Blog Archives

Play ilomilo on XBLA Early

As in, “right now” early. Y’see, while ilomilo–the cutesy puzzle game–is not officially released on XBLA, there is a super duper secret way of unlocking both the trial and full game. All you have to do is head on to this website and, provided you can use Captcha, you will be given a code to input on the XBL marketplace. This code unlocks the trial version of ilomilo, but should you become overtaken by the cuteness that is ilomilo, you will also be able to purchase the full game.

If you need a reminder for what this game is, just check this trailer out:

Download it, I dare you not to be charmed.

 

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Tempura of the Dead: Review

President Tompson is a bad enough dude to save the country. And if he dies, there’s always loyal Gates to back him up, without regard for the intricacies of presidential sucession.

Tempura of the Dead is a three dollar Xbox Live Indie game. It is also a great game, a game design master class in a year where all the big names are flubbing and floundering. It’s a game that is flabbergasting in how well done it is, despite its premise being that a Barack Obama look alike jumps out of a helicopter and fights hordes of zombies, vampires, and GERMs (weird alien things) with the help of a loyal samurai…chef? He sure likes tempura, at least.

There’s more details under the cut, but it is at this point where we will implore you to download this game. It is three dollars that will go to some likely cool people who really know what they’re doing, and it is five times better (at least) than Sonic the Hedgehog 4, which is five times as expensive.

Additionally, the above video of the opening cinematic will do all the convincing you need.
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In Defense of DLC

People sure seem bitter about DLC now-a-days, don’t they? Between MW2’s $15 map packs, EA’s Project Ten Dollar, content keys to unlock files already on the disk, the infamous horse armor, alleged “pay-to-play” demos, and even the future potential of charging you for user generated content, it seems people have a lot to be angry about. However, is it really as bad as it seems?

One of primary complaints I’ve seen surface is how games are shipped ‘half-finished’ or how content is intentionally removed in order to be repackaged as DLC. This thought process seems prevalent with the recent flux of “GotY Edition” titles surfacing (Uncharted 2, Dragon Age: Origins, GTA4, and Forza 3 all announced these past few weeks), with some gamers claiming that these are the “real” or “complete” versions. Is this really the case, though? Were you initially sold an “incomplete title”? I wouldn’t say so.

More and more, developers are budgeting for DLC releases. Meaning that, if DLC didn’t exist as a medium to sell the additional product, you’d never see it to begin with. The game itself is fashioned separately as a whole product. Yet some people seem to think without DLC, all this extra content would have otherwise wound up on the disk. From a business point of view, that kind of thinking is completely backwards and stands out as another example of how so many gamers have a false sense of entitlement (but that’s another discussion entirely).

Instead, we should be looking at it in a more realistic (and less idealistic) light. Our favorite games are given renewed life, replayability, and longevity in some fashion–something console gamers rarely had prior to DLC’s availability. Other than the SOCOM and Halo series, how many of your favorite multiplayer games had additional content to expand their longevity last gen? I certainly can’t recall any. How many of your favorite old school RPGs had chapters added after release to delve into the history of some of your most beloved characters? None. That’s the beauty of DLC though. Scenarios like this are now possible.

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Super Meat Boy Review

For the past couple of days, my reality has consisted of nothing but blood curdling shrieks. You see, I’m currently trapped in a nightmare. This terrible nightmare has a name–Super Meat Boy. Fun fact: Super Meat Boy is the devil. Hell, Super Meat Boy is perhaps the most infuriating title I’ve played all year. I can’t recall the last time I was this angry at a video game.

Yes, Super Meat Boy is the devil…but I can’t stop playing it.

The premise of the little monster is simple: Dr. Fetus is a dick. And true to form, he’s stolen your love interest, Bandage Girl. I’m sure this sounds familiar to some of you (incidentally the acronym is the same as Super Mario Bros). And, like Mario, I sincerely believe that Meat Boy deserves to be considered for a spot under “generation classic.” A bold claim which will need to be revisited at a later date, but one currently held with real conviction.

I can spend a long time detailing the aspects of SMB which exude the feeling of a classic title–from the retro chiptune soundtrack, to the inclusion of warp zones that teleport Meat Boy to homages to classic gaming consoles. Meat Boy himself oozes charm, thanks to the wonderfully gooey sound effects, his expressions, and his dashing animations. Even the “supporting cast” of Dr. Fetus and Bandage girl are precocious, in their own way (and isn’t the idea of a fetus as a villain amazing in of itself?), but none of this is what makes SMB stand out. Sure, it’s a love letter to old-school platformers, but what really makes SMB superb is the incredibly deliberate design. SMB stands strong on its core design without any of the “features” bloating modern titles. And it’s all the more bold, outstanding of a title for it. Team Meat knows, well, where the meat of the gameplay is.

Meat Boy must run, dash, jump and wall jump at high speeds–nothing new, as far as platforming mechanics go–across worlds designed to be microcosms for your own personal hell. These actions are all governed by simple controls which follow the ‘simple to pick up, difficult to master’ paradigm. The thing about the game is, Team Meat knows where you want to hide your family heirlooms, your children, and your dignity. But I will tell you right now: there is no escape. The only way to come out alive is to have the precision of a madman. Have I mentioned there are no checkpoints in any of the levels? Because there aren’t. Hence, the need for near perfection. Don’t take this to mean that SMB requires specific precision–levels aren’t (always) linear, and can often be approached in a number of ways. Some of the more creative approaches require nerves and reflexes of steel, though. In my current playthrough, I’ve died over two thousand times. Normally, that sort of death count would cause me to give up playing a game, but while each death brings me a little closer to heart attack, it strengthens my resolve to beat the level.

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Save/Kill Carmine Campaign Raises $150k for Child’s Play

Also known as the ‘Fate of Carmine’ campaign, which up until recently had been reported to lean towards saving Carmine. Via sales of avatar items and real shirts, Gears fans managed to raise a six figure check for the charity. And, because of that, Dude Huge would like to thank you:

Now, the question is: will Carmine live? Or will he die? We’ll have to wait until the release of Gears 3, it seems, to find out!

Check Out Mass Effect 2’s “Lair of the Shadow Broker” DLC Trailer

Yes, we get two lovely trailers from Bioware today, since both Witch Hunt and Lair of the Shadow Broker come out on the same day: September 7th. Both are similarly themed, in that the protagonist (also known as Commander!) reconnects in some way with a previous/possible love interest, giving players some semblance of closure. Don’t you love the Bioware trophes?

Why the XBL Price Hike Isn’t Actually THAT Bad

Microsoft has announced a price increase for Xbox live effective November 1st, bringing the pricepoint established in 2002 from a snug 50 dollars up to 60. As you might’ve guessed, the reception hasn’t been all positive around the web. Why increase the pricepoint now, what is is justifying it? With resentment, people ask why they should be forced to pay more money for “useless” features such as Facebook and ESPN–why should anyone pay for something which they might not even use?

I’m not here to tell you that these concerns are wrong, because they are valid. Really. It’s your money that’s on the line, and you want to get the most out of your dollar.

At the same time some criticism floating around right now is illogical, there’s little basis for some of it. Ignoring that only shmucks pay full price for XBL–there’s always slick dealin’ going on in the web–let’s think about what the pricepoint really translates to.

Sixty dollars.

That’s five dollars a month. Yeah, seriously. Five dollars for a fast and robust online service.

Yes, you might not use all the features–but couldn’t you say that beforehand, too? How many people do you know that used all of the XBL features? Do you? This is an issue, now?

Let’s also not forget that the pricepoint was established in 2002: that was almost a decade ago. If we take a look at inflation, 50 dollars in 2002 is the equivalent of about 60 dollars in 2010. You’re not actually paying more for it, you’re technically paying the same price.

We also know that there are some incoming improvements, like better voicechat, that our money will probably go toward. It’s cynical to think that the pricepoint is the result of purely, evil/greedy corporate honchos which are simply looking to squeeze more dollars out of their consumers. If this was the case, why would they have waited this long to increase the price? It would have happened sooner.

Now, the real issue is, does XBL offer any actual value to you period? That much, I will concede is arguable. Different people have different needs and expectations. And some people, like PSN/etc users can and will be satisfied with a service that  may not be amazing, but is still good enough. But there’s also clearly a userbase that is willing to pay a little for what they consider to be a better quality of service. Both are valid viewpoints.

And, jointly, the real issue is exactly that: there are different needs and expectations which the current pricing plans for XBL does not satiate. Some players will only use the online component of their games, and some people who will only use Netflix, and just about everything else inbetween. Ideally there would be different packages which offer different components of the current XBL package. This doesn’t exist currently, but the concerns surrounding this price hike have clearly illustrated that perhaps it should.

And that, folks, is the subject of a post onto itself.

Do You Know How To Play Torque Bow Tag?

No? Shit, son, you’re gonna have to learn on your feet then, because Labor Day weekend’s Gears 2 XP event is incidentally torque bow tag day, too. Proving to us that he’s mentally insane via a 25x XP event isn’t enough for Rod Fergusson, executive producer of the Gears franchise. Nope. “Labor Day Horde = Torque Bow Tag. All Drone and Grenadier weapons replaced with Torque Bows. Chaos ensues… :)” he recently stated on his twitter account.

For reference on that:

It doesn’t stop there, though. Gears players will also have temporary access to golden lancer and hammerburst weapons  during the event, according to Rod’s twitter: meaning you can two-piece or chainsaw in gloriously douchy style. Well, if you’re two-piecing you’re really killing in a hilariously dickish style and you will probably never hear the end of it post-match. But it’s okay baby, you’ve got bling and you’re having fun and that’s all that matters. Just don’t try to buy life insurance if you’re going to partake on the festivities on Labor Day weekend as the blue power ranger, okay?

Do You Have Your Gears 2 Wings Yet?

If not, you may want to get on that–Rod Fergusson, Gears of War executive producer, is teasing some sort of prize in Gears 3 for players who have attained the 100th level on Gears 2 multiplayer. “Trust me. Having your wings in Gears 2 will mean something to you in Gears 3. Nuff said,” notes Fergusson. What that prize could be is still a mystery, but golden weapons are always a nice touch.

Getting to level 100, of course, is no easy feat: take this from someone who has invested months’ worth of time (no joke) into the Gears multiplayer and barely has an upper 60th level. Fortunately for you, not only is Gears 3 still a ways away, but there’s also an upcoming XP event on Labor Day. The XP multiplayer is not set in stone yet, since Rod is taking all the Gears of War Facebook fans and dividing by 1k to dictate what the XP multiplier will be–right now there are 21,544 fans, so that means we’re sitting on x21 XP. The counter stops at midnight tonight, so if you’re interested in getting your wings come this Labor Day weekend, make sure to “like” the Gears Facebook page–the more people who like it, the more ridiculous the XP multiplier can be.

In the meantime, make sure to check out the newly released Gears 3 wallpapers–one of which is pictured above–over at the media section of the Gears webpage.

Play Shank With Kill Bill, Black Dynamite Costumes

Okay, maybe those two things aren’t the ACTUAL influences behind these newly revealed costumes for Shank. They should be. Especially Black Dynamite, because what else are you supposed to stop Kung Fu Treachery with?

Anyway, check out the alternate costumes revealed by the Shank blog, which you will be able to unlock in-game:

Chainsawing baddies with a ninja costume? Only in Shank, boys and girls. Only in Shank.