Mr. Bill George Presents

Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Sony At E3 2009

In Technology, Video Games on June 2, 2009 at 4:18 PM

And last, but not least (well, technically it is in terms of sales) Sony had its own media briefing. And here is what went down:

Uncharted 2, M.A.G., Assassin’s Creed II, GT5, God of War 3 DemoedUncharted 1 was one of the PS3’s big exclusives that helped launch the system and the sequel looks pretty amazing in terms of graphics and intensity. M.A.G. is the 256 player online war game announced last year. But now we got to see it in action.

Is It A Big Deal? Uncharted 2, not so much. We’ve seen it already, this is just more of the same. Showing M.A.G. is a huge deal because everyone has been wondering how it looks and how it works. And if you ask me, it delivered. And of course God of War 3 is gonna be a huge, huge release and a major system seller in March.

PSP Go! Debuted50% smaller PSP with a slide up screen revealing the controls. 16 gig internal memory, downloadable games using built in Wifi etc. Sony says it won’t replace the full-on PSP but both will exist and be supported simultaneously. Available in October for $249.99.

Is It A Big Deal? Not for me, that’s for sure. Never been a big fan of the PSP (or handhelds in general) and the Go! is no exception. But if that’s your thing, then enjoy life without UMDs.

New PSP Games: Gran Turismo, MGS: Peace Walker, Resident Evil Portable, Little Big Planet, SOCOM et al. – Many games were announced and previewed including the next GT game for PSP and a new Metal Gear game made by the main team behind MGS4. Kojima says it isn’t a spin-off or a side story but a legitimate part of the canon. (Too bad it’s for the PSP…)

PSN News Final Fantasy VII now available for full download. And Home… well, it still exists…

Is It A Big Deal? FF7 is huge. Everyone loves that game (I’ve never actually played it… ssshh!) Home still stinks. Period.

Rockstar’s Next Game Will Be PS3 Exclusive – Sony announced the game Agent, made by the guys behind GTA etc.

Is It A Big Deal? Big time. Rockstar North seems to have the golden touch and the fact that their next game will be PS3 only is a big win.

Final Fantasy XIV AnnouncedIt’s PS3 exclusive (for real this time) and it’s online.

Is It ABig Deal? Yes. The announcement of a new FF is always big, not to mention it’s PS3 exclusive which helps Sony save face after last year’s surprise. And it’s an online game which will excite most fans.

Something Totally Original, Innovative and Never-Before-Seen in Video Games: Motion Controls! – Oh, wait… Anyway, in the spring of 2010, Sony will be releasing a motion controller that looks like a wand (similar to the Wiimote) with buttons on the handle and (for the tech demo at least) has a glowing sphere on the tip that the EyeToy tracks with 1-to-1 precision.

Is It A Big Deal? Believe it or not: yes. The Wii is finally getting 1-to-1 controls, Microsoft is doing controller-less motion and now the PS3 has its own 1-to-1 tracking that actually looks even more accurate than Nintendo’s (after watching the Resort demo at their briefing and comparing it to this). They made a  jab at Microsoft saying that buttons are necessary for motion controls, especially for FPS’s. And since it tracks the sphere itself and isn’t based on an IR sensor, you don’t have to worry about room lighting and sensor bars. Just the camera. It’s an interesting technology that could spice things up even more in the console war.

New Game Announced From Team-Ico The Last Guardian is a PS3 exclusive made by the team behind the phenomenal PS2 stand-outs Ico and (one of my personal favorites) Shadow of the Colossus.

Is It A Big Deal? You betcha. A lot of people have been waiting long and hard for what this team has to offer. And I’m sure it will not disappoint (even if it looks a bit weird).

Sony’s Overall Showing – Not too shabby. God of War 3, The Last Guardian and motion controls definitely stole the show and will keep people talking. Gonna be an interesting year for gamers, no doubt about it.

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Nintendo At E3 2009

In Technology, Video Games on June 2, 2009 at 2:25 PM

Nintendo just wrapped up their press conference from this year’s Electronics Entertainment Expo, so let’s look at what we can expect from the Big N in the near future:

New Super Mario Bros. Wii A new Mario game for Wii in the classic style of a 2D side scroller. The twist being: 4 players simultaneously. Someone plays Mario, another Luigi, and two toads.

Is It A Big Deal? Yes. Almost anything with the name ‘Mario’ means sales and going back to the series’ roots sounds like a good idea to me. Looks pretty fun.

Wii Fit Plus Announced – A new release of Wii Fit you can purchase as a bundle with a board if you don’t have one yet, or as stand alone software.

Is It A Big Deal? Not really. Just another add-on to an already successful game. More activities and options, blah, blah, blah.

Wii Sports Resort and Wii Motion Plus Discussed – As previously alluded to in my Microsoft post, Nintendo is releasing an add-on to Wii-motes that actually support one-to-one motion and make them work the way they should. More parts of Resort were demoed on stage including sky diving and basketball. Also included was the announcement of games that will use motion plus such as Tiger Woods 2010, Grand Slam Tennis, Virtua Tennis and Red Steel 2.

Is It A Big Deal? In the grand scheme of things yes. As for importance to this conference, no. We’ve known about it for a long time, this is just reinforcement.

New DS Games Final Fantasy: Crystal Bearers, a new Kingdom Hearts. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, C.O.P., Style Saavy, some book club game, Mario & Donkey Kong with level creation etc.

Facebook Integration – Much like Microsoft, Nintendo has announced the ability to upload photos taken with the DSI directly to Facebook. Including the opportunity to edit them.

Is It A Big Deal? Just like I thought it was for Microsoft, I see it as a good move for Nintendo. Anything that gets people to spend more time on their platform and get more use of it, the better.

Vitality Sensor -Iwata gave us a sneak peak of a new device he is working on that clips to your finger and keeps track of your pulse and biometric information.

Is It A Big Deal? No idea. Depends on what they can do with it. This was a very brief glimpse.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 Announced – Full sequel to the last 3D Mario game that won many ‘Game of the Year’ awards. Oh… and it has Yoshi!

Is It A Big Deal? No doubt about it. I said they needed a flagship game announcement and they delivered.

Metroid: Other M AnnouncedA new Metroid game made by Team Ninja that looks to be a Samus Aran origin story of sorts.

Is It A Big Deal? Absolutely. I’m confused by the gameplay in the video and am unsure of how it actually works, but it sure looks pretty and will sell a billion copies.

Nintendo’s Overall Showing – Lackluster. Too much time wasted on numbers, stats and the DS. But a new Mario and Metroid should satisfy most people.

Microsoft At E3 2009

In Technology, Video Games on June 1, 2009 at 6:53 PM

So, my fellow gamers, it is time once again for the Electronics Entertainment Expo. Of the big three (Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony) Microsoft kicked things off with its press conference this morning and they announced no small amount of stuff. So here’s the breakdown of what you may have missed:

The Beatles: Rockband – We’ve known about this one for a while. It’s coming out 9/9/09. Ringo and Paul came out to say how pleased they were with it. Ten of the tracks for it were announced and it was demoed on stage.

Is It A Big Deal? Yes, because it’s the first time the Beatles’ music has ever appeared in a game or anything of the sort. And whatever helps edge Rock Band over Guitar Hero, I’m all for it.

Tony Hawk: Ride – Mr. Hawk himself came out to demonstrate his latest game that includes a skateboard controller.

Is It A Big Deal? Umm, if you like skate boarding, sure, I guess. I couldn’t care less.

New Games Shown: Crackdown 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Forza 3, Alan Wake, Halo: ODST – I loved Crackdown, so a sequel will be nice. I missed out on the original L4D but have played it a few times and enjoyed it so maybe I’ll get 2. The new Splinter Cell has been delayed a million times so it’s nice to hear from it again. Forza I don’t care about. The Alan Wake project has been plauged with issues just like Conviction so it’s good to see it up and running. Halo: ODST we’ve known about for a while, I’m still not all that interested to be honest with you.

Is It A Big Deal? A mild yes in most cases.

Halo Reach Announced A new Halo game and it’s a prequel. Not a gap-filling half-game like ODST, this is the next big one and it’s looking at a 2010 release.

Is It A Big Deal? Yes. Any new full entry into the Halo series is huge for Microsoft.

Last.fm, Facebook, Twitter Coming To NXE – Streaming radio and the ability to check your favorite social networking sites will now be integrated into the dash.

Is It A Big Deal? Yes and a smart move if you ask me. Yet another way to get people sucked into spending time on the platform. I know I’ll try it out. Doing it through the PS3 or Wii in a browser is one thing, but having it integrated into the system and allowing screenshot uploading to Facebook walls etc, that’s something else. Good thinking.

Metal Gear Solid: Rising Coming To The 360 – The MGS franchise has been exclusive to Sony for years (just like Final Fantasy, but we all saw how that went last year). It has been their bread and butter and MGS4 is how they managed to get as many PS3’s out the door as they have.

Is It A Big Deal? More like HUGE. Big win for MS.

Project Natal – Probably the biggest bombshell of the conference. Microsoft announced a camera add-on for the 360 that will include facial and voice recognition and full body motion capture. No need for a motion controller like the Wii, instead you are the controller. They showed a video of a kid in a fighting game, two girls video chatting, operating the dashboard menus by waving your hands around etc.

Is It A Big Deal? Yes… on one condition: that it works. Just like when the Wii came out, it talks a good game but when you try it yourself something feels off. And Nintendo admitted something was wrong in the form of announcing Wii Motion Plus, the controller add-on that will make the system as responsive as it should have been from the get go. But as far as controller-less video gaming, I don’t see it taking over the industry anytime soon. I’ll believe it when I see it in action.

Ability To Download Full Retail Games From XboxLive – PS3 has already done it with a handful of games but now you will finally be able to purchase full retail games and download them directly to your 360’s hard drive.

Is It A Big Deal? Yes! Finally! I can’t wait until we get to the point of disc-less media and this is another huge step in the right direction that they have been dragging their feet on.

Microsoft’s Overall Showing – Impressive. A lot of content to the presentation this year as opposed to last. Nintendo is going to need a new flagship game (Mario, Zelda etc.) and Sony is going to need more than a new PSP to counter Microsoft’s early momentum.