Monthly Archives: March 2012

An interview with a web series star

Matt Maassel is one of the stars of the new video game studio themed web series filmed by and starring Purdue students. The series is titled, “Development Hell” started filming its pilot episode today. Development Hell follows the trials and successes of a video game development company started by college friends. Matt plays as Dominic Warrick, one of the main characters.

Matt is a senior studying health fitness and senior member of The Crazy Monkeys improvisational comedy group. Matt knows his video games. When I interviewed him in his living room he introduced me to his SNES, Nintendo 64, and Playstation 3. As soon as the interview was over we talked for over fifteen minutes just about the games that he has played most recently. Most importantly, he’s single, ladies!

You can't say "no" to that face.

I was lucky enough to hold a Q and A with Matt about the project and his experiences working on it. Watch out, “Inside the Actor’s Studio”!

Q: How would you describe “Development Hell”?

A: “Development Hell” is “Mad Men” for the video game industry. It’s a drama and a really good look into the video game industry: how it works, the programming an the business behind it. Behind the scenes in the video game industry is an area that not many people really know much about so its exciting to have a chance to explore it with this series.

Q: How would you describe your character in “Development Hell”?

A: Dominic is the head programmer and one of the main designers. Using my “Mad Men” reference, I’m sort of the Don Draper character, but a little less responsible. Dominic is very carefree and very excited. He gets very enthusiastic and pumped up about things. He’s also very confident which sometimes comes off as arrogance.

Q: What do you like best about playing Dominic?

A: I really like playing arrogant or someone mean. (Matt laughed after saying this.) I like playing characters that think that they are brilliant, and maybe they are, but they have a little too much bravado. I find that fun.

Q: How do you get yourself ready to be Dominic and have his arrogance and bravado?

A: Oh geez. Well, I suppose that naturally I try not to have arrogance or bravado, so I just play the opposite of that. I believe that there is the opposite of everyone inside them: where you can be the opposite of who you are. So in me there is an opposite side of me that is a know-it-all who thinks he’s really awesome at everything and can totally dominate whatever he wants to do. I try to just tap into that side, I guess.

Matt channeling his opposite.

Q: So what part of development is “Development Hell” at right now?

A: Right now we are just getting ready to film the pilot. We’ve had read throughs so far. We are planning on shooting the first season in late April or early May.

Q: How long do you anticipate Season One will take to film?

A: Season One shouldn’t take any longer than a few weekends, actually.  The whole project is solely dependent on how popular it gets. So, based on the popularity of Season One it could continue indefinitely.

Q: What are some of the ways that you will determine the shows popularity? How will you get out the word for the shows popularity?

A: Definitely YouTube is where we’ll start, just seeing how many views the show has. To spread the show we will flood as many social media programs as we can. You know, Facebook and Twitter. Have constant interaction with and fans that we might have. If we start to have consistent fans then cater to them and take care of them and make sure that they know what is happening with the show.

Q: How many people are working on the project currently?

A: I would say about 20.

Q: How many of those people are actors and what are some of the other jobs that people have?

A: There are about 12 actors, I think. The crew has a camera guy, a main set guy, a director and writer, and then, another writer, and maybe other people (laughs) I’m not sure, but I’m sure that there is someone to deal with the business end of it too. Because we need to get some financial support. That’s actually the goal of the pilot, to get some financial support.

Q: How many episodes are currently planned for the first season?

A: I am not sure… The episodes are going to be about five to10 minutes long each, so we’re keeping them short. We can easily see ten episodes at least.

Q: What has been the most fun part of the project for you so far?

A: Personally, it’s just been getting to know the crew and the cast. Just getting involved with the whole crew and getting to know everyone that will make this project great. I’m excited to see how far we will go with this.

Q: Who is the target audience of “Development Hell”?

A: Definitely college students, college and high school students that are interested in video games. As the culture becomes exposed to video games, it becomes available to a wider and wider audience. Right now our demographic is definitely right around college aged because that demographic is very involved with video games. They know about them and they’ve grow up more consistently with them than any other generation. Since this show takes place in the early 2000’s they’ll be able to see certain homages to their past and their childhood.

Look! It's my old babysitter!

Q: What are some of those homages that audiences can expect?

A: Well, we talk about the Sega Dreamcast and how it died really fast. We’ll make a video game in the show that we designed for the Dreamcast and we’ll reference certain games as the show progresses. Certain ideas that we’ll come up with that weren’t necessarily ours and then you’ll go, “Oh yeah! So that’s how that got started, or how this got started.” It’s really gaming nuanced.

Q: Is there anything that you would like to add?

A: Check out the new website, developmenthell.net. Not .com. .com was taken. Tell all your friends about the show too!

I’d like to give a big thank you to Matt, and to remind everyone should check out “Development Hell” when the web series launches in the near future!

…Oh and you better what out James Lipton. You better fight hard to defend that interviewing throne. I’m coming for you.

I'd better be careful. James be from the street.

ZOMG! The state of the undead in 2012

Zombies are always a favorite foe in video games. They’re disgusting, they’re scary, they remind us of our own mortality. It’s also fun that they make squishy noises when we stomp on their heads.

Purdue University is currently embroiled in its own zombie invasion in the form of the the dart tag game Humans vs. Zombies. (Which is quite frankly a surprise to me, I always thought that the two parties would get along.) Humans vs. Zombies ends tomorrow. Like most zombie outbreaks the humans will likely lose.

Luckily video games provide us with much needed zombie destruction and a glimpse at what it would be like if humans won once in a while. I’m not even sure how many outbreaks have been contained in the Resident Evil series.

Nothing to see here.

2012 has quite a lot of high profile zombie games. Let’s check out the zombie titles of 2012.

Worth sinking your rotting teeth into

Resident Evil: Revelations

Revelations has some of the best graphics of any game for the Nintendo 3DS. It’s a lengthy title that has plenty of good scares. Recent Resident Evil games have been as much action titles as survival horror. Revelations is an excellent handheld game and a return to the more survival horror and puzzle roots of the RE series. Oh, and the reviews have been pretty great with a Metacritic score of 82/100.

Worse than a losing all of your zombie limbs

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

It might sound cool to play a squad based shooter in the settings of Resident Evil 2 and 3. It might sound even cooler to play from the standpoint of the bad guys, Umbrella Corp. In reality this game is just about as fun a real zombie outbreak, which is to say that  it’s emotionally damaging and makes you consider whether it would be better to just die then to continue living in a world that would unleash such awful horrors on you. The controls of Operation Raccoon City are bad. The plot is bad. The game is bad. Avoid this title. Metacritic agrees giving the title a 54/100.

Worth your undead wait

Resident Evil 6

Did I mention that it is the Chinese year of the Resident Evil? The series will see yet another high profile release this year on November 20. The game will be played from the perspective of at least three main characters and promises to be both chilling and action packed. The plot focuses on the events that happen when the United States president finally decides to reveal to the American public and the world the facts behind the original zombie outbreak in Raccoon City from the first Resident Evil. The game will no doubt be a best seller and should have the quality expected of most block-buster games.

The Last of Us

Personally, I’m most excited about The Last of Us, the next big title from award-winning developer Naughty Dog. The game is set the near future when society has collapsed and most humans have been killed by a fungus that eats human brains and then controls their victims bodies. These fungus monster are truly terrifying in concept and are a breath of fresh creativity in the zombie genre. The Last of Us follows the story of a jaded, middle-aged man from before the fungpocalypse and the teenage girl that he is tasked to protect. The game has stunning graphics and promises to deliver the signature excellent storytelling and tight gameplay of a Naughty Dog game. Sadly, The Last of Us is a Playstation exclusive and cannot be experienced on PC or Xbox. The game has no definite release date but is rumored to come out late in 2012 or early in 2013.

So there you go Zombie fans! Now you know what zombie games to enjoy when you get to safe houses during the actual zombie apocalypse.

Guest Post: Four Things That Prove I’m Terrible at Video Games

Since you’ve been such good little gamers this week I’m running an extra post from one of my dearest friends, Troy Harris. Enjoy his fun editorial about why he is so bad at video games. Then shake your head in pity because you’re good at video games.

Four Things That Prove I’m Terrible at Video Games

As a single white man in my early twenties, it’s safe to say that video games have played a major role in my upbringing. Final Fantasy VII taught me more about love than any John Hughes movie. Everything I’ve learned about football strategy has come from Madden ’97. The truth for people of my generation is that video games have risen to fulfill the role that the death of the sitcom had left vacant: that of the surrogate parent. Unfortunately, video games and sitcoms have both left one important lesson untaught: knowing when to move on.

1. I’m Over Twenty Years Old

I’m not saying this to insinuate that video games are for kids; I still play video games quite often. But adulthood is definitely not conducive to gamer culture. When you grow up, you suddenly have to worry about things like keeping a roof over your head and feeding your dog. These things require a job, which not only takes up a large amount of the time you used to spend talking smack to fourteen-year-olds on Madden, but also dip heavily into the money that you used to spend on games. At sixty dollars a pop, new games aren’t entertainment, they’re an investment.

But what is the return value?

The older I get, the more I realize that other things exist. People my age are supposed to be socializing. They’re supposed to be going out and meeting people. At my age, it’s no longer normal to spend eleven hours a day playing Skyrim. And if there’s one thing that I learned from the Metal Gear franchise, it’s the importance of blending in.

2. I Don’t Have Time to Devote to Gaming

One central theme in video games–or in any popular art form, for that matter–is following your dreams. Who would want to play a game that’s about a guy who goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, rinses and repeats?

Shown: Dreams, such as being a burglar

The obvious catch-22 here is that in order to continue obsessively playing video games, I must either A)ignore the the very lesson that most video games are trying to teach me, or B) somehow invent a job that involves playing video games for a living.

...But, you know, still being a dude would be preferable.

The problem with becoming a professional gamer is that video games would become my job, and I’m trained to believe that, as an twenty-something person, I’m supposed to hate my job. I don’t want to hate video games; they’re the thing that I love most. As such, I’m forced to regulate the amount of time I spend playing video games, so that I can still manage to at least resemble a functional member of society. Which brings me to my next point:
 

3. I Do All The Fun Stuff First

It never fails; whenever I buy a new game, i spend the first hour doing exactly whatever it is that I want to do. Mind you, this may or may not be the entire main plot of said game. Any time a new Elder Scrolls game comes out, I immediately seek out the Dark Brotherhood and do that entire quest line. Then I join the Thieve’s Guild and do that entire quest line. Guess what I do with the Fighter’s Guild?
 
This is even more true of fighting games. Recently, I finally got around to buying and playing Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. I wasted no time playing through Arcade Mode with Deadpool, Wolverine, and Chun Li. It took me all of forty-five minutes to unlock all of those character endings, and I haven’t so much as touched the game since. Maybe it’s just my short attention span, but once I unlock my favorite character endings, any fighting game loses all playing value to me. And yet, I keep buying them. I’d make a terrible investment banker.

I just suddenly realized how much more fun it was to throw the money than it was to invest it.

4. I’m Horribly Impatient

Just so I’m clear about this, I hold no delusions about my shortcomings as a person. In life, and in video games specifically, I’m a slave to instant gratification. I am one of those terrible gamers who will fast-forward through dialogue options in order to get to the gameplay, only to discover that I’ve missed a piece of information that is vital to completing the mission I rushed through all of that dialogue to start in the first place. To my ego-addled brain, video games become a chore. They become something that I spent a lot of money on, so I had better hurry up and enjoy them. If only there were a way to to turn it all around and return to my youthful days of loving video games because they’re awesome and fun.
 
Oh, look! Mass Effect 3!
 
 
Be sure to check out more awesome stuff from Troy on his comedy blog Kamikazedy! You might just learn a few things while you laugh. (Such as what type of content is on a comedy blog, or that reading a comedy blog is more fun than working in the office.)
 
Images from:

Slay some kings next month

The critically acclaimed Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is finally coming to Xbox 360 next month. The PC gem was considered one of the best action RPGs of last year by many due to its excellent mature story line, brutal and unique combat, and amazing  graphics.

April 17th will mark the first time that the series has been released on an Xbox system despite the rumors that the original Witcher game would have a cross-over port years ago.

What makes this news so awesome?

The reviews of the PC version of the Witcher 2 for one thing. The averaged score of all critics online is an 88/100 according to metacritic.com 1up.com writes that. 1up.com gave the game an A and absolutely loved the game, saying, “Consider it the price of admission to one of the most memorable and best written fantasy video games you’ll ever play.”

ign.com gave the game a 9/10 for its deep choices in the story that were not simply good or evil, but real gray and difficult choices to make. These choices have a huge impact on the story as it plays out. They also lauded the project for its fun but punishing combat and polished graphics.

 Or just check out this crazy awesome (and crazy graphically gory) CG trailer for the game.

*picks jaw off the floor* Yes. Sign me up for that game.

The new goodies for Xbox 360 players

The nearly year long wait for the game will be worth it for Xbox 360 owners thanks to all of the new content that comes with the purchase of the new Enhanced Edition. Premiering at the regular $59.99 price tag, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings includes:

  • The original award-winning title
  • The soundtrack audio CD for the game
  • A quest book
  • A physical world map
  • a detailed game manual
  •  3+ hours of new content containing new gameplay and story not seen in the original release of the game

This edition is also releasing for PC, but its bigger news for many Xbox players who may have never experienced the series before. Be sure to check this game out! The best news is that you don’t have to wait long. If the 19 day wait still seems too long, then be sure to check out the source material novel that the Witcher games are based off of by Andrzej Sapkowski. I can personally vouch for the book’s quality as well.

Video games with the most alternate endings

One of the possible alternate endings for the classic Metroid. Famous for putting you in control of one of the first video game character that was doing the saving rather than being saved, Metroid led the revolution of strong female leads in video games. This ending is like seeing Susan B. Anthony in a thong.

Many games have more than one ending. Take the newly released Mass Effect 3 for example. The series has always prided itself on giving the player many decisions, and as a result of the players choices they will be rewarded by one of seven endings. In fact, some gamers are so upset at the potential seven endings that Bioware is creating an eighth ending as a DLC.

Eight different endings is quite a bit for a game, but it Mass Effect 3 isn’t the game with nearly the most alternative endings. Here’s a list of some of the games that I found with even more alternative endings than Mass Effect 3.

Shadow the Hedgehog10 endings – (2005) Who knew that a Sonic the Hedgehog third-person shooter could be wrapped up in just 10 endings?

Psychic Detective12 endings – (1995) A short game that uses live action actors. It’s about a psychic detective.

Bible Black12 endings – (2000) Gotta hand it to this erotic content game for having the stamina for 12 different endings. (No I have not played it… Unfortunately.)

Blade Runner – 13 endings – (1997) With 13 endings, this game has nearly as many different endings as the film it was based off of.

Heavy Rain18 endings – (2010) Almost all of you will be familiar with this acclaimed game about tracking down a serial killer. The endings range from uplifting to some of the most depressing ever seen in the industry.

Mortal Kombat (Playstation 3 version) – 28 endings – Each character in the reboot of Mortal Kombat has a different ending. The Playstation version has one more ending due to having an exclusive character. Every other tournament fighting game boasts many endings as well.

Princess Maker 274 endings – (1993) As a game about raising a girl that you have essentially adopted as a daughter from age 10 to 18, it proves that there are only 74 potential futures for all daughters.

Star Ocean: The Second Story – 86 endings – (1999) As far as I know, this one takes the cake. The massive amount of different endings are due to the dating relationship sim in the game that was rather advanced for its time. Have a different ending for every possible couple pairing and well… I guess we know just how many endings that can result in.

One giant soap opera

There are plenty of other games with tons of endings. I know I missed lots of them, so rant about your favorite(s) in the comments below!

Can you really remote play PS3 games on your PS Vita?

We’ve all seen this amazing commercial of a guy pausing his PS3 and then having his game (MLB the Show) pop up on his PS Vita right where he left off. Or if you haven’t seen this black magic before, you will now.

This is crazy! It’s like what would happen if you handed a Vita to Harry Potter. “Awesomamos! There you go, your Vita is a PS3.”

Personally, I thought it sounded too good to be true, so I did a little research. Turns out, I was right in the short term, but perhaps very wrong in the long run. Let me explain.

Too good to be true

The rumors from Sony for a while have been that Vita will play all PS3 games. This couldn’t currently be farther from the truth. As of writing this article, no website or gamer has confirmed that a single PS3 game can be played on Vita. I have read plenty of forums where gamers have personally tested hundreds of Playstation games, many of them PS3 to see what plays on the Vita. In fact, even PS2 games don’t yet work remote play on Vita. Only Playstation and some downloadable titles can currently be remote played on the Vita.

But, Logan! The commercial showed that attractive, cool guy, that has a job that we can only assume is sweet playing a PS3 game on his Vita! True. But Sony has shown games being remote played on the Vita recently that cannot actually be played on the Vita. Case and point: Sony played Killzone 3 remotely at the Tokyo Game Show and you can’t play Killzone 3 remotely on Vita. Perhaps soon you will be able to play MLB the Show (from the commercial) remotely on Vita.

Some day it might be true.

The Vita is capable of playing most PS3 games from a hardware perspective, the games just haven’t been supported yet. Patches could make games supported, and I’m guessing that most popular, newer titles will come ready for remote play on the Vita. Until then, you can’t really anticipate your titles magically being updated to play on the Vita. It might be able to soon but there are no promises. I can’t even promise that Vita will ever play most future PS3 games. But what I can show you are videos of hacked Vitas actually playing PS3 games remotely.

Videos like this mean that it’s possible to carry a home console with you anywhere: that the amazing could happen.

Voice Acting in Video Games

"This article is going to be AWESOMMME!!!!"

It’s good to be back from vacation everyone! (Yeah right…) Admit it, you missed me almost as much as I missed you.

While I was on my road trip with my girlfriend I would read books to her while it was her turn to drive because I can’t afford books on tape on this blog’s budget. But reading a story in character voices got me thinking about another important medium with voices: the our beloved video game industry.

We oftentimes hear a lot about the graphics and gameplay of our favorite games, but rarely hear much about the very important voice acting process in video games. The voices can give the characters a sense of life that they just couldn’t have otherwise.

There are some awesome protagonists that don’t speak; I don’t want to diminish how awesome Gordon Freeman is. However, imagine a Half-Life that didn’t feature fantastic voice acting for all of the characters that Gordon runs into. Quite simply, giving our most beloved characters voices gives them a personality and spirit more than almost anything else in the development process.

How important is it?

SodaHead.com held a poll of 257 of their readers to see how important they thought voice acting in video games was. The result is that a clear majority of 221, 86%, of the readers thought that voice acting was important in video games. However, many held the belief that great voice acting alone can’t make a game good any more than great graphics can. Many gamers cite that the voice acting of games like the Uncharted series or Mass Effect series draw them in and make the game world seem much more real to them.

Voice acting used to be on the back burner for the video game industry. Voices would be provided solely by amateurs and the designers themselves. But times have changed. Gamers have spoken and decided that voice acting is important to new video games. So important in fact, that the highest profile voice actors can make millions. Speaking of which…

How much does the average voice actor make?

Voice Actors in the News blog shares the following salary statistics pulled from Careerbuilder.com:

– Voice Over Talent and Voice Over Announcer: $42,707.

– Voice Over Actor: $50,506.

– Voice Coach: $58,109.

That seems like a solid amount of money to a schmuck about to graduate from college like myself, but the reality is that many voice actors can’t get enough work to reach these median pays of those that can. For example, eHow states, “In 2009, voice acting agent Shomu Shirogane, who represents 1,600 voice actors in Japan, estimated that only 10 percent of his actors were able to make a living via voice work alone.”

Although there are many struggling video game voice actors, there are also plenty of vocal superstars. Higher paid voice actors can make $90,000 a year with the top paid actors making hundreds of thousands more. Celebrity voice actors appearing in small roles can receive up to $750,000 for one hour’s work, according to eHow.

I will take my payment in the form of three money rain showers.

Interestingly enough, this salary is not enough to entice most A-list Hollywood actors, so most video game movie tie-ins feature actors that can do good impersonations of the movie actor. It is also important to note that note that most video game voice actors don’t not get paid royalties. This means that whether a game grosses $500 million or $10 the voice actor is paid the same for their work. (Although higher profile games obviously pay much more before royalties.)

This potentially a lot of money. Sounds like it’s time to get involved with a…

Union

There is no specific union for voice actors in video games, but if an actor is in a union it is generally the Screen Actors Guild or the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. SAG and AFTRA actors can sometimes be paid more because they demand more consistent rates.

For example, most AFTRA video game voice actors make $780 per session. (A session is a four hour work day.)

Union actors are definitely a minority in video game voice acting. 80% of the voice acting are non-union projects which make them a good starting point for amateur voice actors, says video game voice actor and coach Kevin Delaney on his website. Sounds good, there can be good money and some opportunities to get into video game voice acting, but…

What does voice acting work entail?

Raise Your Voice Acting has anonymous voice actors explain their experiences. They share that video game voice actors have little, if any, preparation before reading a script. Most of their direction comes straight from the director as they are in the recording process. Voice actors generally sit or stand and speak into a stationary mic, but some games like the Uncharted series has their actors act out the actions of the game in order to better capture the real urgency of the actions in the actors voice and help to better motion capture the action to link it with the words being spoken.

Voice acting in the Uncharted series.

Uncharted is in a clear minority in how it is voice acted. Many projects have an actor read from a script with just a director present. Oftentimes, the other actors aren’t present. Sometimes, the other characters lines aren’t even provided to the actor to provide context on what the conversation is.

Because the actor is expected to read lines from a sheet of paper with sometimes little context and on the fly, the actor is greatly aided by a strong imagination and the ability to make bold vocal choices on the spot and in the moment.

There are some dangers associated with voice acting. The video game medium has a lot of characters that get harmed, die, or yell, so naturally there is a lot of screaming that can be rough on your voice. This is another reason why some actors in other mediums of acting avoid video game voice work.

Famous Voice Actors in Action

Here are some videos of some of the most famous video game voice actors performing:


Check out this video matching the voices of Batman Arkham City to the actors that voiced them. After the video plays links to tons of YouTube videos of high profile games with pictures and names of all the voice actors appears. Check out your favorites!

These are all high profile performers and titles, so they are not the norm. As the videos explain, actors rarely have nice prompters, rarely do their own motion capture, and rarely are even recorded in the same room as each other.

Now that we know some more about the awesome industry that is video game voice acting, we can give it a go ourselves if we want. Heck we can even try it out on websites like Voices.com. Give it a go! The worst that can happen is you help add to the long list of historically bad voice acting.

You might want to listen to that twice.

Spring Break: off school, game on.

And here I thought I was going to have to Photoshop an image like this.

The sweet chirping of bird song is in the air; women are buying their first tiny bikini of the year;  people are preventing sun burns from trips down south by burning themselves in tanning salon.  Ah yes, readers, Spring Break has arrived.

As many students and adults scramble to pack and figure out what they will do over break, you can sit back and relax. You know what you are doing over break. You’re going to game.

So continue to sit back and relax and read up on some of the best new releases that you can enjoy over the Purdue campus Spring Break.

Extra Wisdom: Feel free to listen in on the purchasing advice of my good friend, Will Russell. He will impart short dashes of questionable wisdom in-between casually sipping on a fine scotch while seated in a folding chair surrounded by sand, under a tanning light in his living room. Will has already checked out for Spring Break.

Mass Effect 3 – March 6

Mass Effect 3 just released and it is sure to be on most gamers’ to-enjoy list this Spring Break. The blockbuster is the exciting conclusion to the action-RPG space opera crafted by Bioware. The game is designed to be fun for those that enjoy action, an excellent story, or both. Modes exist to focus on the player’s distinct play style. It is possible to tone down the story elements to focus more on combat or to make combat simpler to focus on the story of the game. To further sweeten the deal, Mass Effect 3 is the first game in the series to have a multiplayer mode where you can play with up to three friends online. (Multiplayer is optional for single player purists.) The reviews are hot! Play this game over break. Check out the reviews.

Extra Wisdom – Will discusses whether or not to download the day-one DLC character for Mass Effect 3 Will Interview Part 1

Major League Baseball 2K12 – March 6

Major League Baseball 2k12 may be the highest profile baseball game released on all major systems this year.  What is most interesting of the new additions to the long running series is the dynamic system in which batters and pitchers will increase or decrease in skill during games. If a batter hits a fast ball from a pitcher, he is more likely to do so next time the pitcher throws a fast ball. The batter then has a better chance to hit the next fast ball farther. Likewise, if a pitcher throws a knuckleball and strikes the batter out, the batter is more likely to be struck out by a knuckleball next time he is up to bat. This simulation is sure to be awesome for all baseball fans. Check out the reviews.

PS3 owners don’t get suckered: Another high-profile baseball sim, MLB 12 The Show, just came out March 6 as well as a Playstation exclusive. Although MLB 2K12 has been received quite positively, MLB 12 The Show has received consistently higher reviews. You win this round Playstation!

Street Fighter X Tekken – March 6

The game is the first crossover between the two violently loved series. Street Fighter X Tekken features 19 Street Fighter characters and 19 Tekken characters all brawling together in the Street Fighter Universe. Expect plenty of button mashing and tight controls. Grab your friends and finally settle whether or not Ryu can take down Jin. Check out the reviews.

I Am Alive – March 7

This is a DLC arcade game that took six years to make. The game plays as a survival action game set in the near future after an apocalyptic “event” has left most of the earth destroyed and covered in killer dust. Your character is on a platforming and weapon-based combat adventure to find his family. The game has met mixed, but mostly positive reviews. Since the game is a downloadable title it only costs $15. Be sure to check out this title of you get tired of the sun, blue skies, and society during your break. Check out the reviews.

Mario Party 9 – March 11

Not many games are listed under the genre “party” but Mario Party 9 boldly is. Expect lightning rounds of fun multiplayer mini games like in previous Mario Party titles. It’s been almost five years since Mario Party 8; Nintendo is sure to pull all the shots for this new entry into the series. If you’re looking for that next game to whip out during your own Spring Break parties to entertain your many tanned guests at once, look no farther than Mario Party 9. Check out the reviews.

Extra Wisdom: Will describes how Mario Party can ruin friendships. Will Interview Part 2

Silent Hill: Downpour – March 13

Silent Hill can be a bizarre and haunting survival horror franchise. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked and many think that the series has seen better days. Downpour is chance for the series to redeem itself with strong potential.  The game promises return the series to its horror roots, while still being different from previous titles. Downpour features new locations, a new rain mechanic, and even a new soundtrack. Most exciting is player’s the ability to use everyday items that you find as impromptu weapons against the terrors that hunt you. Check out this title for a good scare. Check out the reviews.

Journey – March 13

Journey is being reviewed as a visual masterpiece that many game reviewing websites have touted as a must play. Journey has simple controls and no dialogue, and only one objective, to make it to a mysterious and ever-present glowing mountain. Despite its simplicity, Journey is said to be as fun to play as it is beautiful. Journey is a short adventure but is sure to be fun to replay due to its interesting multiplayer feature. Multiplayer in Journey has you randomly cross paths with other real players. You can interact with each other and even complete the game with each other, but the experience is entirely anonymous and without any text or chat functions. Journey is a downloadable exclusive for  only $14.99, but is unfortunately only available on Playstation 3. Check out the reviews.

Extra Wisdom: Will laments not having a Playstation 3 but vows to play Journey anyway. Will Interview Part 3

There are so many games to play over break. These are just a few of the gems that have just been released or are about to be released. There many different types of titles to choose to keep just about any type of gamer happy. Or if you’re like me, you’ll want to play all of them.

So get out outside and enjoy the sun this Spring Break! Just be sure to bring a TV, an extension cord, and a lot of snacks. That’s what Will and I will be doing.

*To get my maximal game on over Break I won’t be writing any blogs next week. I’ll be back bright and early to rant at you the week of the 18th! Have a great week!

Online Gaming Statistics 2012

Did this actually happen?

 

It’s almost spring break. That means it’s finally time to take a break and hang out with friends. …online.

If you’re anything like me, many of your friends live in far away, awesome places that you’ll never be able to visit on your budget.

Ta-da! Online gaming to the rescue.

Let’s take a brief look at the stats of services that have enabled millions of gamers like us to stay in touch with friends states or countries away.

Amount of players

  • 40 million Xbox Live subscribers
  • 77 million registered members on Playstation Network

% of time playing on console spent online

  • 33% Xbox 360
  • 16% Playstation 3
  • 8% for Wii

How much money do they make?

  • Bloomberg estimates that Xbox Live made over $1 billion in the 2010 fiscal year.
  • Xbox Live arcade titles made a combined $144 million in 2011.
  • As of Sept 24, 2009 Playstation Store had 600 million downloads.
  • Use of Playstation Store increased by 60% in inbetween 2010 and 2011.
  • Nintendo eShop is the newest of the services but has earned $11 million in its first 7 months.

Xbox 360 games played most often online 2011

Shooters with a pepper of sports

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
  3. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  4. Halo: Reach
  5. Battlefield 3
  6. Gears of War 3
  7. FIFA 12
  8. FIFA Soccer 11
  9. Madden NFL 12
  10. Grand Theft Auto IV

Be sure to hang out your friends in the top virtual playgrounds. If you ever get bored on Xbox Live look up Hu1k Logan. (That’s me!)

Information from Wikipedia.org and complied statistics from Factbrowser.com

Killer Assassin’s Creed III details

(image from Wikipedia)

Details about Assassin’s Creed III have been popping out of the shadows constantly the past few days. To make it easy to keep up on the info about game I’ve put all the information that I know of in one helpful little article for you. So plug yourself into the Animus and learn a little about the future of Ubisoft’s biggest title.

(The following information is based off of a Game Informer exclusive from their brand new April edition and ign.com.)

The Setting

America in 1777. The colonies are gripped in the Revolutionary War with the English. The latest assassin seems to have sided with the American rebels.

The Protagonists

Assassin’s Creed III features a brand new assassin named Conner. Conner has an English father and a Native American mother. Conner was raised among his mother’s Mohawk tribe. Conner is in the same assassin order as previous protagonists, but it has not yet been explained how they came to be present in the Americas.

Desmond will be returning as the protagonist during present day. Desmond is no longer in a coma and will experience the memories of Conner through the Animus 3.0. (Those other two are so outdated.)

Secondary Characters (also known as “Cool Dudes from History”)

During Conner’s dirty deeds he will run into famous figures such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Charles Lee. Washington is said to be an important part of the story, while Franklin will play a role in designing new gadgets for Conner. I will be very surprised if this game doesn’t inspire the next generation of American historians.

Pictured: Benjamin Franklin just before he invented the electric assassin blade.

The World

The new game world takes place in the American frontier between New York and Boston. Locations that can be explored include Lexington, Concord, and Conner’s Mohawk hometown. The game world of Assassin’s Creed III is touted to be 1.5 times the size of  Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. The game world looks to have a large amount of tree platforming in wooded areas. Both parkour enthusiasts and arborists agree that this is awesome. The world will feature weather effects for both summer and winter.

Gameplay

  • Platforming on trees and buildings will be possible.
  • Animals can be hunted and skinned.
  • Animal skins can be sold for money.
  • Money, in turn, can be used to buy weapons and property like in previous Assassin’s Creed titles.
  • Quests will be initiated by joining clubs. So far, at least a hunting club has been confirmed.
  • Thankfully, no tower defense elements like those in Assassin’s Creed Revelations will be appearing.
  • Multiplayer has not yet been confirmed.
The Tech
Previous Assassin’s Creed titles had the technology to run with 100 npcs on the screen at once; Ubisoft’s updated Anvil tech engine will allow for over 1,000 characters to be on screen at once. The tech and trailers indicate that some large scale battles will be occurring in the game.
Quick! Kill the guy in the red!

Quick! Stealth kill the guy in the red! (image from dipity.com)

The Promise

A March 5 Ubisoft press release stated Assassin’s Creed III is “the largest project in Ubisoft’s history” with a development time of  “over three years and twice the production capacity of any previous Ubisoft game.”

The Awesome Trailer

The Happy Gamers / Release Date

Assassin’s Creed III is releasing for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 on October 30. The game has also been announced for Wii U, but a release date has not yet been given. It will likely be a Wii U launch title this holiday season.

Your Rants

How excited are you for Assassin’s Creed 3? If you have any nearly major system you can play the title. Are you planning on buying the game? Rant away!

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