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Welcome to Rapture, now get the hell out!

I'm trying to decide whether I should be excited over the announcement of the next Bioshock. While I loved the first game in concept from most everything I've read the second game was largely an unnecessary rehash (before anyone rushes to the latter game's defense know I haven't actually played it, because I still haven't finished the first game. I may love the concept, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired). So the idea of a third sequel sends off warning signals in my head.

That being said, the new trailer looks good (though what trailer doesn't really?). And while it's easy to crack jokes about how the game will be 'Splicers on a Plane' at least they actually realized how implausible it was for a decaying underwater city to somehow continue to exist.

Perhaps this this game might be the one that actually adds elements and expands the series properly. Either way, I'm probably not picking up this game at launch.

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NiGHTS: Can I Enter the Dream Yet?

For all the games I've ever played, there are at least five more I really wish that I had. I've been working hard to make up for what I've missed, but there are some titles that are harder to track down then others. Like pretty much anything on the Sega Saturn.

Since that oft-maligned console was damn near impossible to emulate until relatively recently, it meant that the only way to play Saturn games was the old fashioned way. This wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that the old-fashioned way quickly becomes the really-expensive way. Like the triple digits kind of expensive.

Could be worse, I could be collecting NEO GEO carts

Anyway, the end result of this is despite actually owning a Saturn, I have very few games to play. This is why I picked up  NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams, the Wii-exclusive sequel to the original NiGHTS Into Dreams, when I saw it on sale for about $10 used. I had always wanted to play NiGHTS, at the very least to understand what it was and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so.

Boy how wrong was I.
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There have been a lot of strange video game boycotts lately, but this one tops them all. Apparently there's a group of Sonic fans that feel, based upon the scant screens and videos released, that Sonic the Hedgehog 4 *cough* Episode 1 *cough* will not be the true return to form for the series and should be boycotted by all True Fans. So basically, they're in stage two of the Sonic cycle.

A scientifically documented process

What makes this protest notable is that the boycotters plan to make their displeasure known on Sonic 4's launch day by buying the original Sonic the Hedgehog. Let's have the rabble rouser speak for themselves on the matter:

Fans of the sonic series are like most sega fans, we want their old games brought back to the glory days when sega was pretty much the power in video games. Seeing the gameplay of sonic 4 has made many of us realize what we already knew, Sonic 4 will simply not be anywhere near as good as the original sonic games. Either way, We will decide to finally show sega what the fans truly want. A real sonic 4, as long as sonic 4 stays the way it is, we will not buy it, we will in fact buy sonic 1 on release in protest of sonic 4, till we end up with a re tool, or change, we want sonic in hd, not sonic RUSH HD. We will not buy a future sonic game, till we get a true successor to sonic 1/2

I think I have to take back my earlier comment. I think these guys have jumped straight to stage three.

Destructoid via 1up

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It's Boss Time! Also, Blog Posting Time!

So this week herald the arrival of the tenth installment in the Mega Man series. With a new Mega Man game comes eight new robot masters to fight. And what better way to celebrate the arrival of eight new old school bosses to fight then by profiling them?

Why the box art? Because the only Mega Man 10 boss lineup pictures I could find were fanmakes

Except I can't because I haven't managed to beat any of them yet. Okay that's not true. I did beat Sheep Man, which is an act that is much more impressive then it sounds.

In any case, since the game hasn't even been out for a week it's probably too soon to profile the bosses from that game anyway. So instead will take a look at arguable the hardest boss from the previous installment in the series.

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Rare Seasons Greetings from Me

It's been a while since I've written here. I'm kinda disappointed about how I've lapsed in my writing, but not only has it been a busy time of year, it's been a really busy time in my life. In the span of only a few months I've gotten a new job, lost my dog, had my car die on me, gained two new dogs, along with many other little changes that accumulated over time.  Oh, and that big blizzard last Friday didn't help things either.

However, I'm not writing tonight just to whine about how I don't have time to write.  I actually have quite the opposite in mind.  I want to affirm that no mater how many things pile up or steal my attention I still want to write dammit!

So why am I making this declaration now?  Well the sarcastic answer is that I don't want to wait until New Years to make a declaration, but the honest answer is I don't really know.  

I'd say that it's because of Christmas, but that seems like such a cop out answer, even if it's more then a little bit true.

I guess I'm starting to ramble now.  Too much stream of consciousness twitter posting, but I suppose it's better to write and ramble then to...uh not write and stay silent?  Seems like my metaphor skills have atrophied a little.  I'll have to work on them later, but in any case...

Merry Christmas!

And if perchance you don't celebrate it....

Happy day where a about a third of the world does nothing productive, and if you live an an area where part of that third is the majority, then you pretty much get a day off by proxy!

Hmm, seems like my snappy one-liner skills need work too.

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As much as I like shmups, there is a certain point when they all start to blend together. It doesn't help that most recent entries into the genre are all bullet hell games.

Don't get me wrong, I like the challenge of weaving through a massive wall of bullets. It's just that I like some variety to my shmup palette. Which is why an indie game called Boss Rush seems so appealing to me.

The warning messages are a nice touch

Now looking at the above image you might be thinking, "So what? The game looks like every shmup ever." This would be true except that you're not playing as the lightly armed (and even more lightly armored) ship trying to kill the giant boss armed with more guns then god. No, you're controlling actually the boss and using your excessive firepower to swat the annoying fighter that's trying to paper cut you to death.

It's such a neat and obvious inversion of the tradition shmup formula that I'm surprised no one's really done before. The only other game I can think of that attempted anything similar was an obscure arcade game (even by my standards) by Sammy called Change Air Blade, and there you could only temporarily control a boss in the game's versus mode.

Boss Rush on the other hand, seems to be all about playing as the boss (though there seems to be a versus mode if you want to rain bullets on a friend). It has five different engines of death for you to control as was a bunch of challenges and a survival mode if you want to see just how long you can last.

While the game is technically done it hasn't been released yet since the developer is looking for a sponsor. Hopefully the developers will get a deal soon, because I'd love to be able to play the full game.

Paper Dino via A Little Bit on the Awesome Side

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Today we've officially reached the end of an era for the Internet: GeoCities is dead.  Yes, Yahoo finally pulled the plug on the free web hosting service.  While the news is sad, it's certainly not unexpected.  How many people out there actually visited, much less created or maintained, a GeoCities site in the past five years?

This is pretty much every GeoCites Page ever

While GeoCities ultimately became cesspool of bad layouts, broken images, blinking text and those little animated "under construction" gifs, it still deserves some respect.  GeoCities attempted to provide an outlet for the major creative outpouring that occurred at the beginning of the public Internet.  Their ambition wasn't just to create a free hosting service though, they wanted create a virtual global community.  If you have any doubts, then just look back at some of the original terminology they used.  Their users were called "homesteaders" and their sites were grouped into "neighborhoods."  Heck, their very own name embodies the idea of a single global city.

In retrospect, they were doomed to fail from day one.
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This console generation has been rough to Sony.  They went to the trouble of trying to make an uberconsole in the form of the Playstation 3, only to watch it get its pants beat by Ninendo's underpowered, yet lovably oddball Wii.  Then they had to stand by and watch as their third-party exclusive titles like Devil May Cry IV and Final Fantasy XIII suddenly suddenly became less exclusive.  And let's not even get into the emotional ball kick that was the announcement of Dragon Quest IX would be a Nintendo DS exclusive.  That had to drive more then a few Sony employees to go drown their sorrows.

My point is that Sony has to take their comforts where they can get them, like how their console isn't prone to catastrophic mechanical failures like that other guy's one.  After all, Sony would never put out a product without checking for massive design flaws, right?

Oops: The Last Word you Ever Want to Hear in Engineering

What you're looking at is the Yellow Light of Death, which occurs when the soldering on the Playstation 3's motherboard overheats.  This renders the system completely inoperable, short of a trip back to Sony for repairs.  A trip that will cost you about $150 if your system is out of warranty, which is likely given that it only lasts for a year.  If this problem seems oddly similar to the Red Ring of Death suffered by Microsoft's Xbox 360 console that's because it's the exact same thing.

Sony is handling the problem with the grace an dignity of any large corporate entity, which is a nice way of saying they're sticking their fingers in their ears and yelling, "LA LA LA! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

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Do you remember the Super Mario Bros. Super Show?  Of course you do.  Anyone who had an NES and a pulse watched that show religiously back in the day.  They ignored the fact that the plot lines were contrived fairy tale/movie/whatever parodies of the week simply because it was Mario in cartoon form.

Nowadays though, most people deride the show cheap cash in it basically was.  It didn't help that since every episode was a parody of something, they often felt like they had nothing to do with Mario (Nintendo must have noticed this too, since later Mario series would be much more game orientated).  If there is any part of the show that is remembered with any fondness though, it was the show's live-action segments featuring wrestler Captain Lou Albano as Mario.

It kind of amazing that Nintendo got him to shave his beard for this

Unlike the cartoon, these segments were more like a sit-com with Mario and Luigi (played by Danny Wells) siting at home, while occasionally receiving celebrity guest stars including Vanna White, Magic Johnson and Sgt. Slaughter.

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When Sony got rid of Ken Kutaragi, I thought it would leave an unfillable void of hyperbole in the gaming industry.  I hadn't counted on how many other execs would come rushing to fill it.  Like Peter Moore, Microsoft's former chief PR guy, who claims that disc-based systems are a "burning platform" and those that stay on the platform "face certain death."

Seriously, just look at this:

“The core business model of videogames is a burning platform,” said Moore, speaking at the 5th annual PLAY Digital Media Conference.

“Look at the platform we’re on, it’s a burning platform,” said Moore. “As a concept, do you stay on the platform and face certain death, or do you jump into the water and face probable death? Most of you would choose probable death, so you start moving towards a hybrid model of digital distribution.”

“As digital distribution becomes more and more, we’ll continue as an industry to work with retail and to ship discs, but more and more of the content will be in the ‘cloud,” added Moore, as reported by consumer website IGN. “More content will be delivered daily, weekly, or monthly, and less will be of the old model of cartridges and discs.”

What makes this really funny, is for all his bluster of digital distribution, EA isn't exactly leading the pack on this front.  On digital distribution site Direct2Drive they an impressive 75 items available, but not all of those items are games since the search didn't filter things like bundle packs, DLC and a strategy guide for game EA doesn't actually publish.  They're showing on other digital distribution sites is even more lackluster, with only 20 titles on Valve's Steam and about five on Stardock's Impulse (I'm not exactly certain because you can't search by publisher on that one for some reason).

Perhaps Mr. Moore should get off of the platform before he yells at everyone else about it?

GamesIndustry via the Armchair Empire

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