Crispy Gamer

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  • I only took a couple meetings at GDC this year, but one appointment I managed to keep was a brief sit down to take another look at CrimeCraft -- a massively multiplayer shooter being developed by Vogster. The last time I met with Casey Dickinson and Matt McEreney from team Vogster they stopped by my house here in Minneapolis to give me a first look at the game. By a great and convenient coincidence they were showing the game on the same laptop that I use for gaming a hefty Dell XPS M1710. I noted then as I do now that while top of the line back in 2006, the laptop isn't exactly what you'd consider a powerhouse any more. The game looked good in December and it looked even better last month at GDC on the same PC.

    A little refresher if you didn't read ...

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    For a while there today, it seemed like Nintendo had made a large timing error with the planned release of its long anticipated Wii MotionPlus accessory. Initially, it looked like the $20 Wii Remote add-on (which is still listed for listed for $25 at Gamestop for some reason) would be literally useless between its
    June 8 release and the June 16 release of its first compatible games: EA Sports' Grand Slam Tennis and Tiger Woods PGA Tour '10. The apparent gap, which was pointed out by MTV Multiplayer and the...

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    I haven’t tried to program anything since elementary school when a heavy yellow Compu*Tech binder initiated me to the secrets of “If…Then” loops. Reviewing and writing about video games has kept a tiny spark of programming interest alive in my brain, so I let Microsoft show me Kodu, their new game programming platform.

    If you’re thinking, “Wait, didn’t Microsoft already deliver XNA to wannabe developers a little while ago?” then you’d be right. Games developed with the XNA toolset–like The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai– wind up on Xbox Live’s Community Games channel. The lead on the Kodu project, Matt MacLaurin, also works closely with the company’s XNA team, and says one of the main differences is that Kodu happens entirely on the console via a graphical user interface....

  • We are is giving away an undisclosed number of Xbox Live Arcade codes for Infinite Interactive 's Puzzle Quest: Galactrix .

    To get a code - on a first come first serve basis - send an email to prizes@crispygamer.com with the subject line Puzzle Quest: Galactrix Code to claim one.

    Published by D3 Publisher of America, Infinite Interactive's Puzzle Quest: Galactrix takes the formula that worked so well with the original Puzzle Quest game and puts it in a new sci-fi setting where instead of battling wizards and knights you battle other races throughout the universe.

    Players create a pilot who must gain skills, crafts items, political clout and upgrades...

  • The indie game And Yet It Moves was recently released on Steam and Greenhouse. It's a platformer in which you puzzle your way through the levels by jumping and falling, with the ability to rotate the world itself in four different directions. 

    It's another example of the self-conscious formal invention that characterizes more and more indies. And its implications are pretty cool -- where "normal" platformers have you manipulating a body that is continually, perilously in danger, in this game the "body" is the combination of figure and ground. Where effective navigation -- platforming -- once required fluency with the given environment,...

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    Things I learned while playing Twitter-based typing game Fast 140 for the past half hour (in no particular order).

    • Phillies Sportscaster Harry Kalas died. Many people are sad about this.
    • President Obama has eased sanctions against Cuba. Many people are happy about this.
    • Phil Spector has been found guilty in his murder trial.
    • Lots of people like TweetDeck, Red Dwarf and The Cubs and also like talking about said subjects.
    • Many people had a great Easter and hope everyone else also had a great Easter.
    • At least one person spent Easter wondering how jesus pooped.
    • Easter is harder when it has to be gluten free (I wonder how this affects pooping...

  • When you got to the end of Dead Rising and beat the asshole on the tank with your bare hands (let me repeat that: your bare hands), did you feel like you’d won?  I felt like I’d lost. I didn’t save everyone, I merely survived. Did I play Dead Rising to be the sole survivor or to be the hero – even though the latter is impossible?  Maybe the only reason you get to live is because a sequel has already been planned and gamers want to connect to a particular character.

    Dead Rising is Zombie Groundhog Day, but as you relive those dark moments over and over again you realize you can only fix so many things.  Capcom’s game is particularly challenging because you can't save everyone. You may want to, but it's just not possible because the survivors ...

  • OK, I'll admit I'm a bit late to the party on this one, but I just saw this "accessory" for the Wii called the Riiflex. It gives new meaning to Wii Fit. The company that makes these is Power Play and they offer a 2-pound and 4-pound pair of dumbbells. The company is taking preorders for them and the weights should start shipping this summer.

    There have been some pretty lame accessories out there from the Wii remote, but this actually seems fairly useful. Granted it's not going to buff you like Arnold, but it could tone the arms up a bit, especially if you tend to flail wildly as I do in some games. The only drawback I see is that I expect my right arm to get more of a workout than my left, since I don't use the nunchuck portion...

  • It was revealed yesterday that Dave Arneson, a co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, died at the age of 61. Gary Gygax, the other co-creator, died last March. I had chatted with and interviewed Gygax numerous times, but I had never had the pleasure of picking Arneson's brain. Their collaborative effort is a big reason thousands of people have gotten into playing games, developing games and writing fantasy fiction. I know it was a huge influence for me.

    I played D&D for 10+ years. I had numerous characters and adventures, but one in particular always stands out. I won't bore you with it here, but if you are interested, you can read the short story that came out of it. When you get...

  • If you haven't had the chance to check out Gus Mastrapa's review of The Godfather II I urge you to do so, because it's an excellent read with some important points about making games based on movies that many people consider sacred cows. But what is more fascinating to me is the civil discussion about the role of these kinds of games, why games are art (or aren't) and whether or not consumers are shooting the rest of us in the foot when they buy a game like The Godfather II.

    I don't really agree with everything said in the comments of that review but I think there are several excellent points of view in there worth reading through. I write this little blog post at this ridiculous hour because it is this kind of civil discourse that...

  • The above screenshot, released with the announcement that Volition will be including the "ostrich hammer" as an unlockable weapon in Red Faction: Guerrilla, throws the rest of the game's earthy (well, Martian) brown tones and sci-fi lego boxes into painfully sharp relief. Volition got the idea for the weapon from a NeoGAF photochop that pokes fun at the game's dead-serious portrayal of Martian revolution. With the ostrich hammer, you can smack people in the face with the ostrich's belly as you swing the bird around by its unfortunately long neck. It's the deadpan, realistic portrayal of ostrich hitting armor that makes it work. This is the first time I've...

  •    It's one thing to be a clone but it is quite another to do it well. Bezerk Studios' Hero's Arms is undoubtedly a clone of Zelda, but combines the experience system of Zelda II: Link to the Past with the graphical style of Zelda to create a fun little throw-away game.

    And by throw-away, I mean 15 - 25 hours of disposable fun.

    Instead of giving you magic spells, the game ties its magic system to your weapons. There's also money grind to purchase various weapons and armor, but there's not a lot to beyond that but explore, kill things and fight an occasional boss battle. I've only played the game for four hours or so but i'm finding it enjoyable.

    Like Zelda,...

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    Inspired by Gus’ pained review of the Godfather II, I realized that if you can’t beat ’em, join ‘em.
     
    So, hey, big name videogame companies! Here’s my picks for some classic films that desperately need games. I’ve even helped you out with my elevator pitches for each game:
     
    Casablanca: Duck and cover,  Call of Duty, when Rick Blaine hits the streets of this dusty Moroccan burg, nothing, and no one, will stand in his way as he blasts Nazi’s and saves the girl. Produced in evocative black and white,...
  • King of Kong star Steve "World's Nicest Guy" Wiebe will once again battle Billy Mitchell and his magnificent hair helmet at this year's E3.

    http://www.thegamereviews.com/story-3021-Steve-Wiebe-to-Take-on-Billy-Mitchell-at-E3.html

    At stake: the world record for the highest score ever in Donkey Kong.

    Few people know this, but during CG's early days, Managing Editor Elise Vogel and I travelled all the way to Hollywood, Florida to the flagship of Billy's Mitchell's restaurant chain, Rickey's World Famous.

    We nibbled on the chicken wings. We sampled the hot sauces. We drank about a hundred Cokes. We kept...

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    For all their underdog charm, indie games are the ones with cool haircuts. The real outsiders -- the ones with the prickly personalities and odd smell -- are the serious games, the simulations that business, academic, and government instutitions use to train their noobs. John Teti and I wandered into the Serious Games showcase at GDC and did some toying around. Watch: In five years, these games are going to be all the rage.

  • Prime time is no longer the stronghold of television anymore, according to some data released by Nielsen. These days, gamers of all shapes, sizes, genders and ages, are turning to computers and consoles for entertainment. Of course, this data does not yet take into account programs recorded using Tivo and DVR, but it is certainly a shift. And what, if any affect has Hulu had on TV viewing? I know I watch a lot of programs there instead of watching them when they air because it is more convenient. Does this factor into the decline Nielson is seeing?

    The most popular console remained the PS2, but usage is on a decline and should be out of the top spot in a few months. The report also suggested that Xbox 360 and PS3 users are more engaged and less likey to watch TV during prime-time.

     So what were the most popular games on...

  • The Godfather II is in stores this week. If I hear from one more of you about how the game "isn' really all that bad," I'm going to start taping handguns to the backs of toilets in chophouses and offering to take you to a chophouse for dinner. You've been warned.

    To mark the occasion, EA sent out further proof that they have no business whatsoever managing the IP or trying to strongarm it into a videogame.

    I received a cheap wooden cigar box in the mail a few days ago which featured a semi-official looking "Certificate of Naturalization" (which includes my CG author photo, only rendered in sepia tones), loaded dice, a garrote, a cigar, a red hankie, and honest-to-god brass knuckles.

    The box included the following letter:

    April 3, 1959

    Welcome to the family, Lil Scottie.

    Me and the boys tossed together a few "essential" to get you started.

    -PAPERS - For getting around. Fill...


  • (Image courtesy: Wired)

    Update -- 10:40 a.m. April 2, 2009: Two new cakes from WhatTheyPlay and GeekSugar added to the bottom of the post. We're now up to nine confirmed cake sightings! How many more can there be? Probably not many, but keep your eyes peeled. Also, be sure to check out Jeremy Parish's thoughts on what the heck to do with a cake like this.

    A note to all PR companies engaged in the never-ending battle for press attention: The bar has just been raised.

    I'm no stranger to the ridiculous swag that comes with a big gaming launch (just check...

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    Thanks to wickedly wonderful white magic of Netflix on demand movies and my Roku box, I finally had a chance this weekend to watch Uwe Boll’s satirical masterpiece, Postal.
     
    I’ll propobably have my game cred plucked forever from my wallet by angry entertainment cops, but I liked the movie. Yes it was dumb. Yes it was offensive. And yes, sometimes it just kind of meandered. But this is par for the course for most gonzo flicks. They try so hard that it’s almost impossible for them to work on all levels all the time.
      
    So, while the movie won’t likely go down on my list of all time favorites, I thought it was a lot better than I expected it to be and at times was truly funny and biting.
    Why did I think I would hate it?...
  • The DSi itself is a slender, sleek little sliver of a game machine/camera hybrid. But the packaging that it ships in? That's heavy as hell. Only by tearing the box apart was I able to discover the source of the mystery weight: of course, it's the gargantuan DSi manual. This thing is a whopping 330 pages in length and--as you can see from the pic--weighs in at over 11 oz. The DSi, in contrast, weighs less than 8 ounces. Do we really need a 300-plus page manual to splain to us how to operate a machine that's supposedly one of the most intuitive pieces of hardware in gaming history? According to Nintendo, we do. For my next feat of strength, I tried to impress my cats by tearing the manual IN HALF. (Drumroll please.) But all I succeeded at was just bending it a bit. :(

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