Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Simpsons Arcade Game Review: Revisit an Arcade Classic

One of the things I remember from my youth is Chucky Cheeses. It wasn’t for it’s pizza, however, but the arcade games you could play. One of the games I would play was The Simpsons Arcade Game. I’d spend all my tokens playing it every time we were at Chucky Cheeses. What pleasant surprise I got when the game was re-released on Xbox Live Marketplace earlier this year. Despite it’s age, The Simpsons Arcade Game’s is still fun after all these years.

The Simpsons Arcade Game begins with the Simpsons family walking through Springfield as Waylon Smithers and a couple of his goons steal a diamond from the Jewelry store. While running from the cops, Waylon bumps into Homer, and the diamond is knocked out of his hands. Homer’s daughter Maggie snatches the diamond in her mouth, which prompts Smithers to kidnap Maggie. The Simpson family then sets out on a wild goose chase to rescue Maggie; ready to fight whatever stands in their way.

In the game, 4 players take control of one of the 4 remaining Simpson family members; Homer, Marge, Bart, and Lisa. Each family member fights with a unique weapon; Marge fights with a vacuum, Bart attacks with his skateboard, Lisa wields her jump rope like a whip, and Homer fights with his fists. As the player, you must fight your way through several levels to get to Maggie; facing various enemies along the way. At the end of every level , there is a boss that must be defeated before you van progress to the next level. There are a variety items in which you can find and use to attack enemies and even regain health. Naturally you lose a life when you run out of health and face a game over when you run out of lives unless you use a continue. The number of continues you have depends on which game mode you are playing.

There are a variety of game modes and features in the re-release of The Simpsons Arcade Game. The game features both online and offline co-op for players to play with each other. After beating the American version of the game, players can unlock and play the Japanese version; which features more items and allows players to gain more health. Both versions feature 3 different modes which alters the game difficulty a bit. Quarters mode recreates the arcade experience by giving you a limited number of continues, while Free-Play mode gives you an unlimited amount of continues for a more casual experience. If you’re looking for a challenge, Survival mode gives you only one life and no continues. In addition to the game modes, there are unlockable rewards the player can earn for beating the game; such as game-related art and sound tests.

I hadn’t played The Simsposns Arcade Game in years, so it was nice to be able to play it again. It was quite a surprise though, because the game was quite different than I remember it to be. I was able to beat the game in less than two hours thanks to the game’s Free-Play mode. Back when I was a kid, I could never beat the game thanks to the limit number of quarters I had and my lack of skill (I was much younger after all). Boy have things changed since then. The game’s short length may seem like a let down, but it makes sense when you think about it. After all, it’s an arcade game that comes from a time in which video games didn’t last forever with their endless quests and exploration. Besides, the re-release features unlockables and other extras that make the game worth playing more than once.

If you enjoyed The Simpsons Arcade Game back in the day, or if you enjoy beat-em up style games, then this downloadable re-release is worth the $10 you’ll pay for it. Those who enjoy big, adventurous games may want to pass on it though. The Simpsons Arcade Game is rather short after all and the $10 might be better spent on game add-ons or other downloadable games. Despite this, it is still a fun game that is filled with nostalgia. As somebody who enjoyed playing The Simpsons Arcade Game in his youth, I was definitely happy to get my hands on it again after all these years.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Release Date Announced

If you’ve been waiting for the next World of Warcraft expansion pack, you won’t havge to wait much longer. Blizzard has announced that World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria will released  this year on September 25th. In addition to the standard edition, a collectors edition will be released; which will include a soundtrack cd, an art book, a mousepad, and a behind-the-scenes dvd.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria adds a brand new continent called Pandaria for players to explore. There will also be a brand new playable race called the Pandaren, who are a group of anthropomorphic pandas. The monk class is also being added to the game, which has player’s characters fighting with their fists rather than weapons. Other new features include pet battles, challenge modes, scenarios, and a revamped talent system.

I’m rather stoked about the new expansion pack. The monk class looks awesome, the Padarens are really cool, and the new continent Pandaria is quite beautiful. To tell you the truth, Mist of Pandaria is what got me interested in World of Warcraft in the first place. Some people complain and say that this expansion pack is a rip off of Kung Fu Panda. As for me, I think it’s going to add some really nice things to the World of Warcraft.

Are you excited about Mists of Pandaria or do you think it’s a lame rip-off of Kung Fu Panda?

Game Developers Benefit From Steam’s Sales

Steam is an online game distributer that sells games in which you can download to your computer. These games range from big name franchises to smaller games made by independent developers. Steam has become popular with consumers thanks to its ease of use and the special sales it has from time to time. Its annual sales have recently been proven to be not only popular with consumers but with game developers as well.

Today, gaming website Gamasutra interviewed various game developers whose products had been discounted in this year’s Steam Summer Sale. Some of these developers include Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer (Torchlight) and indie developer Edmund McMillen (Super Meat Boy and The Binding of Isaac). According to them, the sales not only helped increase revenue but also increased interest in their games. They found that consumers were even willing to buy their games at full price once the sales were over.

What makes this news interesting is the fact that not everybody is happy with Steam’s sales. In an interview with Gameindustry International, EA’s David DeMartini criticized Steam’s annual discounts; claiming it cheapens intellectual property. What’s funny about this is that David DeMartini is the head of Origin; an online game distributer is owned by EA. He was obviously  making a jab at his competitor in the interview. Based on how well developers are benefiting from Steam, though, I’m believe that Mr. DeMartini will have his foot in his mouth in no time.

Final Fantasy Versus 13 is Still Alive

Last weekend, rumors started flying around that Final Fantasy Versus 13 had been cancelled. The rumor was spearheaded by the popular gaming website Kotaku, who claims that several sources told them that the game is no longer in development. Naturally, the news upset many fans that had been waiting for the game’s release since it was announced back in 2006. Fans will be happy to know, however, that the rumors are not true at all.

Today, Square-Enix CEO Yoichi Wada confirmed on Twitter today that Final Fantasy Versus 13 is still in production. (Kotaku was kind enough to offer a translation) In his tweet, Yoichi stated “There’s someone making a false rumour that Versus was cancelled. Haha… just a minute ago, the regular Versus meeting ended. If you saw the presentation of the city, it’d knock you off your feet – lol.” Based on his statement, the game may be farther in development than people had perceived.

Despite being untrue, it’s understandable why the rumors of Final Fantasy Versus 13’s cancellation were started in the first place. Little has been said about the game since Square-Enix revealed it back in 2006. Being left in the dark for 6 years is bound to leave a bit of doubt in some people. Hopefully Suare-Enix will take a hint and prepare something to show fans that Final Fantasy Versus 13 is in fact still alive.

The Sims Medieval Review: A Medieval Letdown

I have been the biggest fan of The Sims series for as long as I can remember. It should be no surprise then that I got excited when the spin-off game, The Sims Medieval, was announced. I mean, it’s a Sims game set in the medieval times; how cool is that?!? I went ahead, preordered the game, and impatiently waited for its arrival.  When The Sims Medieval finally came in the mail, I frantically ripped open the box, open the game case, popped the game right into my PC, and started playing. Unfortunately, the game ended up disappointing me. While I did find The Sims Medieval fun, it was not as good as I hoped it would be.

The basic premise of The Sims Medieval is to build a kingdom and meet your kingdom’s ambition. An ambition is basically the ultimate goal you want your kingdom to achieve. These goals range from maximizing your kingdom’s renown (reputation), to annexing as many foreign territories as possible. You work to achieve this goal by doing quests and expanding your kingdom. While most of the quests have you playing just as one hero, some of them require you to play multiple heroes at one. Some quests require you to use a particular hero, so you’ll have to unlock that hero first before you can do the quest. When you complete a quest, you receive a medal and resource points based on your performance. Resource points are used to build things in your kingdom, such as a knight’s barracks, a town square or a marketplace. Expanding your kingdom not only improves its status but also unlocks other heroes for you to play as.

When you first build your kingdom, the only hero you can play as is the Monarch, but as I said before, expanding your kingdom gives you more heroes to choose from. Besides the Monarch, you can play as a Knight, a Spy, a Wizard, a Priest, a Bard, a Blacksmith, a Doctor, and a Merchant. Each hero has their own unique abilities and interactions. The Sims Medieval features an experience system in which heroes gain experience and level up as they complete quests and duties throughout the game.  Leveling up improves a heroes abilities and makes it easier to complete certain tasks. Some of these tasks include crafting items from ingredients found in the kingdom, or sparring with other heroes in a sword fight. While these things don’t make The Sims Medieval a fully-fledged roleplaying game, they do help add a little sustenance to the game’s medieval setting.

Aside from its roleplaying elements, The Sims Medieval sports the simulation aspects that The Sims series is known for. Heroes can develop relationships with the Kingdom’s NPCs (Non-Playable Characters) and end up becoming friends, enemies, or even lovers with them. They can even get married and have children if you so desire. The needs system also makes a return; requiring you to make sure your Hero’s daily needs are met. The only difference in The Sims Medieval is that your Heroes must fulfill their needs using medieval technology. The game is set in the medieval times after all. Finally, The Sims Medieval has a Create-a-Hero mode that let’s’ you make your own Heroes to use in the game. With this, you can put yourself in the game or just about anybody else you can imagine. Of course if you’re not in the mood, you can just use the pre-made heroes the game offers.

Despite its attempt at offering the “official” medieval experience, The Sims Medieval ends up falling short. Rather than offering you the tools to build the kingdom of your dreams, the game takes the reins and places buildings for you in the exact same place every time you play. You don’t even get to choose how the buildings look like either. The only thing the game lets you customize is the interior of the buildings. Another problem I had with The Sims Medieval is that the game kind of cheats you out of the action. Let me give you an example. Rather than get to fight a dragon yourself, the game will show you a “slideshow” of your hero killing the dragon. That’s right; you see a picture of somebody fighting a dragon instead of fighting it yourself. Kind of a rip off if you ask me.

In the end, The Sims Medieval is fun to play, but doesn’t offer you the full medieval experience. The game also has a hard time appealing to its target audience. It doesn’t have enough RPG elements to satisfy the RPG fan and it doesn’t have the simulation aspects that The Sims series is known for. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give the game a try. The Sims Medieval is still fun despite its flaws and there’s defiantly plenty of humor as well. If you’re expecting a game that features in-depth customization and action-packed adventure, however, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Minecraft for Xbox 360 Sells 3 Million Copies

My brothers love playing Minecraft. If you don’t know what Minecraft is, it’s an online sandbox game where you build all sorts of things and fight monsters that come out at night. Anyway, my brothers started playing it last year on the computer and bought the Xbox version of the game back in May. The Xbox version is quite popular apparently, as the game has sold over 3 million copies since it’s launch.

The sale numbers were announced on Twitter today by Minecraft’s creator, Markus Persson. What makes the triple platinum feat so impressive in my opinion is the fact that Minecraft is a downloadable title. Generally, I don’t see downloadable games selling as much as hardcopy games (with some casual games, such as Angry Birds, being the exception). The sales numbers for Minecraft suggest otherwise, however, so I may be wrong.

All though I don’t play Minecraft, I can see why it’s so popular. The game features a multiplayer mode that allows gamers to play with each other online. Combine that with Minecraft’s open-world gameplay and you got players making their own fun together for who knows how long. My brothers and friends keep suggesting that I should play Minecraft, so perhaps it’s time that I join them.

Man Dies After Playing Diablo 3 for 40 Hours

They say that too much of a good thing can do you harm; and while I do agree with that statement, I’ve never really given it much thought. This is especially true when it comes to my favorite hobby: playing video games. After recent a recent event that happened two days ago, however, I can see where the saying comes from. A Taiwanese man, who has only been identified by his surname Chuang, has died in from playing Diablo 3 for 40 hours straight.

According to The Australian, the 18-year-old booked a private room at a café in Tainan, Taiwan on July 13th. He then proceeded to play Diablo 3 for nearly 2 days, without stopping to eat or sleep. On July 15th, a café employee found Chuang sleeping and woke him up. Chuang walked a few steps, but then collapsed and was take to a hospital. He was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.

Police are currently investigating the cause of his death and speculate that sitting for hours may have caused heart problems for Chuang. It makes sense when you think about it. He was play a video game for 40 hours straight after all!

All though I know the situation is rather sad, I don’t understand how someone can play a video game for nearly 2 days straight. Yes, I do play video games for long periods of time, but I generally start to feel uncomfortable after sitting for an hour or two. I don’t see how the man went without sleep or food for so long either. Make me go a day without the two and I’m one mean jerk! Nevertheless, my heart goes out to Chuang’s friends and family.

How long do you usually play video games for? Do you think you could play for 40 hour straight?

Saints Row 3 Review: Mayhem, Perversion, Fun

Every once in a while, you just want to play a video game that lets you do a bunch of crazy thing. When I say crazy things, I mean causing a whole lot of nonsense in the digital world. Saints Row: the Third knows that’s what you want and caters to it. It’s a game that deliberately throws all kinds of perverted humor in your face and allows you cause uncanny mayhem just for the sake of fun. But enough about that; let me explain why Saints Row 3 is fun.

Saints Row 3 puts you in the shoes of the Boss, the leader (who is male or female, depending on your choice) of a gang called the 3rd Street Saints. The Saints are big celebrities; having their own merchandise and a movie deal in the works. This all changes, however, when the gang attempts to rob a bank owned by a crime organization called the Syndicate. After escaping the clutches of the Syndicate, the boss and his friends find themselves in the Syndicate controlled city of Steelport. Not willing to be pushed around the Syndicate, the Saints decide to takeover Steelport and bring the Syndicate down.

Since Saints Row 3 is a sandbox game, you will spend most of their time roaming the city of Steelport. To advance the story, players must complete missions which involve them doing different tasks to take down the Syndicate. Doing missions not only advances the story, but gives you rewards as well; such as new weapons, vehicles, or activities to participate in. Speaking of activities, there are a wide variety of things you can do in addition to missions. Some of these things involve committing insurance fraud, doing some drug trafficking , and even rescuing hookers from pimps. Completing activities rewards you with cash and respect, which is used to buy upgrades and perks for your character (such as extra health or unlimited ammo).

In addition to letting you cause great amounts of mayhem, Saints Row 3 offers a nice deal of customization. Players can create their character; choosing not only their gender and looks, but their voice and animations as well. You can purchase apparel in various shops in Steelport and even get plastic surgery if you want to change your character’s look. Saints Row 3 allows you to share your character online and download characters other players have created. Aside from customizing your character, you can customize your vehicles, your hideouts, and even the look of your gang.

Roaming the streets of Steelport can be fun, but it can be even more fun with a friend! Saints Row 3 features a co-op mode that allows you to play with another friend. Players can team up and cause all kinds of commotion in the game. Activities can be completed by working together, and you both will earn rewards for doing so. Mission can also be done together, but only the host progresses in the story. If the players want to, they can split up and do their own thing the game world. The downside to co-op mode is that only two people can play with each other at a time, but at least it’s better than nothing.

Despite the outrageous fun it has to offer, Saints Row 3 does have its flaws. The story is rather disappointing compared to previous installments in the Saints Row franchise. It starts out strong but ends up falling really short. There is a real lack of build up to the climax, which itself is somewhat of a letdown. The missions can be repetitive too; but they’re still fun thankfully.

In the end, Saints Row 3 is a fun game that mix outrageous gameplay with wild, perverted humor. You’ll have a blast causing all sorts of mayhem and destruction across Steelport. This may not be the best narrative you‘ll experience, but it will certainly take you for a ride if you let it. If you’re looking to unwind and let off some steam, Saints Row 3 may be the game for you.

Bioware Offering a Free Trial of Star Wars: The Old Republic

I’ve been eager to play Star Wars: The Old Republic since it came out last Christmas. Despite this, I’ve been reluctant to buy it due to the price of the game and it‘s subscription fees. Thanks to a recent change by Bioware, however, I’ll be able to get a taste of Star Wars: The Old Republic for free. Bioware is offering a free trial of the game for those who have not played it already.

Although there is no time limit to the trial, it does come with some restrictions. For one, players can only raise their characters’ level to 15. They can only play in their characters’ origin world, capital world, all Warzones, the Fleet, and their first flashpoint as well. In addition, players cannot trade with other players, send or reply to mail, or use certain chat functions in the game. Finally, a player’s character cannot raise their Crew Skills over level 40 and they cannot gain Legacy XP.

Despite these limitations, I am happy that Bioware is giving gamers a chance to try out The Old Republic for free. It gives us a chance to get a taste of the game and decide whether we want to buy the game or not. This is also a great way for Bioware to attract new players as well. Now if you will excuse me, I have a free trial I have to test out.

Rockstar Releases New Grand Theft Auto 5 Images

Fans of the Grand Theft Auto series have been impatiently waiting for Grand Theft Auto 5; especially after Rockstar announced it last Fall. No release date has been given, however, so we have no idea when the game is set to be released. To make matters worse, Rockstar hasn’t said anything else about GTA 5 since it was announced. Well today, that silence has finally been broken, and a bit of information about Grand Theft Auto 5 has been revealed.

Today, Rockstar posted an article on their website; sharing two new photos from GTA 5.  The images show some locations in Los Santos, the fictional city GTA 5 takes place in.  Rockstar stated that they will release more information about the game soon. They also answered various questions given to them by fans, and apologized for the long development times of their games.

It’s quite nice of Rockstar to do this sort of thing for the fans. All though I don’t really care about GTA 5, I do understand what it is like to be anxiously excited about a new video game. Sometimes it seems like it’s going to be forever before they are released. Still, I’d rather a game company take their time making a great game rather than making a rushed, piece of garbage.

Are you excited about GTA 5? What would you like to see in the game?