Monday, March 21, 2011



The Nintendo 3DS will surely stick out when it hits store shelves this Sunday (March 27th). Again, what happened to tubular Tuesdays? Anyways, are you going to be picking one up? IGN was kind enough to post their written and video reviews of the new system more than a week in advance for those wondering if it is a worthwhile investment. They are fair enough to point out the awesome-ness and problems the 3DS bears. They gave the 3DS a score of 7.5. I recommend reading or watching why. Perhaps the most dreadful characteristic is that it will not even last three hours of 3D gameplay after a full charge. That fact and that many of the most-wanted titles (e.g. "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time") are not even available at launch. Still, I can only imagine how cool the it is. The AR-games sound revolutionary. As far as systems go, Nintendo has one of the best track records around.  More than ever before, it is impossible to truly tell how it is without hands-on experience, which I personally hope to get an opportunity to do in the near future.

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Let me just say that I am big fan of these "Gameplay Series." I never would have thought Rockstar would be the company to class up the joint ("the joint" in this phrase being the video game industry), but that is exactly what they are doing with these fine video advertisements, which boast key elements of their upcoming game. They ran a similar marketing campaign for "Red Dead Redemption," which largely led me to pick up the game on opening day, a game that I will readily re-declare as the best of 2010 (or any year for that matter). We have the likes of Visceral Game and Electronic Arts running the whole "Your Mom Hates This" campaign, call me family-oriented, but I felt it was highly pathetic. Anyways, check out the stellar "Investigation and Interrogation" video. This has officially become my second most anticipated game of the year (and May 17th is not far away)!

"Deus Ex: Human Revolution" received a Gameplay Walkthrough Trailer last week via a Developer Diary. "Deus Ex: Invisible War" is among my personal Game Hall of Fame. I am excited for more stealth/action gameplay in a futuristic world where biomods are a reality. August 23rd is the day.

Check out this gameplay trailer for "Rage." I cannot be alone in thinking of "Fallout 3" in comparison. A wide, war-torn, apocalyptic environment in which an FPS is set? Heck, both are even referred to as the "Wasteland." Still, id always cooks up something special, especially technically. You can get your rage on come September 13th. (Hey! Isn't that the cave troll from "LOTR" at the end there?)

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Cracked is often a trustworthy source for entertaining truths. Yesterday they featured a comic that addresses "The Good the Bad and the Awful of Video Games." Several important points. Thanks be to my roommate for bringing this to my attention.

Epic (the developer behind the "Gears of War" series) recently unleashed a tech demo, known as "Samaritan," showcasing what is possible with Unreal Engine 3. Check out the savants of IGN's analysis in Rewind Theater. Is this what next-gen is going to look like? I. Hope. So.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011



Geez, where do I begin? Last summer I began "a weekly recommendations email" known as AllMoPs, which stands for All Manner of Plugs ("Plugs" because of all the links featured in each email). The AllMoPsarchive can be found at my blog All Manner of Posts ("Posts" because it is a blog)... I know, I made it unnecessarily confusing, but it is so maddening that I am now quite fond of it. The first issue of AllMoPs came with a segment called Gamerain, a section that highlights a select few raindrops that have fallen into the lives of gamers (video games that is). Any gamer news, previews, reviews (etc.) that I felt so inclined to share got plugged. Today was Issue #22 of AllMoPs, are you with me?

Unlike The Film Tome Report, there has not been 22 consecutive entries of Gamerain. However, from here on out, each time I do AllMoPs I am going to include a Gamerain segment. So, in order to keep everything in synch I am starting counting from here, labeling each new helping of Gamerain as a "Drop." What's more, in future issues of AllMoPs, which I am now determined to truly make a weekly endeavor (released every Monday), I am simply going to plug that latest posts on both The Film Tome and The Video Game Tome blogs, which will feature the likes of what otherwise would have just been included in those emails.

What follows are Gamerain bits from the last few issues of AllMoPs, including #22:

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"Stacking," the latest game from Double Fine (the mad team behind "Brutal Legend" and the masterpiece that is "Psychonauts"), just hit the electonic shelves earlier this week. You see, it is only available for digital download on Xbox 360 and PS3. I was looking quite forward to this game and have spent a little time with the demo. You play as Charlie, the smalls Russian nesting doll around. You can jump into dolls bigger than you, taking control of them and utilizing their special abilities to solve puzzles. The cutscenes are novel and the gameplay is jolly. Anything that hearkens to "Space Station Silicon Valley," where you play a hijacking microchip of robotic animals, is a pleasantry. That said, everyone speaking in text boxes left me a little overwhelmed in crowds. Running into frequent identical dolls also was a minor let down. Still, it is getting great reviews. You can read what GameSpot had to say here.

I did not even know of the video game series "You Don't Know Jack" until now. GameSpot gave the latest a 8.0 (for "great") in their video review. It is a trivia game that gets a little a flippant about its duties (as one might suppose from the title). GameSpot is not alone in heralding the zesty game, it currently has an 84% on metacritic.

"Pokemon White" and "Black" for the Nintendo DS hit shelves two days ago (on a Sunday, I know, weird right?). Of course, it is the same tried-and-true formula with some new features slapped on, namely the 3D-ish environments. IGN gave the game a 9 and labeled it "Amazing." Click here for access to their written and video reviews. The game currently has an 87 on metacritic.

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One of the games I am most looking forward to this year (third to "Skyrim" and "Portal 2") is "L.A. Noire." Made by Team Bondi and published by the ever-reliable Rockstar, it is shaping up to look stellar. Check out this interview with Rob Nelson of Rockstar juxtaposed with plenty of gameplay action. The technology behind the game (especially the secret behind those state-of-the-art facial animations) is legit. The "L.A. Noire" equation in my head? Take "Mafia," set it in Los Angles and you play as a detective instead of a gangster. I am looking very forward to May 17th.

Before Tim Burton got his hands on the "Alice in Wonderland" franchise (which turned out to be a rather disappointing venture) there was "American McGee's Alice," a macabre and bloody action game based on Lewis Carroll's books. Now, American McGee and his team at Spicy Horse are finishing the sequel, "Alice: Madness Returns," due this summer (June 14th). Here is the trailer and gameplay. I feel the twisted visuals and overall lunacy demonstrated herein surpasses what you may have seen in theaters last year and that is what Alice is all about. Still, no adaptation can surpass the under-appreciated masterpiece that emerged from Disney studios in 1951.

If I am going to buy one game this year, it is going to be "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim." The first trailer (with gameplay!) came out last week. All of the excitement that I had in the months before "Oblivion" released is coming back! It is a grand time to be a gamer. Charles and Ryan from IGN breakdown the trailer in a hearty session of Rewind Theater. There is so much to dissect herein and they do a great job (even managing to point out the nirnroot that I honestly missed!). 11.11.11 is the day.

Check out the powerful announcement trailer for yet another zombie video game, "Dead Island." It is beautiful and it is disgusting. That sounds ridiculous, I know, but see it and you will know what I mean. It left me pondering if the only way a zombie tale can have a happy ending is if you are telling it in reverse. Personally, I am sold based on a few words in the description for the game: "open world... survival on a zombie-infested island." Well, I guess the correct phrasing would be it is an "open island" game. Some dedicated journalists at IGN have recut the trailer to chronological order and analyze it in this 8-minute video. "Dead Island" is made by the folks at Techland who are otherwise noted as the makers of "Call of Juarez" series, which I have not yet played and will therefore not comment on. "Dead Island" is due sometime this year.

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At the Game Developers Conference this year, Toru Iwatani (the creator of Pac-Man) spoke on the influences and development of the arcade classic from 1980. Check out IGN's entertaining and informative article, "7 Things You Never Knew About Pac-Man."

Xbox Live Arcade is one of the best platforms for gaming today. With new releases every week and with multiple 5-star titles already in the library, it is an easy sale for anyone interested in games. Besides that, every game is required to have a playable demo! Last year IGN posted their "Top 25 Xbox Live Arcade Games." My only grievance is that their placement of "Braid" is much too low... Still, their #1 is a pleasant surprise!

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