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ErrolJames Blog

Cole McGrath

There's been a lot of controversy as of late with our hero from the inFamous series. With word of a 2011 release of a sequel set in what appears to be New Orleans, Sucker Punch decided to give Game Informer an exclusive first look. The first thing people noticed on the cover was the new look of Cole McGrath. I thought he was a new character to the series, but the article was sure it was Cole.

There were many things about this new Cole that irks me. The first thing was the blue electricity flowing around him. Blue electricity implies that Cole is going to be a good character. What's up with that? Being evil in the first inFamous was a lot more fun. It made the story more believable seeing as how Cole's luck didn't change either way you played it. Another thing that irked me was the look itself. It was hard to believe Cole was human in the first inFamous. He started to show black lines around his head and neck as he grew more evil. The grimy look Cole had combined with the dark nature of Empire City really brought out an apocalyptic feel of the game. Good Cole didn't look like he belonged in the sewers fighting off reapers. Let's look at cover of the July issue of Game Informer. There's a fire in the background, people are shooting at him, but Cole looks like he's on his way to the nearest Abercrombie and Fitch. Must be a sale or something. The developers would have had to explain where and when the former sewer rat got his queer eye makeover

After a huge backlash from fans over the redesigned Cole, the developers at Sucker Punch decided to once again redesign Cole to make him look more like the Cole we met in the first inFamous. I probably wouldn't have minded the original redesign if they had presented him as evil. That way his electricity would at lease be red, and he wouldn't look so anxious to get to his hair appointment.

Every Dollar Counts

I had a collection of over 30 games I had purchased over the past two years in December 2008. That same month I was laid off from my job due to my boss not having anywhere to put me in the budget. My gaming collection today consists of two games, Grand Theft Auto IV and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle which I purchased this past January. Since then I've played through at least 7 games that were rented through either GameFly or Blockbuster. Renting games has become a norm in my life. I can't rationalize spending $60 on a game.

GameFly is where it's at. $15 dollars a month allows you to rent a game for as long as you want. I usually keep a game for a month which has allowed me to play Mass Effect 2, Heavy Rain, God of War 3, and Splinter Cell Conviction for the price of one game. GameFly's shipping has gotten better. They've got a feature called Fast Return which allows them to ship out your next game before the game you sent back returns to their warehouse. They do it by receiving a scanned confirmation from the US Postal Service. Deliveries to my house have been great. Every game I rented this year has shown up 2 days after I got the confirmation email. They've been so consistent that I can forgive them for having to wait an extra day for a game I'm waiting on right now.

There are the times when the hassle of shipping a game and waiting for a new one is too much. By the time the game shows up I've forgotten why I wanted to play it in the first place. That's where Blockbuster fits in the picture. It's about $10 to rent a game today. I shop at two different Blockbusters, and I've yet to have a problem with a game being sold out. It doesn't hurt that I've got both the PS3 and 360. The 5 day limit with games can be tough. It puts me in a mode where I have to put a little more concentration on finishing the game. Small consequence for not having to wait a week.

Nintendo executives need to get off of their high horse. The economy has something to do with this "slump" in games. These executives don't ever mention that used game sales are on the rise. Why do you think places such as Best Buy are starting to sell uses games? Don't downplay the economy like people aren't trying to save money. How would Nintendo know? The Wii's in the lead and software sales are great. I bet if these executives lost their jobs to recent college grads they wouldn't be on that bs.

The Shortest Night of the Year: E3 Edition

I saw too much Hideo Kojima at E3. First he's gassing up Metal Gear Solid: Rising at the Microsoft show, then he's in the 3DS commercial at the Nintendo show. I try to get away from it all so I go on Twitter and all I see is #MetalGearSolidRising & #HideoKojima. I didn't know what to do. I started thinking about where I was in the Metal Gear Solid series. I revisited the first Metal Gear Solid on the PSP, but I'm still not buying Peace Walker. What about Metal Gear Solid IV? I never finished the last act. Maybe now's the time to see how Old Snake is doing?

I rented Metal Gear Solid IV on Friday. The game is a ****c. It felt like I've been playing it for the past two years. I managed to finish the first two acts in two days. I'm still on the 3rd act as of right now. I'll probably be at the 4th Act by the time the sun comes up. Wish me luck.

I finally remembered to put Alan Wake in a mailbox. It's been in my backseat for at least a week. That game is wack. It's not worthy of an individual post so I'll review it here. The game took 5 years to develop. The developers spent at least four and a half of those years trying to figure out how to make the game interesting. It's a pathetic Silent Hill clone at best. I can't believe that game even made it's way into my 360. I want an apology from Microsoft Game Studios for deciding to publish such garbage. I'll settle for a refund for my HD DVD drive.

The E3 Show: Sony

Sony Sony Sony. Your show was lame. It was too long, and not that interesting. You spent the beginning of the show gassing up 3D technology that's coming soon. That's cool, but you could have answered this simple question. Do I need a 3D television? If I do then no wonder why the PS3 is still in last place. I'm playing games from my 19" LCD monitor that I've had since 2005. I don't have an extra $2000 lying around to buy a brand new 3D TV. Don't you know it's a recession? It would be amazing to play a game like Killzone 3 in 3D with the PlayStation Move, but it's looking like something for people with a lot of time and money on their hands.

The presentation for the PlayStation Move did not inspire me to want to purchase it. That Sorcery game looked repetitive while it was being demoed. I swing my arms to do some sort of magic trick to kill enemies... No thanks. That Harry Potter knockoff can sit down as far as I'm concerned. I had the opportunity to use the PlayStation Move back in March, and I was not impressed. It's clear that Sony is after that Nintendo Wii customer base. None of the games presented on the PlayStation Move seem original. There's the party games, the sports games, and the shooters. I will say Resident Evil 4 blew me away on the Wii, so I bet Resident Evil 5 will be a lot more fun with the PlayStation Move due to the graphics and co-op.

During the show everybody at Sony kept talking about Kevin Butler. The spokesperson for Sony for the past year. They kept mentioning how he wasn't there and blah blah blah. Then they mentioned their sponsorship with Coca Cola, and that's when Kevin Butler showed up. He was definitely the highlight of the show. He started his segment with a joke about the Cirque du Soleil show for Microsoft's Kinect before going on about how everybody who plays video games is a gamer. We already knew that Jerry. He also took the time to introduce Marcus the new spokesperson for the PSP. Besides the "Step your game up" marketing campaign, the PSP had a horrible show. While Nintendo is introducing a new portable hardware system with the 3DS, Sony's promising 70 new PSP titles by the fall. That's it? No new PSP, price cut, or games that I care about. Next.

Like I said earlier Sony's show was way too long. It was over 2 hours while the other 2 kept theirs to about an hour and a half. I had to leave my laptop to get food. Before I left they were talking about PlayStation Plus the $50 subscription service to the PlayStation Network. They promise exclusive things such as games and trailers, but didn't mention anything about a faster connection. I think I missed a trailer for Infamous 2 and nothing too important since nobody's going crazy. When I came back an Ice Cream truck driven by a clown was on stage. Twisted Metal is back. The demo looked chaotic. I was a little confused as to what the demo was trying to accomplish, but I think it was showing off a new multiplayer mode. For the sake of the fond memories I have of the series, I'll say welcome back Twisted Metal. I hope you still have what it takes.

PSP Whoa

The PSP-3000 reminds me of the Sega Game Gear. They're almost the same shape and are both too big to fit in my pocket. Even if I stopped wearing skinny jeans I wouldn't put the PSP-3000 in my pocket. The screen is so big it would probably get scratched by my keys. Maybe Sony should redesign the PSP. Oh wait they did. The PSP Go.

I don't understand why the PSP Go gets so much negativity. The Recession probably has something to do with it. It isn't the brightest idea for Sony to sell the PSP Go for $50 less than its Blu-Ray player that just so happens to play video games. Especially when the PSP-3000 is $199.99 compared to $249.99 for the PSP Go. The PSP Go is a pretty penny, but there are a lot of Secret Santa's out there.

I've read reviews saying the PSP Go sucks because it doesn't have a UMD drive. UMD dics remind me of mini disc players so to that I say get an iPod and good riddance. Change is hard for some. They say the Macbook Air sucks because it doesn't have a disc drive. I wonder how many of these people download albums and movies from the Internet only to send them to their iPod's. It's not like you can return an opened PSP game to GameStop and expect to get a full refund. Besides the cases for these UMD games waste space, and there is always the risk of having a disc stolen. Game theft have been on the rise over the years. Maybe we should just accept digital downloads as the future. I can understand how a person who already owns a PSP could get mad, but maybe the PSP Go isn't for you

Game of the Decade is a Myth

Can a game stand the test of time long enough to define a decade? I doubt it. Many innovative games have been released this decade, but they usually become nothing more than a great sequel a few years later. There isn't a fair way to compare a game that was made in 2009 with a game made before 2005. It's hard enough trying to compare a game to it's predecessor. Put Grand Theft Auto 3 next to Grand Theft Auto IV and they both look dated when compared to a game like Assassin's Creed 2. Graphics aren't everything, the Wii proved that, but they do increase a games chances of surviving the test of time.

We're at a point of the cycle where most of the original IP's released this generation have sequels. Should we ignore predecessors and give the award to a game with no sequels or the latest game in a franchise? I'm sure there are people who feel that both Uncharted 2 and Assassin's Creed 2 are not as good as the originals, but sales say otherwise. Do sales matter when it comes to determining the Game of the Decade? If so, then Wii Sports should be a contender which is an insult to gamers.

If the award was divided by genre, how would the Sports Title of the Decade be determined? Would it be the 2010 (2k10) edition because of the latest features, or does the roster at a certain year determine it's dominance? Since Madden has been the only NFL game since 2004, should we consider Madden to be the NFL title of the decade?

It's hard enough trying to compare a game released in 2009 with a game released in 2008. When a game is new, it represents the year it was released. Look at Fallout 3 and Borderlands. Both games, released a year apart, are First Person RPG's set in a wasteland. Fallout 3 uses the setting to complement the dark theme about Washington DC after a nuclear war. It was released in 2008 when the economy was beginning to really suck, and the future wasn't looking too bright. Borderlands comes out a year later and has a more lighthearted approach to a wasteland. Instead of feeling like a victim to the situation, your on a treasure hunt with funny robots, cool guns, and raiders who don't have bodies hanging outside of their hideouts. Both games have different intentions, but what a difference a year makes. The lighthearted approach this year could be a reason why Mickey Mouse is returning with Epic Mickey next year.

Game of the Year? Yes

Game of the Decade? Not Possible, but I'd give it to Grand Theft Auto IV

Games Delivered?

The holiday season is right around the corner, and the price of a new game isn't going down anytime soon. Finding a way to cut costs on this expensive habit has proven to be an annoying task. Renting a video game at a video store has always been an effective strategy, but finding an available copy on the release date of a new game can be tough. They say patience is a virtue, but how long do you have until the next new game is out? This week alone we saw Need For Speed: Shift, Wet, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, and NHL 10 hit store shelves. I decided to give GameFly a try. For those that don't know GameFly is to games what Netflix is to movies. Their premise is simple Games Delivered. Too bad they can't seem to get it right.

If you want to stay on top of video games, your going to be busy. You should be busy playing video games, not waiting for them to show up. The first game I rented from GameFly was Okami. It's availability was high, and I received an email from GameFly saying they shipped the game the day after I joined. Eight days later, Okami shows up in my mailbox. GameFly claims a game should be at your doorstep in 2-4 business days. I excused the delay as them working out the kinks. No harm, no foul. Every game in My GameQ has yet to be released except for Cursed Mountain, which GameFly claims to have shipped September 9th. Seven business days later, Cursed Mountain is still not at my doorstep. Why am I not surprised?

When Batman: Arkham Asylum was released last month, I was determined to play it on the day it came out. Buying it wasn't an option so I called Blockbuster. The one I called didn't have it, but the employee directed me to a Blockbuster that did. To my surprise, I was playing a rented copy of Batman: Arkham Asylum for the PS3 on the day it was released. Knowing the copy hadn't been played by anybody else made me feel cool. The 5 day limit I had with the game inspired me to finish the story as fast as possible. I played it relentlessly, and 2 nights later I finished the story. Has anybody with a GameFly account received a game on the day it was released? If not then Blockbuster might be the way to go.

I did contact GameFly when Okami didn't show up, but all I got back were generic responses that I'm guessing they use when people have an issue. It didn't do much in the way of trying to figure out what happened to the game. I would talk to them about Cursed Mountain, but something tells me I'll get nowhere. Writing this feels like the way to go. So much for trying to stay on top of the new releases for the month of September...

Hubby Hubby Ice Cream

Hubby Hubby Ice Cream

Gay Tony is probably enjoying his night with some Ben & Jerry's Hubby Hubby Ice Cream. He has a lot to celebrate. For starters the first trailer for The Ballad of Gay Tony is now available. Gay Tony's Ballad is looks as if it's aiming to be over the top and fabulous. You have to be pretty fabulous to end up a trending topic on Twitter. Liberty City has been appearing in the news a lot as of late. Huang Lee & his quest for the Yu Jian sword is making it's way to the PSP on October 20. This war in Chinatown has got to stop people. There's word from the rock stars that iPhone and iPod Touch users will be able to get in on the action sometime this fall. Be careful ladies and gentleman.

Trending Topics

What do Empire City, Washington D.C. in 2277, Arkham Asylum, and Rapture have in common? They all give off the impression that humanity is in serious trouble. This theme of a post-apocalyptic past or future seems to be one of the hottest trends in video games. The typical dark theme in a game used to involve a certain level of horror or some type of war. Now it's all about something causing humanity to go insane. Either it's a nuclear explosion, a viral infection, or simply ending up in an insane asylum. Background characters who used to be funny and uplifting have been replaced with miserable people who are either crazy or have nothing to live for. Could it have something to do with today's economy?

Empire City best represents todays economic situation. Most of the people didn't see the explosion coming that changed their lives, and after it happened they are trying their best to maintain. Sure there were people that saw it coming, but maybe they were more informed about the situation than others. Cole is kind of like President Barack Obama. People either love him or hate him, but they're watching to see how he handles the situation. President Obama might not have any superpowers, but he's arguably the most powerful person on the planet.

Do you think these apocalyptic themes make people feel better about today's economy? The number of people playing games has been rising. Maybe the number of people unemployed has something to do with that. It might add fear to a persons outlook of the future since games like Fallout 3 predict devastating nuclear activities. One could only hope for a better tomorrow and try to do something about it today.

You Never Go Away

Call of Duty has come a long way from it's days as a PC first person shooter set during World War 2. The transition to the current generation of home consoles helped set itself apart from other series such as Battlefield and Medal of Honor. After increasing success with it's four sequels, the series has its eyes on creating the best selling game of all time when Modern Warfare 2 is released in November. Whether or not that happens is up to us, but is this the peak of Call of Duty's success?

Call of Duty 2 was introduced to the Xbox 360 in November of 2005. A sequel has been released every year under Activision's inFamous business model. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in 2007 proved to be a breath of fresh air to the series. The new setting and weapons gave way to a higher level of success for the series. Last year we went back to World War 2 with COD: World at War. I think the step backwards helps Modern Warfare 2's chances at the top spot since it's had some time away from the spotlight to be missed. If Modern Warfare 2 becomes the best selling game of all time, how much time will it take before we see another Call of Duty? If it's by Activision's business model about 365 days, which doesn't feel like a long enough time to be missed. Then again Guitar Hero is doing fine, and Tony Hawk did ok until the series ran into the ground. Most of the top selling series are still relevant today because they take time off between releases.

Imagine if a new Grand Theft Auto was released every year. Every odd year it's set in Liberty City, and every even year its set in Vice City. That would mean this years Grand Theft Auto would be set in Liberty City. Do we deal with it because we love the series so much, or would we say enough and demand for something fresh? The sales of the series probably wouldn't be as strong as they are, unless the controversy around each release is what draws so many people to the series. Modern Warfare 2 has had it's fair share of controversy, so maybe it will keep the series alive in the future. Switching back and forth from World War 2 and Modern Warfare could keep the series going, but for how much longer? First Person Shooters have it hard enough trying to stand out in an overcrowded market. Will the name keep the series going 5 years from now? Can another Call of Duty top the success Modern Warefare 2 has in store? Sales will probably stay strong, but is it all downhill from here? Maybe the series need to take a break...