Full Circle

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Sony gets very angry with me and GameSpot over the Ratchet & Clank review.

Then Kane & Lynch happens, and Jeff takes the fall.

Jeff is back.

I now work for SCEA (my interview was in the Ratchet conference room).

Funny how things have a way of working out.

Harmonix's Alex Navarro: How to Get Your Dysfunctional Family Rocking This Chris

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Some things are bound to happen at every family Christmas gathering: Grandma will complain that you don't call her enough; one of your uncles will have too much to drink and tell embarrassing stories about you to the person your dating; somebody's going to break outRock Band. That's when thingsreallyget interesting.

Old people and Rock Band are an odd mix. They're always curious about what the heck is happening, but because they're old, one of two things always seems to happen: They refuse to play because technology scares the hell out of them, or they decide to give the game a shot and you spend the next hour yelling at people to stop hitting buttons so you can navigate the menus.

I wanted to find out if there was any way to make the inevitable old people/Rock Band scenario less of a debacle, so I turned to the foremost expert on the subject: Alex Navarro.Alex is a publicist for Harmonix, and one of the primary duties of his job involves going to media events, bars, and even concerts to show off Rock Band to the -- gasp --general public. The man is a wizard; he could go to the Vatican and get them rocking in a matter of minutes.

Hit up Bitmob.com for Alex's expert advice on how to get your non-gaming, musically-challenged family members rocking:

http://bitmob.com/index.php/mobfeed/harmonixs-alex-navarro-how-to-get-your-dysfunctional-family-rocking-this-christmas.html

Mobcast 34: Kasavin, Shoemaker, Ocampo, and Thomas

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It's a reunion of former GameSpot editors on this week's Mobcast. Bitmob's Aaron Thomas is joined by 2k Games' Greg Kasavin,Giant Bomb'sBrad Shoemaker, and Jason Ocampo, who may or may-not reveal his new gig during the show.

The foursome discuss holiday memories, the decade's top-gaming moments, 2009's biggest trends, deadline writing, and the place of social games in the hierarchy of gaming.

http://bitmob.com/index.php/mobfeed/mobcast-episode-34.html

Shanker and Aaron: Voice-Acting Stars

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Have you ever heard wooden voice acting in a game and thought you could do better? Me too. That's why when 2K Sports offered me the chance to record crowd chatter for next year'sMLB 2K10, I jumped on the opportunity like C.C. Sabathia pouncing on the last hot dog at Yankee Stadium. I decided to invite Shanker Srinivasan, along for the trip because...well, I needed a ride from the ferry terminal to 2K's offices inNovato,California.

Read about, watch, and listen to the whole adventure here:

http://bitmob.com/index.php/mobfeed/my-day-as-a-voice-actor-for-mlb-2k10.html

Nobody Should Care That I Dislike Uncharted 2

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*Edit - I tagged this as an editorial because that's what it is. Unfortunately, that also put it in the community soapbox, which wasn't my intention. It doesn't belong there, and as soon as the matter was brought to my attention, I changed the topic. I apologize.

If you've been followingmy tweetsas I play throughUncharted 2, you already know that I don't particularly like the game. Not only do I not like it, but I can't fathom how it currently has a 97 score at Metacritic.com.

Not one of the 75 people who have reviewed the game has given it less than a 9.0. Nobody in the entire industry seems to think that the game is anything less than stellar. It makes me furious that not one person has registered a dissenting opinion on the game -- I'm legitimately upset by this.

I'm an idiot -- a complete moron.

Please read the rest of this article at Bitmob.com. I hope you find that it's worth your time.

http://bitmob.com/index.php/mobfeed/nobody-should-care-that-i-dislike-uncharted-2.html

Go Ahead, Ruin My Day: Rugrats Edition

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Every once in a while I get a really bad idea. Mybrilliant planto take four of my crappy games and let you vote on which one I had to play was one such bad idea. The winner of the "contest" was actuallySuperman 64, but so many people commented that the game had been covered-to-death that I made the executive decision to go with the runner-up,Rugrats: Search For Reptarfor the original PlayStation.

My plan wasn't to beat the game, so I decided that come hell or high water, I'd commit to this torture for an hour. No more and no less. You might think I'm a wimp for only playing for an hour, but believe me, it felt much, much, much longer.

I own the game (please don't ask why) and a PlayStation; however, I wanted to share screenshots with you, so I played the game on an emulator (again, with the original disc). It made the graphics a little less jaggy, but I promise you that it didn't make the game any more enjoyable.

Hit Bitmob.com to read all about how Rugrats: Search For Reptar ruined my day.

Guitar Hero 5's Music Boss on Difficult Rock Stars, The Beatles, and More

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I got the chance to speak with Tim Riley, Vice President of Music Affairs at Activision, at a recent event forGuitar Hero 5. We talked about the challenges that go along with working with rock stars, why people should still care aboutGuitar Hero, what it's like to listen to master tracks, and even Tim's thoughts onBeatles: Rock Band.


Bitmob: What is your involvement with the Guitar Hero series?

Tim Riley:I run the music department at Activision. I work with nine other people on anything music related at Activision, but 90 percent of my job is Guitar Hero. I work with the developers to select the music and negotiate the deals. I also do all of the character deals, get the artists' skins, and get them in the game. I even book bands to play events.

Bitmob: Musicians have the reputation of being difficult to work with. What are some of the most bizarre hurdles you've had to overcome to get an artist or band into the game?

TR:Trust me, there have been many, and it's hard to pick just one. There have been bad ones, but I'll share a good experience with you. I tried to put a Sex Pistols song inGuitar Hero 3so I reached out to the band's management and record label. The band was interested, but at this time not everyone knew that we needed the actual studio recordings to put a song in the game. The story, or legend, with the Sex Pistols is that they've lost their studio recordings.Never Mind the Bollocks-- the whole record is missing...

Read the rest at Bitmob.com

http://bitmob.com/index.php/mobfeed/interview-with-activisions-vice-president-of-music-affairs-tim-riley.html

Ghost-Busted: How a Few Poor Design Choices (and my subsequent anger) Ruined Gho

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I just wanted to have fun with Ghostbusters.

Instead, Ghostbusters nearly gave me a stroke.

I was having a great time ridding New York City of ghouls. It wasgood fun running through the museum, indiscriminately blowing up priceless artifacts with my proton pack. Wrangling ghosts wasn't terribly challenging, but the mechanic for doing so was simple and immensely satisfying.There really was a lot to like about the Ghostbusters.

Sure, the story should have been much better. Yes, the cutscenes were sometimes awkward and in desperate need of a director's touch. I won't argue that the game as a whole could have used the ambiguous, review-friendly-crutch known as "polish."

I didn't really care about any of the game's issues because bustin' made me feel good.

And then I got to the end.

F**k the end.

Read the rest at Bitmob.com
http://bitmob.com/index.php/mobfeed/Ghost-Busted-How-a-Few-Poor-Design-Choices-and-my-Subsequent-Anger-Ruined-Ghostbusters.html

The Real Beatles Vs. The Beatles: Rock Band

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Some of the Bitmob crew got together last week for a little hands-on time with The Beatles: Rock Band. That coverage was embargoed until today, but we're now able to share this important news with the world: Shoe and I are most likely the next Lennon and McCartney.

Neither Demian and his hot red pants, nor Shoe's girlfriend Raychul could focus on the simple task of playing their instruments while Shoe and I harmonized during "I Wanna Be Your Man" and "Yellow Submarine." It was truly magical, if I do say so myself.

OK, most of that previous text is a lie. What is true; however, is that The Beatles: Rock Band is a lot of fun. Beatlemaniacs in particular will enjoy the small touches that Harmonix has put into the game just for fans of the Fab Four. The outfits, locations, facial expressions, instruments -- everything is just as it was when the Beatles ruled the airwaves in the 1960's. Just how accurate is the game? We've paired screenshots from TB:RB with their real-life counterparts (or as close as we could find)to let youdecide for yourself.

The Cavern Club in Liverpool

Head on over to Bitmob.com to see the rest of the shots. And feel free to Digg the article if you're so inclined!

http://digg.com/music/The_Real_Beatles_Vs_The_Beatles_Rock_Band