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Archive for November, 2009

Better Know a Gamer: #33: Jessibaby1986

November 18th, 2009

Hold your applause, and don’t forget to breathe. She’s not the first one we’ve had here, but she’s another “rare specimen” – we have a Girl Gamer for the 33rd iteration of Better Know a Gamer. I’ll let her tell you who she is…


Nu: What’s your Gamertag, and what’s the story behind it?
My Gamertag is Jessibaby1986, one of my nicknames is Jessi baby, and 1986 is the year I was born

Nu: Where are you from, how old are you, and what do you do (school, job, family, hobbies)?
I’m from South East Pennsylvania, I work at a local grocery store, paint custom faceplates in my spare time, and collect vintage gaming systems.

Nu: I own a VirtualBoy – is that vintage, yet? Or still just crap? How long have you been gaming in general?
I’ve been gaming since the age of 3 started with the Atari and NES, and from there it was love :P

Nu: How long have you been a 360 owner?
I’ve had the 360 for 5 years now…only been connected to Live for 3 years though.

Nu: The 360 hasn’t officially had it’s 4th birthday… time travel!? Somone check her gamercard tenure number! What was one of your favorite Xbox / Xbox Live moments?
Hmm…well that is a tough one to answer…there have been so many. Though if I have to pick one it’d be getting to know people that I’d have never gotten to know other wise.

Nu: Which Xbox 360 Achievement are you most proud of?
That would have to be my “All 4 Dead” on Left 4 Dead got that 11/2/2009 but it was just so awesome to get it :D

Nu: Are you currently working toward any achievements?
I’m currently working toward one that has been avoiding me for the past 3.5 years… Guildmaster, Thieves Guild. I should have had it but for a corrupted game file… I missed it. So it’s now my goal to get it by the new year.

Nu: Yikes, goodluck on that! Some Oblivion achievements just seem better left alone, to me! What game(s) are you playing the most now?
Halo 3 ODST, Left 4 Dead, and Oblivion. Those are my current top 3.

Nu: What’s playing now (what music do you listen to when away from your Xbox or when listening to music ON your Xbox)?
I’ve actually been building a playlist of music recommended to me by friends…its got a little bit of everything.

Nu: Do you try to stick with one Gamerpic, or change it frequently?
Everytime I change my avatar I change my Gamerpic

Nu: What is your current favorite Xbox related website to visit?
I guess it would be www.DeltaChronicles.com they are a pretty good Halo 3 machinma!

Nu: What upcoming game are you looking most forward to?
Most definitely Left 4 Dead 2… I know its in a few weeks only… but I can’t wait to use the AK47!

Nu: Do you have an all time favorite game, for any console or the PC?
I guess it would be a toss up between The Legend Of Zelda series and the Halo series.

Nu: Excellent choices. People give a lot of flak about the Halo series, but they really have stepped up some story telling aspects of video games! Do you have any gaming buddies you frequently play with / want to make almost as famous as you?
The one I’d like to mention here would be MASSACRE001 he’s the one behind Delta Chronicles, a really cool guy!

Nu: Any parting words for the droves of readers?
Live, Laugh, Love, Game!

Nu: Words to live by… and laugh by… and… you get the idea. – Well, many thanks go to today’s guest, Jessibaby1986.


As always, you can nominate yourself or someone you know to be featured in Better Know a Gamer.

Xbox Live vs. PSN: you get what you pay for!

November 17th, 2009

My head just hurts, sometimes. Whether it was this weekend’s Belicheck’s Bad Decision, or problems in the video games industry, I just want to lock my doors and hide sometimes. Infinity Ward Community Manager Robert Bowling says that the Playstation Network collapsed under too many players in Modern Warfare 2. He explained in multiple Tweets that they had to bring more servers online, supporting 20,000 users at a time. Even Glenn & Mark over at PS Nation Podcast spent more than a couple of minutes venting about the problems. My biggest complaint is that the folks at Sony clearly had no idea this was coming.

Even Sony is so used to their attachment rate being so low that the glorified BluRay player stigma has even reached into the depths of their PlayStation Network operations center.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s people were on hand and watching the numbers climb, they were prepared, and they set the record of 2 million concurrent users on Xbox Live. Two million people using one unified service at one time. Meanwhile, the PlayStation network experienced so many problems that they had to start enabling extra servers. Go green as much as you want, but you didn’t think that maybe you should have had those servers online in preparation for such an event, then toned down the extras later?

Sony just proves, time and time again, that they are racing to play catch up with Microsoft’s Xbox Live service. Just weeks after announcing the Netflix Disc, Sony has confirmed that t heir next Firmware update will include a standalone Facebook program. Great, they get to mimic one of Xbox 360′s least demanded features, good for them. Oh, I’m sorry, when was the feature demanded since the 2007 launch, cross-game chat, coming to the PS3? Oh, right, it’s still not. It is even to a point where, even as a PlayStation 3 owner, I’m genuinely disgusted with their service. I don’t care how tired this argument is, I’m going to state the simple fact again. If it would make it better, CHARGE ME FOR IT! People are ready to take that hit, it’s obvious.

Sony passes up a gigantic revenue stream in favor of trying to look like Mr. Nice Guy. While Xbox Live costs $50 annually, and games like World of Warcraft end up costing their players a minimum of $150 each year, Sony insists that they should remain free, but it is obvious that this budget minded plan is only hurting them, and if they want to be taken seriously as anything more than my BluRay player, Sony is undoubtedly going to have to step things up in 2010, or pack in the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation Network and start laying all new groundwork to make the PlayStation 4 regain the pride the the Sony PlayStation name once carried.

Better Know a Gamer: #32: LegionNinja

November 16th, 2009

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since we’ve highlighted another member of the great Xbox Live community, so I’m here with LegionNinja to get things done with our 32nd installment of Better Know a Gamer!


Nu: What’s your Gamertag, and what’s the story behind it?
LegionNinja – not really a story, but I wanted something that I thought sounded good.


Nu: Where are you from, how old are you, and what do you do (school, job, family, hobbies)?
I’m 25, from Urbandale, Iowa. I am currently not employed. I like being on my computer and Xbox 360.


Nu: How long have you been gaming in general?
I have been gaming since I was 4 years old.


Nu: How long have you been a 360 owner?
Since it launched, in 2005.


Nu: Early adopters take risks, but I think we can safely say the 360 was a good choice! What was one of your favorite Xbox / Xbox Live moments?
Killing Desynch (a moderator at #chat on MajorNelson.com‘s irc channel) in GTA multiple times.


Nu: Excellent choice! There are just some days when you feel warm’n’fuzzy after killing someone! Which Xbox 360 Achievement are you most proud of?
Acheivements don’t really matter to me.


Nu: You’re certainly not the first person to think that. More of a gaming purist! I can respect that. What game(s) are you playing the most now?
Grand Theft Auto IV, and forza Motorsport 3.


Nu: What’s playing now (what music do you listen to when away from your Xbox or when listening to music ON your Xbox)?
My selection is different every time.


Nu: Do you try to stick with one Gamerpic, or change it frequently?
I tend to stick to one.


Nu: What is your current favorite Xbox related website to visit?
MajorNelson.com of course!


Nu: What upcoming game are you looking most forward to?
1vs100. I was in the beta for that.


Nu: Great answer! It’s way more fun than people give it credit for, Do you have an all time favorite game, for any console or the PC?
There.com, and SecondLife.


Nu: Do you have any gaming buddies you frequently play with / want to make almost as famous as you?
Shadowedghost, Jessibaby1986, and Desynch.


Nu: Any parting words for the droves of readers?
LEEEEEEEEROY Jenkins!


Nu: Couldn’t have said it better myself. ;) Thanks for taking part in BKAG, and don’t forget that you, too, can nominate someone to be interviewed in Better Know a Gamer!

The Backorder Bonus: Halo Wars (360)

November 12th, 2009

That’s right folks, it’s a Backorder Bonus! This time, the bonus download codes are for the Flame Decal Warthogs available in Halo Wars. We’ve only got Five to give away, so check down below for the details!

This one is unlike some of the other “Backorder” articles, because I haven’t made it very far in the game yet. The others, so far, I had either completed or played a large chunk of the game. Halo Wars was something I just recently decided to get back in to. I have had it sitting on my rack of games for months, with so many other games to play first, but perhaps it was the release of Halo Waypoint that pushed me over the edge. I have to squeeze a little bit of gamerscore out of this game!

Graphically the game does a lot to impress. Even though everything is scaled down with the overhead view, your favorite character types are still recognizable and still behave as they would when you encounter them in any other part of the Halo Universe. A new perspective on other things like Scarabs also adds a lot to the battle!

The control scheme isn’t always a popular topic, but when it comes to real time strategy games on the console, everyone has been worried. This may not be the new defacto standard, but is an excellent step in the right direction, with quick to access and easy to navigate menus, I was very impressed with how well the game has handled thus far!

I’m a sucker for CG, and I can’t wait for more of the Halo Universe storyline to unfold before my very eyes with some impressive voice acting and excellent imagery.

The Backorder Bonus: To win one of FIVE “Flame Decal Warthog” DLC codes, you’re going to have to get just a little creative. You’ll notice in the game that characters will sometimes blurt something out, whether it’s right after they are ‘created’ or right after they get a kill, or sometimes when under attack. This is the opportunity where the game developers can get a little crazy and have a laugh, add humorous lines. Now it’s your turn: let’s say you were IN the game, and you were a driver or gunner on the Flame Decal Warthog? What would your ‘tagline’ be? A funny saying? A war-cry? If you were under attack, would you have to say “it’s getting hot in here!”? What’s your Flame-Hog catch-phrase?

Also, as with any contest, make sure you leave me some way of contacting you (Gamertag, Twitter account, etc…) and please specify what it is, don’t just leave a name at the bottom! I’ll randomly select 4 of the 5 winners, with 1 winner of course being my favorite submission! The EARLIEST drawings will take place on November 14th, 2009, and will not end until all 5 codes are given away – if there are not 5 entries, consider the contest open until noted otherwise! Submit and win!

Note: Due to the nature of DLC codes, it is likely that these codes will only work in North America, so any entrants from outside the United States or Canada, please note that when you submit – if necessary, I will try to come up with alternative prizes!

The Backorder: Killzone (PS2)

November 11th, 2009

I’ve got some kind of OCD when it comes to series. If it’s music, I prefer to collect entire discographies and rare albums. When I was in to trading cards, I had several complete series in my collections. If it’s a movie, I’ll buy the boxed set! Games are rarely different. I want to know about a game, it’s history, it’s characters, it’s story. I had no idea that picking up the original Killzone for PS2 was going to be such a terrible decision.

I won’t waste any time with a long “review” of this game, since not many people are going to care. Graphically, the game could have larned a lot from Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64. The game used very low resolution textures that were very grainy, some characters looked down right polka-dotted in an attempt to optomize graphical memory. The most visually impressive thing in the game was how many people were displayedon the screen at one time. When the Helghast began storming you, true, they would come in waves of 4-8, but for the time it was a technical feat! Unreal Engine 3 might allow hundreds to thousands of characters on screen at one time, but I was admittedly impressed with this feature.

That’s where it ends, though. The sound effects were terrible, the voice acting was a joke. Even the banter in-game got old in the first mission. I hoped that in later levels, the game would pull from other sound libraries, but it’s more annoying than Left For Dead players anouncing that they’re reloading… again.

The story hasn’t been bad, so far, but the volume of levels is something I never thought I would complain about in my life. I love single plaer campaigns. But this game feels so much like torture, it’s hard to go on. I have not completed the game, and I don’t know that I will. The level design is the most painful thing about the game. The checkpoints are in odd, distant places. If you die, you could end up replaying a 20 minute chunk of the game. Characters repeatedly say “we should go that way” – but the AI never takes point, and the Heads Up Display in the game has absoluely no navigational markers. I spent ten minutes trying to figure out where to go, before giving up on the game for the night. The next day, I realized I was trying to go the correct way all along, but some disc error had prevented me from continuing through the level!

Killzone 2 is an award winning title, and when I get my hands on it, it had better not let me down. I had heard it was a mediocre sequel to a mediocre shooter. But in m experience with Killzone on the PS2, even mediocre will be a step in the right direction!

The Backorder: The Conduit (Wii)

November 9th, 2009

When I first got my hands The Conduit for the Wii, I was excited for all of the great things I had heard about it. Core gamers were supposed to be pleased, hardcore gaming had finally come to the Wii.

Maybe it shouldn’t have been surprised when I was let down in the end. Maybe my expectations were too high all along. But there was so much build up, hype, and even the screenshots made it look glorious! I thought I finally had a reason to dust off the Wii and get excited.

Let’s talk story: it uses every single Sci-Fi stereotype, rehashed and retold stories for about the ten thousandth time. Ever seen an episode of The X-Files? Good, then you’re up to speed. The characters do nothing to make me care, instead it even feels like the game is trying to hrry me through the storyline so that I won’t notice just how bland it is.

Graphically, the game looks about right fo the hardware specs of the Wii. People hate adding “…for a Wii game” behind every other line of their articles, but the fact remains that the Wii is not up to par with other current generation systems. If this game were competing with a PS2 title, hands down it would look fantastic, but the generic enemies and redundant environments did nothing to wow me.

I thought the ssound effects would be the game’ saving grace, and while many weapon and environment sounds were impressive, the terrible voice acting was inexcusable. In a post Uncharted era, the bar has been set.

The game itself has interesting play mechanics, and I did not feel as though I as being forced to ‘waggle’ my way through the game. It was intelligent use of the control scheme, although I still was hoping for something just a little different. More people want to see a shooter on the Wii that doesn’t force the crosshair to go all over the screen, but remain centered as it does with other first person shooters. so far, the best entries to the Wii-Shooter category, The Conduit and Red Steel, both had you shooting all over like a generic light gun game.

I don’t do a lot of multiplayer, but since the experience was supposed to be so unique, I wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately, my first spawn in to a multiplayer match placed me either directly over top of another player or in a wall, or something. I was completely unable to move. I have not returned to the multiplayer menu since.

Maybe if I get Dead Space Extraction on the Wii, soon, I will have my faith in the Wii restored. but right now, rather than suffer through what should have been a better game, I will return to the game I know is laughable, but still fun: the House of the Dead combo pack with the Nyko perfect shot attached to my Wii Remote. It’s like i’m standing in the movie theater arcade all over again!

Netflix Disc on the Playstation 3

November 8th, 2009

Netflix recently announced they would be releasing a disc that let you play Netflix Instant Que movies directly on your PS3. All you had to do was sign up and get a free disc. The discs have already shipped and I’ve had a little bit of time to play around with it.

The disc does not recognize as a PS3 game as I had expected, but instead of a movie disc. BluRay’s BD-Live features enables a lot of new abilities for physical media, so I believe this makes up the backbone of the disc. However, I did place this in a Blu-Ray capable PC. It loaded up as a standard BluRay movie, displayed the Netflix logo splash screen, then froze the software. I may continue down this path just to see what else the disc offers.

As far as using the disc on the Playstation 3, it will prompt you to visit the Netflix website and enter a hardware identification code that thge PS3 displays on your TV, once you do this, it will log you in to the Netflix system. Your queued movies will be available, along with several lists of new releases ande popular movies.

The interface is very similar to the web-based interface that Netflix offers, with horizontal sliding tiles. Unfortunately, I found it to be very slow and clunky. This process could have been made much more fluid, and scrolling through large lists seems to take it’s precious time. Netflix passes on key information about videos watched, or if you were part way through watching a movie, it will even offer you the ability to resume the movie from where you were on another device (Xbox or web-baed player).

The video controls the output resolution of the playstation, and while I have not checked on any high definition video content, it seemed to work well for widescreen and completely standard definition (4:3) videos that I have watched.

Friday, while tinkering, I had run in to an interesting problem. I tried to watch a movie on my Xbox 360 – for some reason, no matter how many times I stopped and rebuffered the, the audio never came through. When I tried on the PS3 Netflix disc, the video played, but there was a few seconds of delay in the audio. I did not proceed to check the video on the web-based player.

Pressing the triangle button during movie playback will bring up the familiar DVD/Video controls of the PS3, but pressing the wrong button will take you back to the Playstation’s XMB, not just back to the Netflix Menu.

While I think the Netflix disc is a good start, the better decision would have probably been to make it more of a PS3 game disc, rather than a BD-Live disc. This way, patches and title updates could have easily been applied to the disc – I do not know if BD-Live affords them the same options. A new discmay have to be manufactured every time they want to change the format, it seems as though it could become very costly. All in all, I want a little more experience with it, but it’s a decent little addition to my netflix playing abilities (my 360, my PC, and my PS3 all hooked up to the same TV!). I was glad to check it out, but I don’t expect to get up and pop in my disc every time I want to watch a movie that’s supposed to be “On Demand.” I’ll most likely stick with the Xbox 360 client.

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