops in the Odyssey and then off to running from the Headless Horsemen in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  That could be a real cool game because it would be a variety of stuff, so you would not just be relying on the material of one story.

Manhunt 2 has received an AO rating (for anyone who doesn't know, that stands for Adults Only).  The problem with this is that Sony and Nintendo has said they would not allow a game with an AO rating on their systems.  And I doubt that Walmart, Best Buy and Target would sell it.  So it looks like Take Two is going to have to redo parts of the game.  As much as I am against censorship in video games, I think someone needs to put that company in its place.  They try to push the envelope too much and the rest of the industry suffers for it.

For my non-video game rant, I must say how one of my guilty pleasures has been decimated.  I used to like to stop at a shopping mall to get some fresh cut french fries from the Great Steak and Potato Company.  I know they are bad for me, but they always tasted so good.  But I went there yesterday and the fries have changed.  Gone are the fresh cut fries with the skins still on them.  They were replaced by some mediocre fries that I could have bought at a grocery store and made at home.  I do not know if it is just this one location or all of them.  The sign still showed the good fries as does the website.  If it is true, then it will be the end of another of my favorites.  It will join the Rallyburger which has shrunk in size considerably as well as the Arby's Super which is anything but. 

I wonder if there are any charts anywhere that show if the new higher prices of video games has affected the sales.  I know people talked about how the $59.99 price would make less people buy video games, but has it really happened?  Or have the sales been as good or better than before?  And if the sales have remained good, does that mean we will see another increase in the near future?  What is the breaking point as far as price goes? 

07/24/2007
After reading Leonard Herman's descriptive book on the video game industry called Phoenix: The Fall and Rise of Video Games and the Steven Kent book, The First Quarter: The 25 Year History of Video Games, that I read all the books on video games.  Well, an email later and I find out there is another book about the industry.  This one is done by Brett Weiss called Classic Home Video Games.  The book sounds pretty cool and now I have something to put on my Christmas wish list that is not a DVD.  If you are interested in checking out more about this book as well as reading a good video game blog that is updated more often than this one (then which ones aren't?).  Here is the address for you to check it out: http://brettweisswords.blogspot.com/

Time to hype another site.  I know that I tell you how I just delete most of the emails I get from sites.  Well, if you send me an interesting one like these, then I will put it here.  And here is another interesting one.  Instead of explaining it, I will just put the email here for you to read. 

"Do you feel like your console is a floatation device saving you from the realities of the world? If so, this is the contest for you…
 
Tired of the Xbox, Playstation 3 and Wii, imagine the next break-through game console!  The one that will be so great that it will render all your current systems obsolete!!!

The producers of "Helmet" a Scottish play premiering at the NY Fringe Festival want to take a peek at those dreams…

Simply email your answers (and more) to the following three questions to helmetcontest@gmail.com

1) What is special about your dream – just around the corner – console?

2) What specs & features would it have?

3) What is it's name?

 
There is no fee for entering the contest, and you can enter as many times as you like.

The top 3 ideas submitted will be displayed at www.helmet-wannaplay.com for you to check out.

The winner will be announced on August 1st at www.helmet-wannaplay.com

The winner will receive a $100 gift certificate for Game Stop.

The winning idea will be included in the American Premiere of the play HELMET by acclaimed Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell at this summer's New York International Fringe Festival."

I know the main prize is not that big, but still the thought that your idea gets incorporated in a play is pretty cool.  So if you are feeling creative, then go for it.

Speaking of creative, I remember one of the game compilations for the PC that I bought had a Mother mode.  When you turned on Mother mode, you would hear a mother yelling in the background every few minutes.  She would be yelling about you playing too many video games and stuff like that.  It was novel and I got a kick out of it.  Sorta reminded me of a DVD I bought that gave you a Drive-In experience by having a soundtrack that would play noises of cars driving by and people talking.  It was fun once, but it was pretty annoying a second time.

Speaking of Drive-Ins, I was thinking how video games are getting more like movies.  Maybe it is time to add intermissions to video games.  It hasn't been done since Pac-Man that I know of (I am sure I will get an email from someone telling me some obscure Commodore 64 game had it).  Wouldn't it be cool that after you made it so far in Tomb Raider or God of War, you got an intermission.  They had a little Tomb Raider cartoon playing and some trailers for video games for about five or ten minutes before the next level started?  It would give you a chance to rest your hand and refill your Dorito bowl.  And they could sell advertising if they wanted.  The only thing is they would have to make it optional to watch it and give you the option of skipping it if you want.  


07/16/2007
I think the computer problems are finally behind me.  Had to clear the hard drive and start over, but I think things are better now.  Here's hoping.

While this isn't directly video game related, I am going to comment on it.  I read about where Sprint dumped a thousand plus customers who were calling customer service the most.  At first glance, this sounds like bad public relations.  You have to wonder about a company that chases customers away.  If you read what they say about how it will improve customer service because these 1,000 plus people who were calling an average of 40 times a month are gone.  Sounds like a caring company, doesn't it? 
All I can tell you is if you buy that load of baloney, then you gullible.  What it does is cut their amount of calls by 40,000 a month, which means they can trim some jobs.  Do you really think they booted customers without saving them money?  But there is a silver lining in all this.  If you have Sprint and want out of your contract and don't want to pay the early termination fee, now you have a way out!  Just start calling daily, heck three of four times a day.  Ask for help on everything.  Ask what ever charge on your bill is.  Ask what number on your phone comes after seven.  Ask what the weather is like in India.  Make a complete and utter nuisance of yourself and you will get out of your contract with no early termination fee.  Is that great or what?  And if you get enough people to do it, watch how quickly they change this major loophole.

Not only has the price of the PS3 dropped by $100.00, but you can also get five free movies as well.  Granted, none of them are that great (Chicken Little was a fun movie, but not one I exactly wanted to own, let alone in Blu Ray), but it is still five free movies.  That deal is getting better and better.  Just extend the warranty and you have me sold.

Know how Sega redid some of their classic games awhile back?  They were mostly cosmetic changes, but remakes nonetheless.  Well, I would like to see Activision do this.  I think it would be cool to play versions of River Raid, Pitfall, Megamania and others with updated graphics, new levels and new enemies.  Now that would be awesome.  Or they could even make them downloadable games on the XBOX or PS3.

Is it me or is Punchout the perfect game to remake for the Wii?  That game is begging to be added to lineup with the motion sensitive controllers.  Come on Nintendo, give Glass Joe a job again.


07/10/2007
I am offline for a week with problems and a ton of video game news comes down the pike.  Let's look at the latest.

Microsoft is now giving a three year warranty with every XBOX 360 system.  I applaud a company that realizes there is a problem with their systems and are doing what they can to help out consumers.  The dreaded rings of death continue to plague the system, but at least you know if you get a faulty one, you have a solid warranty. 

Sony has finally acknowledged what the rest of the world knew, that PS3 sales are not very good.  And they did something to counter that.  They dropped the price of their PS3 by $100.00!  That does make it very tempting, but there is still one thing that keeps me from biting (besides the fact that I am cheap).  That's the pathetic 90 day warranty they offer with their systems.  I will not pay $500.00 for a system that is only covered for 90 days.  Right now, I will buy the XBOX 360 with its 3 year warranty before I buy a PS3.  Sure the graphics on the PS3 are great.  Sure it has a built in Blu Ray player.  Sure it can play your old PS2 games (and some PS1 games).  But if it goes bad after 90 days, you are OUT OF LUCK.  And with their track record for bad systems, this is a big deal.  Yeah, you can get an extended warranty, but why bother when you already have one with the XBOX 360.  Go ahead and get a three year warranty for your system at Best Buy and watch the price go up by another $100.00 or more, which pretty much kills the price cut.

I know people are going to say that Nintendo also has a 90 day warranty, but the difference is the Wii is half the price of a PS3.  The second point is that Nintendo makes quality systems.  I have owned just about every Nintendo system since the NES and never had any real problems with any of them.  But I went through two PS1 and two PS2s.  Heck, I had a Colecovision that lasted over twenty years before giving up the ghost.


06/28/2007
Received a link to a site that tracks video game prices.  At first I must say I was impressed with how much detail he went into with graphs showing the prices going down.  But as I looked more, I found he just randomly tracked fifty games over a period.  So while it is a neat read, it doesn't really have alot of use for people who want to know values of their games.  But for an interesting read, check it out. 

http://www.usedvideogamepricing.com/

My other video game site, Arcade After Dark, has been mentioned on Stumble Upon and the hits went ballistic.  The one year old site was averaging 500 visitors a day and after the mention, we had 14,000 visitors in one day!  Pretty cool!

Found a funny You Tube video for the Nintendo Amusement Park.  While not really an amusement park, it is pretty funny.  You have to check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2FxAfx9SC8


 

06/27/2007
I can now say that I have tried all three new systems.  I must say as far as fun, the Wii is the most fun.  But if you are into graphics, the PS3 cannot be beat.  I was playing a racing game on it and I was floored by the quality of the graphics.  Even though I did terrible, I enjoyed it.  And to think they are just scraping the surface of what that machine can do. 

I was playing Lost Planet on the XBOX 360 and to be honest, it did not look that great.  It really looked like an XBOX or PS2 game to me.  Maybe if I saw more of it, I would be impressed, but so far in the graphics department, I have not been blown away.  But it is getting some very nice RPGs and that is always a deciding factor for me.

Looks like Spiderman 3 is getting some good reviews.  I had high hopes for this game and it is good to see it is not going to disappoint.  Now all I need is a next gen machine to play it on.


06/21/2007
Returned from vacation and was hit by a power surge.  A neighbor's ham radio tower was hit by lightning and we had a surge that fried my motherboard as well as my dsl modem.  So I have been busy getting things back to normal.  Add that to a two week vacation and you have no updates to the site. 

I was at a time share condo on vacation and they had free play at their arcade.  It sounds like nirvana as there were 60+ games on free play as well as a Wii with forty games.  But one thing I found in arcades with free play (as I learned at Disney Quest last year) is that when people can play as much as they want, two things happen.  First, machines get filled up and stay that way.  If something is free, people will play games they will never bother with and keep playing them.  I am convinced that you can have a game where you smack two rocks together and as long as it is free, people would play it.  The other thing you find out about free play arcades is joysticks and other parts get worn out.  Nothing is worse than playing Centipede and only being able to move in one direction.  Not alot of fun.


06/07/2007
I still remember how much fun I had playing Baseball Stars.  This and Tecmo Bowl were the best of the sports games on the NES.  I can still remember building the stats on my baseball team and making them quite powerful.  What a great game.  And Tecmo Bowl with the best of the NFL at that time.  Granted, you could make Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen run for insane numbers, but it was still fun. 

I just missed an awesome sale at Deep Discount DVD.  They were blowing out a bunch of video games, with many under $2.00 each.  And we aren't talking about some PS1 games, but Wii, PS3 and XBOX 360 games.  I tried to pick up some games for my kid's DS but the only one I found to be in stock was Strawberry Shortcake.  I am sorry, but that game is not worth the $2.00 they were charging.  Especially when you only have sons.

Now that I have a new PS2, I am considering getting some new games for it.  A few that I am considering are Shadows of Colossus, Resident Evil 4 and both God of War.  Have to keep an eye out for some good deals.

I see that Universal Isles of Adventure is adding a huge Harry Potter section that will debut in 2010.  It is cool that they are adding this and gives me more incentive to go there (never been to the Isles section).  But it still makes me wonder when someone is going to get smart and team up with Nintendo for some video game based rides.  I have talked about it a few times here and I am telling you it is a goldmine of an idea.  I think Cedar Fair should greatly consider it.  They have an underperforming park in Geauga Lake with a ton of space.  It is only an hour plus away from Cedar Point, so they could turn it into a Nintendo based theme park and book the Peanuts.  I am sorry, but most kids could care less about the Peanuts.  But bring in Mario, Yoshi, Pikachu, Donkey Kong, Princess Peach, Link, Bowser and the gang and you have some great mascots as well as rides.  And that park has a ton of room to work with.  They could make some unique games that take advantage of the licenses (think games based on Mario Kart, Star Fox, Luigi's Mansion Haunted House, fun light gun game where you have to catch all the Pokemon (They could say it is a Pokemon catching gun so the kids aren't scared).  Cedar Fair, listen up and think about it.  It could be a huge hit and turn NE Ohio into a big destination place.


06/05/2007
Glad that the website is just about back to normal.  Finally added a new bottom border and will be slowly moving the ads to the bottom of the page.  It may mean less money, but it makes the site look better.  None of my sites are really about money (if I wanted that I would be doing self help and travel sites). 

Not a day goes by when I do not get at least one email from someone wanting to link up to my site.  I rarely link to sites anymore.  It takes a real unique site for me to think about it.  If you site is one of a million that offers the same online games, don't bother.  If you site is nothing but links to ebay ads or amazon items, don't bother.  If your site is just another video game blog or one that posts news, don't bother.  I will only bother with sites that are full of content or very unique. 

One nice thing about the new web host is much more detailed stats.  The stats on my last host were sparse.  Now I can see how many countries I go to, what sites link to this one, how many visitors and for how long.  In a half a month, we were visited by over 125 different countries.  Pretty cool!

Time to actually talk some video games.  Guess I am missing out on the online event that is called World of Warcraft.  Over 8 million subscribers and growing!  That is amazing.  I doubt my computer could handle it.  Right now, my computer is four years old and was not that powerful to start with.  I do plan on getting a new one this winter, but right now it will have to do.  Will I get into World of Warcraft then?  No, I am not too big in these games.  I am more of a solo player than being part of a big community. 

So the new Phantasy Star has not sold too well.  Too bad as I really enjoyed the Phantasy Star Online game on the Dreamcast.  Guess when I eventually get an XBOX 360, it should be pretty cheap.


05/27/2007
Was at a drug store and saw a portable game system for $10.00.  Normally, I don't even bother looking at them as I know they are junk.  But this one caught my eye.  It said it was the next generation of gaming.  I thought the PS3 and XBOX 360 were the next generation of gaming, but this game system said it was.  This system came with four cartridges, which we all know is next generation.  And it had some truly next generation games like TankGame, FillBlock, Hitblock and more.  And the pixel graphics screamed out 1970's.  There really should be a law against being able to call this "next generation."

Saw a really cool Asteroids shirt on the internet.  The only problem was it was in the UK, so by the time you add shipping and turn the pounds into dollars, I was looking at a $30.00 t-shirt.  Oh well, it was cool looking.

There is a rumor that the Pac-Man Animated series may be getting a release on DVD.  Not sure if it will happen, but it would be cool.  I have a bootleg DVD that someone sent me and I do enjoy them.  They are not great, but fun.  Personally, I would love to see the Saturday Morning Supercade show that featured Q*Bert, Pitfall and Frogger cartoons (among others).  But I doubt they could get the rights to all the different shows to get it made.


05/21/2007
Picked up NFL Head Coach for the XBOX.  I went to the CompUSA going out of business sale.  So it was 70% off of $19.99.  For the math challenged, that is $6.00 plus tax.  I was excited about it as I am more into simming than playing sports games.  But this one was a bit wonky.  You can only do certain things at certain times and are limited what you can do.  To give you an idea, if you want to sign free agents, you can only do it at certain times.  And then you can sign a total of three during this time.  Same with setting depth charts and stuff like that.  I guess it is a way to make you play the whole week, instead of doing everything on Monday and then just simming to Sunday.  And you have these most inane conversations with your staff and owner.  They say the same stupid things over and over.  They are pretty much worthless.  Overall, it shows promise, but the setup is so awful that it is annoying.  Too bad as I really wanted to like it.

I think they need a remake to Wizard of Wor.  Granted, it would sell like thirty copies and be a total financial loss, but it still would be cool.  Think of a 3D version of it as you navigate through the maze and see the wizard in 3D.  OK, so Doom and Quake and a dozen other games did a better version of this.  But it would still be cool.

Been slowly adding more and more to my other video game site,  Arcade After Dark.  I have a ton of comic strips, a bunch of video game artwork for you to use in Comic Book Creator and more.  Check it out!


05/20/2007
Let's see if it works fine this time.  I wrote one a few days ago and it did not take.  Had to rebuild this page and just put a small blurb (see 05/17/2007) to test it.  Hopefully it takes this time.

Found out that I was the victim of an April Fools joke.  In Electronic Gaming Monthly, they said that Mushroom Kingdom Hearts was coming out for the Wii.  I fell for it hook, line and sinker.  Too bad as it sound like a great idea for a video game.  Cross Disney and Nintendo for an awesome game.  Maybe someone out there in a position of power is paying attention.  Yeah Final Fantasy is cool and all, but 99% of the world has no idea who any of the Final Fantasy characters are.  But alot of people know Mario, Link, Donkey Kong, Yoshii and other Nintendo characters.  It just makes too much sense to ever happen.

They are predicting a $100.00 price drop for the PS3 this Christmas.  Will it happen?  Who knows.  But it would take something even bigger for them to hope to catch the Wii. 

I was tempted to buy an XBOX 360.  They were offering two free games with the purchase.  The only problem is one of the games was Pirates of the Caribbean (the new one) and the other was a choice of either Viva Piñata or Fusion Frenzy 2.  And from the reviews, there was no choice as Fusion Frenzy 2 has received horrible reviews.  If they let you choose any two games, then I may have done it.  Then I could have chosen Morrowind and Dead Rising or possibly Crackdown and Spiderman 3.  But when you only offer three games to choose from and one is Fusion Frenzy 2, you really have no choice.

Good to see another western game coming out.  Call of Juarez is the next western game to join the growing ranks.
05/17/2007
Moved the site to a new host and it has caused a ton of headaches.  Been rebuilding pages, fixing links and more.  But the new host is more stable, offers more space and bandwidth and for less money. 

04/05/2007
I am happy to see that Sega is releasing a sequel to Nights Into Dreams for the Nintendo Wii.  It is one of those games that was released for the Sega Saturn and largely forgotten.  But it is the perfect game for the Wii controller.  Hopefully they will include the original and the Christmas Nights as bonuses.

The price of the PSP has been reduced.  It is slowly getting closer to a price I would pay.  I must admit that it does have a very nice screen and a very good library of games, but I am still hesitant about paying $150.00 for a handheld.

Gotta love Microsoft.  It wasn't enough to have two different Xbox 360's on the market, but now they have the XBOX 360 Elite coming out with a huge hard drive and a few other bells and whistles.  Nothing like following in Sega's footsteps and releasing various version of the same machine.  It is starting to look like the Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Sega 32X and all the different combinations they released back in the day.  Guess the old saying, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." fits here.

Finally bought a new Playstation 2 system.  The old one was getting ready to give up the ghost.  I cannot complain as I bought it in the summer of 2000, so I did get my money worth.  I was tempted to just buy a PS3, but the $600.00 price tag made it easy to say no. 


03/16/2007
It will be interesting to see the long term effects of the growing market for downloading games onto your game system.  With more and more games becoming available for download on the XBOX 360, the Nintendo Wii and the PS3, the demand should grow as well.  While it may not seem like much right now, it can have major implications down the road.  Read on and see where I am coming from.

First off, it is boosting the value of classic games and other games that were once considered abandonware.  It creates a new revenue stream for companies that in the past got little to no money from old games.  Sure a few companies like Nintendo, Midway and Namco have made money with compilations and reissues, but they are more the exception than the norm.  There are alot of companies out there that have yet to cash in or have been slow about it.  Sega is one that has a huge back library and it only has been of late that they really have tapped into it.  And they still only have scratched the surface.  There are a bunch of classic games they could put up for download that would yield alot of money.  Arcade favorites like Zaxxon and Pengo are two that I don't remember being ported.  Then there is the ton of Genesis, Master System, Saturn and Dreamcast games that can be downloaded.  Then there are companies like Data East, Cinematronics and Jaleco that have large catalogs of arcade games that are not out there.  They could either get into the market or their back catalogs get bought by larger companies. 

What happens to companies that are no longer in business?  I can see a rush for companies to buy up these unused catalogs.  There were a ton of companies that made games for the arcades, older consoles and computers that came and went.  With a good law firm and a bank full of money, you could easily amass a sizable catalog.  I think there will be some moves coming that will be quite interesting.

Another thing to consider is how will this change things.  In the past, game manufacturers often put in a copy of an earlier game as a bonus.  Will this still happen?  Instead, they may give you a coupon for money off the download.  It could be a way for different stores to gain a competitive edge.  Buy your copy of the new Sonic game at Best Buy and get a free download of Sonic Adventures.  Or when the consoles want to sweeten the pot, they could throw in free game downloads instead of giving you an actual game.  But the Wii before Christmas and get a $5.00 download card for each Nintendo released game or add-on you purchase at the same time.  So you have a family buy a Wii, two Nintendo first party games and an extra controller and they could get $15.00 worth of downloads.  It costs pretty much nothing for Nintendo to give them this and it gets the consumer used to download games.  This increases the chances that they do it again.

It will be interesting to see how this download market grows and what effects it has on the industry.  Alot will depend on how profitable it is.  The more people do it, the more games that will be offered.  And that cannot be a bad thing.

03/13/2007
Saw a new term used on USA Today.  It is calling adults who own video game systems, Nintendads.  Sorta cute in its own way.  Probably better than Playstation Parents, but not as politically correct.  So I am now a Nintendad.  Been called worse.

Saw in the latest Electronic Gaming Monthly that the next Kingdom Hearts game is going to be called Mushroom Kingdom Hearts and feature the Disney Characters teaming up with the Nintendo characters.  Sounds like a great idea!  One more reason for me to get a Nintendo Wii before 2008. 

Went to a local wrestling match the other day.  My one son is a big wrestling fan and since it cost $50.00 to see the WWE and you end up in the nose bleed section, I took him to see Cleveland All Pro Wrestling.  $10.00 gets you a dozen or so matches and they are quite good.  I did enjoy it.  Made me think about how it would be cool if they did a wrestling game where you moved up the ranks and featured wrestlers from a bunch of these smaller leagues.  I know there are leagues all over the country (just about every major city has one or two).  I'm sure you could get the rights to most of these wrestlers for little to nothing.  Most of them would love to be in a game would probably do it for free.  And since you are putting in a bunch of local legends, you would probably have good sales of the game as the fans from the area as well as family members and friends would want to own the game.

Speaking of wrestling games, I still wish someone would take over the Legends of Wrestling game series.  It was a great idea and had a ton of great wrestlers, but it was unfortunately done by Acclaim, so it played like crap.  If Electronic Arts or Activision would only pick it up and do it right, I think it would be a big hit.  Or even have it as a bonus in the WWE game.

The video game industry is funny.  You went from no gladiator game to then having three of them made to now there are none.  I really wish one of those series would have continued.  It is a great video game idea that just needed some more work.  I especially thought the one from Koei had potential.  Go figure, they make a dozen Romance of Three Kingdom games but just one gladiator game.  Oh well.

It has been months since I bought a video game for myself.  With the XBOX on life support, there hasn't really been any games that I want.  And I am not ready to move up to the next generation yet.  Still waiting to see how reliable the PS3 is and waiting for a store to actually keep the Wii in stock.

Once they get through all the fodder and expected titles, I am hoping that we get some really good downloadable games on the new systems.  I would love to see some of the Sega Saturn games get released.  Games like Burning Rangers, the Shining series and especially the Panzer Dragoon series are perfect for the download.  Panzer Dragoon Saga would finally be a game that is worth the $10.00 or whatever they are asking for a download these days.   Sure better than another attempt to sell Pac-Man.

02/26/2007
Took a few weeks off from blogging and the video game industry goes crazy.  Not really, but there is alot of stuff happening.

One of the big news items is how Sony is dropping backwards compatibility from the European PS3 and all future PS3 systems.  One has to wonder if this will have any effect on the systems out there now?  There is talk that Sony is looking into making an emulator to run on the system instead of the PS2 chip that is in there now, but we will see.  It is said to save the company about $30.00 a system and with the losses they are taking, I can understand the move.  It is a bummer not to have backwards compatibility, but most people will not bother with it anyway.  It also opens the market for downloads.  Why pay $10.00 to download a PS3 game when you can buy a used one for $5.00?  But now it opens up more money for them and the third party publishers.

Best Buy is having a major clearance sale today.  A bunch of games as low as $1.99.  I didn't bother to go as I found in the past that there were never many games from the list at the Best Buys around here.  If anything, it is just a waste of time.  But if you look on FatWallet or CheapAss Gamers, you can read all about it.

Glad to see the CGE is coming back this year.  For anyone who does not know, the CGE is the Classic Gaming Expo and once again it is back in Las Vegas.  I went to it in 1999 and had a blast.  Not sure if I will make it this year, but now that it is in Vegas as opposed to California, the chances are better. 

Saw the previews for the new Spiderman 3 video game and it looks great!  Whether the game will live up to the trailers is another matter, but it really looks like they took the good from Spiderman 2 (the web swinging and open ended city) and added to it.  Let's hope it is as good as it looks.

While I have only seen screenshots, I am intrigued by the game for the PS3 called Afrika.  Not sure what the game is, but the graphics of the animals are nice and it could be interesting.  Is it a exploration game or a strategy game or a photography game?  Who knows but I am intrigued.

I know he is a virtual character and not real, but I really wish someone would put Sonic the Hedgehog to sleep.  Sega has ruined what was once a great character with a series of really bad games.  Someone please shoot him and put him out of his misery.

Now that Acclaim and 3DO are out of business, who is the worst game company out there?  Somebody had to assume the title.  Any suggestions? 

It is funny that everyone predicted that once EA got the exclusive license to football that Madden would start to stagnate.  And know what?  They were all correct.  The game is nowhere near as good as it would be with competition.  Gotta hand it to EA for making everyone look smart.  Well, everyone except them and the NFL.

It is 2007 and we still have not had a game starring Underdog.  Talk about a character with a good arsenal of villains.  Bet they could make a better Underdog game than a Superman game and we all know how awful that franchise is.

It is funny how the Gamecube and the XBOX are all but dead, but the PS2 keeps chugging on.  There are still alot of great games coming for it including Gods of War 2.  I predict another two years minimum of games for the system.  Granted, it will be hard to find them as most stores are abandoning them, but with the internet, there will always be a market for it.

The scary thing is there are still a few games coming out for the Dreamcast.  They are Japanese only releases and pretty much shooters, but the system may outlive the Gamecube.


02/10/2007
Finally went to Dave & Busters.  Everyone kept on telling me to go there, it is awesome.  Well, I finally experienced the place and I will say it is nice.  A large selection of games to play with a few classic games.  The only thing missing was pinball.  I was bummed not to find any pinball.  But I did enjoy playing an Aliens game as well as putting in a game of Donkey Kong. 

Speaking of classic games at Dave & Busters, I was playing Ms. Pac-Man and it was playing very odd.  The ghosts moved at normal speed, but Ms. Pac-Man was moving at triple speed.  It was like she was hopped up on Red Bull or something.  It took a minute to get used to the increased speed, but once you did, it made the game very easy.  Actually it was really easy on the first three levels, where I zoomed through them.  But later, it became very easy to get caught, especially when the ghosts did not stay long after eating an energizer.  I did rack up a huge score.  I usually get around 45,000 on Ms. Pac-Man but with this version, I broke 100,000.

Must give props to Nintendo for great customer service.  My son's DS quit working after a month and they replaced it for no cost.  They sent out a new one and we just had to send the broken one back.  It only took a few days to receive it and their customer service on the phone was top notch.  I will remember this when we consider a new system later on.  While I have never dealt with Sony or Microsoft's customer service, I have heard horror stories about Sony. 


02/01/2007
Read a very interesting article on DVD Empire's website.  They are having a 20% off sale on all their video games because they are getting out of the business of selling new video games.  While a 20% off sale is a good deal, their explanation about why they are leaving is even better.  Read it, especially if you are thinking of opening a video game store that sells new games and systems.
http://www.dvdempire.com/index.asp?userid=99365301263680&tab_id=3&site_id=2&site_media_id=0

Knowing a few people who own video game stores, I can vouch that what they are saying is absolutely true.  There really is no money to make in new games if you are a small dealer.  The dealers I know would go to a place like Target and sign up for their credit card and buy as many new systems or games as they could because the 10% discount you received for signing up for a credit card was more money off than what the game companies would give them.

I was taking out the trash the other day and one of the items was a shoe box.  I looked at the empty shoe box and it made me think about how these were the original game holders.  Just about everyone I know put their Atari or Intellivision or whatever games in a shoe box.  And if you had a big collection, you would have a second shoe box for the manuals and overlays.  I thought about how many times I went to a garage sale or a flea market and saw a shoe box full of games.  But these days, kids have specially made game holders or they use media centers to store their CDs, DVDs and video games.  The poor shoe boxes are now sent to trash heaps or recycle centers.  How things change.

01/30/2007
Found a site where they pay you to do what you do anyway.  It is called Game Trailers and you get points for watching game trailers, news on video games and more.  Pretty cool as I was doing this on sites for free.  It takes a bit to get some stuff, but what the heck, you can save up for a PS3 if you are determined.  Check it out at the following link http://www.gametrailers.com/register.php

If you sign up, throw me a bone and put me as your referral.  The screen name is tomheroes. 

While I was on Game Trailers, I was watching some news about how Microsoft is turning the XBOX 360 into a DVR.  They will have movies you can download and more.  Sounds like a pretty good deal.  I know that Sony is also planning the same thing.  Good to see multiple uses for our expensive toys.

My twin sons have created their own website.  If you check out my Arcade After Dark site, you will see there is a section called Little Kid.  It was some strange video game cartoons done by one of my son's Joshua.  Well, I finally gave him and his twin brother, Justin, their own website to do stuff.  If you want to check out what two 10 year old boys would do with a website, go to http://www.zjabatwins.com and see.  They have video game comics, web adventures, pics, movies and more stuff. 

Been having alot of fun with the Sega Genesis Collection for the PS2.  They had it for $10.00 at Circuit City back after Christmas and my wife wanted it.   She wanted it to play Sonic the Hedgehog.  I have been having fun with the Phantasy Star games as well as Comix Zone and even Ecco the Dolphin. 

01/27/2007
Had a strange but cool dream the other day.  I dreamt that I visited a friend of mine and he had this really cool computer program.  It had a database of a thousands of video games and what you did is you would type in the names of up to five different video games.  Then it would search its database and if they were in it, it would take components of the games and combine them to create an original game.  One I remember is where we put in Tomb Raider, Pacman, Tetris and Bubble Bobble and it created a game where Lara Croft was going through a maze and battling Bubble Bobble kind of guys and had to get tetris pieces to unlock other parts of the maze.  The cool thing was you could keep hitting the same combination and it would create different games.  It was random which games would be which part.  It was a really cool but probably not possible dream. 

Decided to do some more checking to see if the PS3 and Wii were in stock.  I went to Circuit City, Microcenter and Target and all three had PS3 systems in stock.  Both the expensive and the really expensive versions were in stock (I see people call it the expensive and cheaper version, but at those prices the word cheap does not even enter my mind).  And sure enough all three places were sold out of the Wii.  Now the question remains, is there a Wii shipping problem or is it just selling that much better?  The other question is now that the ebay hype is over with the PS3, how will it sell?  The one thing that is hurting the PS3 is it does not have a system seller for it.  I know Resistance: Fall of Man is a really good game, but it is not a must have game.  The Wii has Legend of Zelda and the XBOX has Gears of War.  If Sony can get Gods of War 2 out soon that could change.  A new Gran Turismo would not hurt either.

Word is going around that the next Devil May Cry will not be exclusive to the PS3.  Capcom is supposedly releasing it on the XBOX 360 as well.  If this is true, that is one more blow to the PS3 and its exclusive lineup. 

There has been some life for the XBOX 360 in Japan.  Blue Dragon came out and sold some systems.  Not a ton of systems and not enough to really make a huge difference, but it did get more Japanese gamers interested in the system.  And the interest seems to continue as Gears of War is also selling quite well over there.  While I expect the XBOX 360 to come in third in that market, at least it may not be such a distant third like it was with the original XBOX.


01/23/2007
Had some website problems but they are fixed now.  So I should have the blogs up a bit more often.  Well, maybe I will.

Been busy deleting ads.  Goodbye to Amazon ads on this site.  They never really paid anything.  A big problem was I have ads for classic games and not new ones.  So it never really paid.  Also gone is Kontera.  The ads are annoying and pay practically nothing.  I could make more collecting can than running Kontera ads.  I will stick with the tried and true, ebay and google.

Bought my kids one of those Zizzle pinball tables for their birthday.  For $200.00 (you can get it for that much at Best Buy as opposed to $300.00 online), I am impressed with the construction.  Real wood body and steel legs.  It is made very well.  I bought them the Pirates of the Caribbean one, mainly because they did not have the Marvel Super Heroes one.  It plays pretty good, not as good as real pinball, but then it is a fraction of the price.  I do give it a good review and if you are looking for some fun pinball at a low price, it is not a bad choice.

While at Best Buy, I noticed they had a big stack of PS3 systems for sale.  I would guess there was at least 25 systems for sale.  When I looked at the Nintendo Wii, there were none.  Granted it is only one store, but it was pretty interesting.

I saw a Deal or No Deal TV plug n play game at a store the other day.  The graphics on the box looked like the game was made for the Nintendo 8-Bit system.  Poor Howie, he deserves better.


01/04/2007
Happy 2007!  Next month this website will celebrate its 10th anniversary.  Cannot believe it.  I still remember when the site started.

The new Superman game has continued the trend.  Yes, that is the trend of bad Superman games.  The flying is alot of fun but unless you want to pay $50.00-$60.00 for a Superman Flight Simulator, you may want to avoid the game or wait for it to hit the clearance bins.  And it will be there soon enough.

The latest issue of Video Game Collector is out and once again I have two articles in it.  And my Activision Patch article was even a two pager.  If you want a cool magazine, either go to the website at http://www.vgcollector.com/ or you can buy it at just about any Blockbuster, many comic stores and quite a few other video game stores.  The newest one should be hitting shelves soon and features Mario on the cover (it is issue #7).  And there is a great spread with pics of all the NES boxes.  And a fair amount of those scans came from this site as well. 

I hear a new Iron Man game is in the works.  I hope they go with a first person perspective and make you feel like you are in the armor, but I doubt it.  Let's just hope it is good and they use many of the villains from his comic books.  For people who never read Iron Man, here are a few of his villains - Unicorn, Porcupine, Titanium Man, Mandarin (would be a great end of the game boss), Blizzard, Crimson Dynamo and Whirlwind.  While not household names like Green Goblin or Joker, there are some very good villains there and they offer some unique powers.  You have Blizzard and his freeze abilities.  There is Mandarin and his different rings.  Porcupine is large, strong and shoots grenades.  Whirlwind makes tornado like winds. 


12/29/2006
I must start off with a big thumbs up.  I must salute Microsoft for extending the warranty on the XBOX 360 to one year from the pitiful 90 days.  I hope that Nintendo and especially Sony follow suit.  I know if it came down to deciding between an XBOX 360 and a PS3, this would be a major factor in my decision. 

I have not talked about any video game ideas here for quite awhile.  I think they should look into doing a Kingdom Hearts type game with the Hanna Barbera characters.  I am not just talking Scooby Doo and the Flintstones.  I am talking all the characters from Space Ghost to the Herculoids to the Wacky Races.  Imagine a game where you would pop out of the stone age with the Flintstones and Dino Boy to space with the Jetsons and Space Ghost.  You have heroes like the Impossibles and Galaxy Trio helping you and even the Banana Splits could show up and help out.  Then you could take to the big city with the likes of Top Cat or head to the woods with Yogi Bear.  And you have a ton of good villains like Dick Dasterly, Zorak and the Creature King.  It would be a cool game and probably do quite well.

2007 will be a fun year for video games.  This is when we start to find out which system is going to lead the pack.  The XBOX 360 will have its big titles coming out.  Halo 3 and possibly Fable 2 should be out and give the system a big boost.  The Wii will see the Mario, Pokemon, Metroid and Super Smash Bros coming out.  And the PS3 will have the next God of War (possibly), Devil May Cry and Gran Turismo.  Throw in the next Grand Theft Auto and you have an exciting year for video games. 


12/19/2006
Went searching for a Nintendo DS for my son for Christmas.  We looked at some of the package deals and found them to be a waste.  One place had one with two mediocre games (when Space Invaders is the better game, it is a waste of money).  Toys R Us had you could choose between three games.  All the games sucked.  Walmart had the best deal with Pokemon and Nintendogs.  But it was $70.00 more than just a system alone.  So it was no deal for the games.  I ended up getting a system and buying the games I wanted.  Target had a bunch of good games on sale for $24.00 each.  The moral of the story is that bundles generally suck. 

Sony sent me a real nice brochure on the PS3.  About a dozen full color pictures.  It looked like the kind of brochure you would get at a car dealership.  Why they are bothering to send this out when you cannot find the system anyway is beyond me.  But it is nice. Maybe I will ebay it.

I see the price of Playstation 3 are coming down on ebay.  You can now get one for about $900.00, possibly less.  Still way more than I would pay, but if you must have it.

Speaking of the PS3, a local car dealership is giving away a free PS3 with every Kia car you buy.  The sad thing is you used to buy one Kia vehicle and get a second one for free.  So either the PS3 is so valuable it is worth the price of a Kia or the Kia is so bad that it is only worth the price of a PS3.  I will let you figure that one out.

I still remember what a big part of Christmas in my childhood was looking through the Sears catalog.  I can remember when they started putting Atari and Intellivision in the catalog.  I would look at all the hot new games listed there and dream.  I still remember asking for an Atari for Christmas.  I dreamed of playing Space Invaders and Asteroids and Pacman (little did I know how bad it was).  Well, I got a game system for Christmas but it was not an Atari.  It was an Odyssey 2.  While the selection of games was much smaller (Atari had about 700 or something while Odyssey 2 had slightly over 50) and all my friends had an Atari (couldn't trade games), I still had the better Pacman.  KC Munchkin was far superior to Pacman and you could create your own mazes.  Too bad they were gone when you turned it off, but it was still cool.  I loved Quest for the Rings, Great Wall Street Fortune, Monkeyshines and a few others.  Was a fun system and it went belly up soon afterwards, so I got my first taste of bargain shopping.


11/30/2006
I get numerous emails from people wanting to talk about this system or that game.  While I appreciate the emails, I generally don't respond to them.  I am a hermit when it comes to the internet.  In newsgroups, I tend to be a lurker.  I read, but almost never respond.  I have IM turned off.  The reason is that I found for every person who is civil and I can have a good conversation with, there are two who are immature and act like idiots.  My time is too valuable to waste with morons, so I generally keep to myself.  That is why you will almost never see posts in newsgroups or message boards from me.  It is too easy for someone to hide their identity or change email accounts, so people can act like total jerks and there is nothing people can do about it.  Just read some of the Playstation or XBOX newsgroups to get an idea.  Half the posts are rants, insults and other negative posts.  So if you email me and don't get a response, this is probably why.

Why do people get so worked up over the new game systems?  Maybe I am missing something, but I have yet to see a next generation game that is a must have.  I think anyone who is willing to pay a few grand for a PS3 on ebay either has too much money or too few brain cells or a combination of both.  If your kid must have the system, give him an IOU.  Tell him Santa ran out but will send one after Christmas along with a few games.  The less you pay for the system, the less you will get sick when your kid trades it in down the road and gets $100.00 in trade for it.  The PS3 is only about five years from being obsolete.

Speaking of the PS3, am I the only person in the USA that is not excited about Blu Ray?  I am perfectly fine with DVD.  Sure the picture is nicer.  Sure you can put more on a Blu Ray, but I don't see it as a big leap up from DVD.  When DVD came along, it was a huge leap from VHS.  No more rewinding.  Easy to skip to the part of the movie you wanted.  Picture didn't get worse with repeat playing like VHS.  More bonus features.  It was easy to take the leap to DVD.  I could never go back to VHS.  But Blu Ray does not do that for me.  Of course when you watch stuff like the Simpsons on DVD, how much better can it look?  Will Blu Ray make Homer look any better?  Can anything make Homer look better?


11/21/2006
Went to see all the people waiting in line for the PS3 and Wii.  It sure looked mighty cold out.  Glad I wasn't one of them.  Personally, I would wait.  I can understand the people who bought the PS3 to flip it on ebay, but otherwise I see no reason to wait.  And I think the guy that hired the homeless people to wait in line for PS3 for him was smarter.  Some people may call it exploiting the poor, but the guy was giving them $100.00 a day plus food to do nothing but sit there.  I doubt most of them make that collecting cans or pan handling in a day.  I can see if he made his kids do it or something.  But these people had a choice.

If I was a retailer, I would be a little pissed at Sony.  You have to go through the hassles of having people waiting outside your building.  There is the fact that it is a turnoff for some shoppers to have to go past these bunch of guys sitting around bored in chairs.  There is also the possibility of vandalism, theft and possible lawsuits.  And when these guys go in and buy systems, they are not buying games and extra controllers.  Most are just buying the system to resell.  So these vendors make practically nothing.  But on the other hand, the Wii buyers were buying games.  Many were also buying extra controllers and memory cards.  I know that stores will not quit selling Sony stuff, but if I was a store, I would only sell the PS3 in a bundle pack that insure I sold some extras.  If people didn't like it, tough.  They can go wait somewhere else.  You have to remember that most stores only make about $10.00 - $15.00 for each PS3 they sell.  All the money is in selling the games and accessories. 

Say goodbye to the XBOX and Gamecube.  We should see the last software for them this year.  There may be a few games next year, but most likely 2007 will be the final year for both systems.  The PS2 should have a few years left of software.  Granted, most of it will be garbage.

11/15/2006
Wonder how many of you are out there waiting in line for the PS3?  If you read this blog at all, you know that I am too cheap to be waiting for one.  It does look nice, but not for the price.  And now games have officially hit the $60.00 each level.  Maybe it is me, but a game better be extremely good to warrant the extra $10.00.  Which brings me to the launch games.  Most launch games are mediocre.  There are always a few good ones like Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64 or Soul Calibur for the Dreamcast, but generally the games are either slightly souped versions of games out there or something some company threw together to cash in on the frenzy of the launch.  No one wants to buy a new system and not have games to play with it.  And these companies know this and sell them average games that may look nice but are not worth the money.  This is even more likely these day since pack-in games does not exist on launch.

Did I say pack-in games don't exist?  Leave it to Nintendo to prove me wrong.  For the first time in ages, a system will come with a pack-in game.  Wii Sports will allow owners of the new system to play games right out of the box without having to buy a game.  Granted it is a bunch of sports games that are set up to show off the new controller, but it is still better than what Microsoft or Sony give you, which is nothing. 

Wonder how many people who are waiting in line for the PS3 will get in another line for the Wii?  Will there be lines for the system?  There is supposed to be enough systems to go around, but we will see.  Call me old, but I cannot imagine waiting outside all night for a video game system.  Guess I am not hard core.

I see that there are Burger King games for the XBOX available at Burger King.  They star that creepy Burger King who keeps jumping into football games and stuff.  Not sure if I want to eat at Burger King in order to get one, but it may be funny.  Wonder if they will be collectible down the road? 


11/02/2006
Received a Best Buy gift card from someone and decided it was time to get a new video game.  Add in a $5.00 Best Buy Bucks from McDonald's and I was ready to get Marvel Ultimate Alliance for the XBOX.  I will get to the game in a minute.  First, I want to talk about Best Buy.  Is there a more annoying store in the world to make a purchase at?  It should not take five minutes to buy a game.  I have not been asked that many questions since I bought a car.  Here is my conversation with the person who did not want to let me leave. "Are you a member of the Rewards Zone?  No. Would you like to join?  No.  You could be earning points with this purchase and get special discounts only for members.  Not interested.  Are you paying with your Best Buy credit card?  No.  Gift card.  Would you like to get a Best Buy credit card?  No.  Do you want an extended warranty on your game?  It protects it for a year in case it gets broken or damaged.?"  No.  It's only $3.49 (or whatever it was).  Not interested.  We have free magazine subscriptions today for the following magazines (insert list that is read at light speed).  Which ones would you like to sign up for?  None.  But sir, they are free, wouldn't you like to try one?  No.  Your total is ..."  I can honestly say that unless I get a gift card or they have a sale that is amazing, I have no interest in ever shopping there again.  I can understand asking one question or maybe two, but four questions is too much.  And please, the word no means no.  It does not mean keep trying.  I know the cashiers are doing their job and are forced to be this annoying, but I do not want to be stuck at a checkout line for five minutes when I should be done in a minute so you can push all your crap on me.

Now onto Marvel Ultimate Alliance.  A cool game.  Pretty much the Marvel equivalent of Gauntlet, but still alot of fun.  I like how you can create your own team and switch members throughout the game.  I only wish they really worked together.  It would be cool if there were combo moves.  Have Iceman freeze someone in place and then the Thing would smash them.  Stuff like that.  But from what I can tell (I have only played it for a few hours).  It is just four people going along and fighting.  Substitute arrows for flames and you go from the archer in Gauntlet to the Human Torch.  Still fun and there are a ton of other Marvel characters who pop up.


10/26/2006
If you want to play classic games from the 1980's for free, here is a site to check out.  Enjoy it while you can as I can see Nintendo closing them down soon.    http://www.1980-games.com/us/.  Do be aware that they games appear in small windows, loading is slow and not all have sound.  But they are still fun.

Sad to see Lik-Sang close its doors.  If you do not know, it was a great game importer.  I ordered from them a few times to get games never available in the US like Crazy Climber 2000 for the PS2.  But they were sued by Sony and were forced to close their doors.  Another example of the big guy destroying the little guy.

The XBOX 360 has reached 6 million sold units worldwide.  It is building a pretty good lead for the next race.  But it will need to have a big Christmas to really position itself.  It does have a good chance with the shortage of PS3 and some very good games coming.  Oh and getting Rockstar to not make Grand Theft Auto exclusive to the Playstation for a period of time and now to get Assassin's Creed to also be multi-platform will help.

Here is a funny article about the Fifty Worst Names for Video Games.  I agree mostly but there are a few I would put in the list.  Check it out and see what you think:  http://www.gamerevolution.com/feature/worst_names


10/24/2006
The annual Toys R Us sale is upon us.  The famous Buy Two Games and Get One Free.  Normally, I take advantage of this sale for Christmas presents for my kids but there really isn't any Gamecube games they want.   I am too cheap to buy any XBOX games though I am tempted to get games like Justice League and Marvel Alliance.

Speaking of Marvel Alliance, this is the one new game that I am excited about.  The thought of creating your own super hero team out of a pool of 24 different heroes sounds great.  It is good to see publishers trying something new.  I just hope it lives up to the hype.

Added another $5.00 game to my XBOX collection.  This time it is Lord of the Rings Third Age.  I like RPGs and I like Lord of the Rings so it sound like a winner to me.  Sure, you don't get to play as Aragon or Gandolf, but so what.  How many RPGs have characters you know in them before the game comes out?

The demand is building for the new systems.  Only a few weeks away from the next generation war going into full tilt.  I do think that Sony gift wrapped this holiday for Microsoft with the severe shortage of PS3 systems.  But before you hand the crown to the XBOX, remember the same thing happened with the PS2 and the Dreamcast and we all know how that turned out.  Before you start sending hate emails to me, I will say the XBOX 360 will do way better than the Dreamcast ever hoped to.  It already has a hundred games out for it and it is getting more third party support, where the Dreamcast saw the third party support evaporate after the first year.

Want to hear something funny?  I am a huge arcade fan and I have yet to go to a Dave and Busters.  There is one about a half hour from my house, but I have yet to go there.  I have gone to a similar venue called The Boneyard that is a few minutes from my house.  My kids love it with all the games but there is little I want to play.  Not a single classic game.  There is a good selection of Sega games like 18 Wheeler, Sega Marine Fishing and House of the Dead 4, but not one single Ms. Pacman or Galaga. 

It is funny how every so often you will read about someone who is predicting that Sega will get back in the console business.  I just laugh at their wishful thinking.  There is no way that Sega would jump back into that field.  They had their butt handed to them last time and now the industry is tougher than before.  It was one thing to battle Sony and Nintendo.  It is a whole another thing to battle Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft.

Gears of War is almost out and it is slated as the big title for the XBOX 360.  I have seen the screen shots and I am impressed.  Will the gameplay be as good?  Probably.  I know Microsoft is betting heavy on it.  Especially with Rare putting out one lame title after another.  Talk about a waste of money.

I still wish that the game BC would have been made.  It was the other game besides Fable that Peter Molyneux was working on but was shelved.  Too bad as it looked real good. 

I am curious to what Turbo Grafx games will be available for download on the Nintendo Wii.  Devil's Crush pinball and Military Madness are must haves.  The Bonk games are pretty good too.  It would be nice to play these games again, hopefully the price is not too high.


10/02/2006
I wonder if Mario ever feels bad about all the turtles he has jumped on and kicked over the years.  Maybe PETA should be after him.  There are probably kids out there emulating him and hurting innocent turtles.

I have not heard anything about it, but I think a Nintendogs game for the Wii would be a good idea.  Think about the things you could do with the controller.  Fetch, tug of war, there are numerous things you could do.  The Wii is all about playing games differently and playing different games and that would fit. 

Have read about Fable 2.  I really enjoyed the first game.  Sure, it did not meet with all the lofty expectations that came with it, but it was still a great game.  I know people out there have complained about how Peter Molyneux hypes the world and does not deliver.  But the bottom line is he really tries to create the game he hypes.  He may fall short, but I would rather have him try and not do it, then to just take the safe road and churn out the same stuff everyone else does.  It is people like him who have made the industry great.

Continued my affordable XBOX game buying.  This time it was Dungeons & Dragons Heroes.  Picked it up for the low price of $5.00.  I know the reviews weren't incredible, but I have been a big fan of Dungeons & Dragons since the 1970's.  So I think it will be fun.


09/26/2006
Finished playing Gun.  A very good game with a lame ending.  The final boss was a royal pain.  Not that he was tough but more because it was alot of hit or miss to figure out what hurt him.  But I beat it and that is all that counts.  Too bad there is most likely not a sequel.  I would have enjoyed playing a longer game with more stuff to do. 

Was playing Sid Meier's Pirates for awhile.  A very fun game for a few hours.  Then it gets to be too repetitive.  Every town you go to is the same.  You soon learn that instead of shooting your cannons in a battle, you just need to ram your ship into another and then swordfight against the other pirate and beat him to win.  And I am so tired of dancing the waltz or whatever that mini game is.  It was a fun few hours but after that, I really don't have much desire to play it anymore.

Now I am playing Farcry Instincts.  So far it is a really fun game.  The graphics are great and the sound is extremely good.  Haven't gotten too far into it, so it is too early to give it a thumbs up or down.  I do wish you could save anywhere.


09/17/2006
If you are looking for cheap XBOX games, visit your local Toys R US.  They have a ton of XBOX games on clearance, with some as low as $5.00 (granted it is Triggerman or whatever the game is).  But there are some mighty fine games for $10.98.  I bought Farcry and Half-Life 2, both on my most wanted list.  There were a ton of games under $20.00 and many were really good games.

Went on a video game buying spree!  Besides the two aforementioned games, I also picked up Mortal Kombat Deception.  It was on clearance at Target for $10.44.  I have wanted this game for awhile but I rarely see it cheap.  It is always the other Mortal Kombat game that is cheap.  I wanted this one for the puzzle fighter, the chess game and even the Konquest game.  Mostly for the puzzle fighter and chess game.

Speaking of games, I am about 3/4 finished with Gun and really enjoying it.  Been playing alot of the side quests to build up my stats and make the game last longer.  Most are fun, a few are stupid.  Overall, the game is great!  Nice graphics, wonderful sound and enough variety of gameplay to keep you interested.  And the story is quite good.  Makes me want to hunt down Red Dead Revolver and play it.

So the Nintendo Wii will start out at $250.00.  That should move some units, especially with the extreme shortage of PS3 systems.  And the fact that it comes with a pack-in game is great!  If it wasn't for the fact that I have no plans on waiting for hours in line to buy one, I would be tempted to get one this Christmas.  I normally never buy a new system the first year as I want to see what problems crop up.  But Nintendo systems are different as they rarely have any major issues.  I must give props to Nintendo on making reliable systems.


09/09/2006
One of the funnest times of the year for a gamer is beginning.  The countdown to Christmas!  Not only do you have two new systems coming out this year, but you also have a ton of games coming out.  And many places have been clearing out their old stock to make room for all the new games.  There are plenty of bargains to be found if you look.  Every week, some place is putting a stack of games on clearance. 

The first big game of the season has arrived in Madden.  Like the geese flying south, Madden is a sure sign the holidays are coming.  Within the next three months, the vast majority of the video games will be released.  The drought is over. 

The other fun thing about this time of year is the facts and rumors that begin to fly about the new game systems.  Word is that Sony is limiting the number of PS3 to 500,000 for launch.  100,000 to Japan and the rest to the USA.  The Blu Ray is supposedly the culprit.  The Wii still has not announced a price or how many will be available for launch.  But they have said it will be very small.

 
09/02/2006
Patience pays off!  I waited and waited as the price of Gun dropped from $49.99 to $19.99.  But my cheapness said to wait longer.  Well, the wait is over!  Circuit City had the game for $4.99 and to my surprise, they actually had some in stock.  I am now the proud owner of Gun for the XBOX for only $5.00!  Now I just have to wait for King Kong to go down.

Saw a guy wearing a Dead Rising shirt.  It was pretty cool in a minimalist  design.  But it is still cool to see a video game shirt out there.  I need to find some good sites that sell quality video game t-shirts.

It still amazes how Game Informer reviews always have to have almost identical scores.  I never understood the idea of having two people reviewing the game if they always come up with the same scores.  Is it a rule that the scores must be within a few points of each other or is the review team made up of clones?  I can see it happening sometimes, but every game?  While I like the magazine (and the cheap price is a nice bonus), I would never trust their reviews for this reason.

I see there is a Justice League game coming and it sounds good.  It is good to see quality super hero based video games coming out.  We definitely need more as there is a ton of material to work with in the game industry.  I still want to see a really good Avengers game, one where you pick your team.

In case you haven't checked out my other video game website, Arcade After Dark, you have been missing.  With a ton of content and the hits growing at an amazing rate, you will find a ton to enjoy.  I must admit that I do spend more time on that site than this site but that is because this one is so big now and established where that one is still growing.  Oh and my third site, KZ Comics is coming along well also. 

08/18/2006
Don't know how it escaped me so long but I found that Next Generation, my all-time favorite video game magazine has a website.  So while the magazine has been defunct for quite awhile, I can still read it online.  How I miss that magazine, it was the best video game magazine for adults.

I see the video game stores are starting to put a stop on preorders for PS3 and the Wii as they are unsure of how many will be available for launch.  Bet they are among the most popular presents this Christmas.


08/14/2006
Went to Kennywood and had a great time.  While I was cooling off in the arcade, I played a game of Moon Patrol.  Had my best game ever while in there.  Made it all the way to the letter W.  Also played some Asteroids, Zaxxon and Ms. Pac-Man while there.  Someone put up a score of 145,000 on Ms. Pac-Man, which is way higher than the 40,000 score I put up.

I see that Microsoft is allowing people to create games on the XBOX 360.  They have the tools that can be downloaded for free.  What a great way to build interest in the system. 

08/01/2006
Another game I was interested in is off my radar list.  The Electronic Arts Head Coach game really caught my interest.  I am not one who cares for the actual playing of a football game.  It is alright but I find that the computer is either too easy or too hard.  And online is a joke.  Last thing I want to do is go online and get schooled by people who do nothing but play the game.  I found that online players who have a life are at a serious disadvantage.  If you need to devote your time to stuff like work or a family, you will not have the time to become a great player.  So I avoid online play like the plague.  Anyway, Head Coach interested me because I like building a team and doing things like signing free agents, drafting players and trades.  To me this is more fun.  But Head Coach is getting bad reviews.  Not as bad as say Jaws, but not very good either.  Guess I will have to pull out the original Head Coach game that came out for the PC (and before that the Atari ST) a decade ago. 

It is pretty sad that there are no games on the horizon that I have to have.  I remember this time last year and I was looking forward to Gun, King Kong and quite a few other games.  But now there is nothing I must have.  Granted, I never bought Gun or King Kong, so I guess I could get them but part of the fun of video games is anticipating the upcoming titles.  But with the XBOX market dying and no desire to spend $400.00 for an XBOX 360 and absolutely no interest in spending $600.00 for a PS3, there is not much to get me excited.  The Wii intrigues me but there is not a must have title for me yet.  And I am not a fan of handhelds, so I have little interest in the PSP or DS. 

Been playing alot of Tempest lately.  That is still one of those games that I can always come back and play again.  Just a great game. 

07/22/06
I saw a story about how Walmart was not going to prosecute shoplifters who stole under $25.00 in merchandise.  It was a way to save money.  It made me think about how there are no shoplifting video games.  This screams out as a bonus game in a Rockstar game.  You have to go into stores and try to steal select items.  As you get better you can then  move to more upper class stores with better security.  You would start in a dollar store or something and work your way up to some lavish store.  Or if you want to be politically correct you could be the store detective and try to nab people.  The more you stop from being stolen, the higher your score.  It could even be a fun two player game where one person is trying to steal and the other is trying to stop them.  I know I will get some complaints about this, but considering they have you stealing cars, killing people and picking up ladies of the night, this seems pretty tame.

I watched a show about Iran and they were talking about the Iran/Iraq war.  They mentioned that Saddam could have won it but he quit advancing.  They said he had zero skills as a military strategist.  Guess if he would have ordered a few computer war games and practiced, things may have been different.  Heck, a game of Risk may have helped him.

I am bummed.  I really wanted the Jaws game that has recently come out.  But with reviews that are terrible, I guess I have to pass.  Even at a low price, I just don't have time to waste on bad games.  There is barely enough time to play good games, let alone bad ones.  Add it to the Land of the Dead game that also received terrible reviews. 

One thing that makes me leery about getting an XBOX 360 is how quickly they pulled the plug on the XBOX.  I understand they want to put their resources into the XBOX 360 but would it hurt to give the original XBOX a few more games?  Sony is still making games for the PS2 and even Nintendo is giving a few more games to the Gamecube.  A new Paper Mario game is coming for it and that is way more than Microsoft is giving to the XBOX. 

07/12/2006
Read a report in the business section of the newspaper about how Sony is working on copy protection that would make it so that a video game could only be played in one machine.  It would have a part on the game that would be written once it is inserted in a system and they it would only play in that machine.  So you could not sell your game or lend it to a friend or rent one from Blockbuster.  And if your Playstation system would break as they are so prone to do, then your software library would be worthless.  If there is any truth to this, then I may be done with new video game systems.  I understand companies wanting to protect their investment and all, but there is no way I am going to rebuy all my games every time my system dies (and in Sony's case, it can be quite frequently).  It is enough they have the awful 90 warranties on their $300-$600 machines, but now this.  Right now it is just in development, so there is no guarantee it will ever be used or when it would be implemented.  But it is enough for me to seriously consider the XBOX 360 or the Nintendo Wii for my next system.  Heck, I can buy both for the price of a PS3.

07/09/2006
Wow, it has been a bit since I blogged.  Here is a bit to talk about.  First off, I watched a video on AOL about the top 11 weirdest games of all-time.  While I think there were some weirder games in the classic era, it did feature some odd games.  Games like Katamari Damacy, Seaman, Tying of the Dead and Wario Ware Inc.  The sad thing is I played and owned all but two of the games on the list.  And a few like Typing of the Dead are among my favorites.

Speaking of weird games, I wonder how good Viva Pinata will be?  An interesting concept but it has potential to be really cool or really awful.  Guess we will have to wait and see.

Guess I should be happy that the video game industry seems to have gotten its naughtiness out of its system.  We had that rush of adult games like the new Leisure Suit Larry, The Guy Game and Playboy Mansion.  But since then, about the worse we had was Rumble Roses.  Guess a bad game with nudity is not a guarantee to sales.  Glad to see gamers are smarter than that.  Or the stores are better at carding the people who these games are aimed at, the under 18 set.

Why is it that Mario can get a dozen different kind of games (sports game, RPG, party game, fighting game) but Pac-Man seems to just get the same lame platformer over and over.  I think Pac-Man needs a new agent as the one he has sucks.

 

 

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