Hallway_Giant Blog

Giant....GameSpot?

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So apparently everything has come full circle and the former GameSpot crew that is Jeff, Ryan, Brad, Vinny, and Alex (sadly without Greg, Carrie, or Rich of course) are coming back to GameSpot, sort of. As someone who has been a member of GameSpot for almost a decade I've watched the site change pretty significantly, ultimately leaving in 2008 when I felt that the site as a whole had changed in a way that I was not cool with, especially with a lot of the personalities having left. Giant Bomb felt like a crazy gaming skunk works where these guys could finally do all the stupid **** that they weren't able to do under the GameSpot banner.

A lot has changed and the folks at Whiskey Media have made the right moves to try to bring in income and viewers while still keeping a low-fi attitude. One of the few factors that encourages me is that of all the people who might NOT want to go back to GameSpot it would be Jeff, since as far as I can tell was fired from GameSpot and formed Giant Bomb on the principle of doing gaming coverage in a more honest and transparent way WITHOUT all the business bull**** that put him in the position that it did.

Suffice it to say I will continue to support those guys for a simple reason, they haven't given me a reason not to yet, but obviously this is a really important time for them to prove to their users that this deal is good for them instead of stifiling.

Giant Bomb

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If this isn't already pretty clear I'm not really using GameSpot as a platform for 'talkin bout games' much anymore. Besides That said I hate seeing Nov 08 as the last time I've posted anything over here considering GameSpot is kind of were I first got into video games stuff in the first place. If you care to follow any of my occassional thoughts and shenanigans follow me over on Giant Bomb.

Riiight

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Yeah, so not only has it been a ungodly amount of time since I've posted here (since Giant Bomb is still pretty happenin'), but stuff has actually happened gaming related since I last wrote way back when.

Unfortunately I won't really be caught up on the holiday releases until I get out of school in a week or so, but still I essentially have Fable 2, Gears of War 2, and Fallout 3 waiting for me back home so for once my backlog is actually pretty huge which is something I don't think I've ever had happen to me before (especially not with three games I really want to play). Not only that but I missed out on the bikes update on Burnout Paradise and the title update for Halo 3. Not exactly huge additions, but still I've got plenty of gaming ahead which is cool because I've done fairly little this quarter.

So yeah! I'll have more to say about all of those games when I actually get some solid handson time. Peace.

Alive

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This is one of those posts that I've been trying to write for weeks, one of these posts that I wonder if I should make at all because at the end of the day it straddles that line between personal and important and while the previous sentence doesn't make any sense right now I'm sure I hope over the next couple of paragraphs it'll all become a little clearer and I can finally get this down in writing.

About four weeks ago sometime early Monday morning my parents woke me up. That in itself isn't so weird, but I remember not only being tired, but pretty irritated because they were being so pushy about it. My parents sat me and my younger brother down in the living room and gave me some of the most unbelievable news possible...

My two best friends and their girlfriends had decided to go on a trip to Kings Island in Cincinnati for a weekend since they had enjoyed Lollapalooza so much last year and of course just on general principles. I hadn't thought anything of it really because I hadn't managed to get a job, and the prospect of spending $300+ for something like that just didn't seem financially smart, so I didn't. So they went, and I stayed in Nashville. Nothing about this situation is any different than any other trip or excursion with my friends other than the fact that I had decided not to come along. While returning to Nashville, around 8, somewhere in northern Kentucky, their car crossed the median and hit a oncoming tractor trailer, suffice it to say no one survived but the driver of the tractor trailer. We still don't know what happened, other than it wasn't drugs or alcohol, all I know was the end result. I lost four friends that night, that was the difference, and that morning it felt like I had lost two brothers. It's hard to convey the feelings I had for these people, but suffice it to say that we were about as close as unrelated people should be and still have lives of their own, if that makes any sense. I knew both them throughout middle school and high school and their girlfriends both graduated from the same school and while I didn't know them quite as well, this Summer was certainly changing that, as painful as that is. All of these people were in the prime of life with so much more to to do and live for that it makes my head spin if I think about it too long. This just isn't something that you think about or prepare for, I figured I would grow old with these people, that I'd be at their weddings, that they might be at mine, that I would graduate with my friend Ryan who was attending SCAD, etc, etc, etc. So many plans, so many things left undone and yet I was sitting in my living room left with this unnatural, unreal, truth, half expecting my parents to be playing some sort of horrible joke on me, but they obviously weren't. So, it's been a hard couple of weeks and one heck of a emotional roller coaster. I've been working thankfully, but it hasn't stopped me from feeling awful at times. I'm not sure where all my sadness and anger comes from, it's not like they were my son or daughter, but it's there and I know that I care about these people and I know they cared about me too.

So, why am I writing about this now? What do I hope to gain from this post of mine...well, I'm not sure. I'm certainly not asking for anything but your thoughts. Because if theirs anything that I've learned through this is that everyone handles tragedies like this differently and talking about this is the best thing you can do.

Thanks all.

Anything But

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Wow, you'd think someone lit a fire under the collective ass of the GameSpot community and threw them to the wind. I mean, to be fair Giant Bomb has a rediculous amount of potential and in just one day their are already almost 9,000 registered users, but sheesh. I can't say I'm 'moving' to Giant Bomb, but certainly I'll be spending a good bit of time over in the near future and obviously if everybody is there then, well...

Send me a friend request if you'd like.

Nintendo Media Briefing

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So why is this post so much shorter than yesterdays Microsoft's summary you may ask? Well, Nintendo really did not have much to talk about, at least in comparison to Microsoft.... who really didn't have to much to show (games wise) either. Awesome.

Really the biggest thing coming out of this conference was the major "paradigm shift" from core to non-gamers. As much as they talked about satisfying both they really ended up cementing the fact in this fans mind that Nintendo as a whole has started to move away from their core franchises/fans and started to cater much more heavily to all those people who buy hundreds of millions of Wii's and DS's worldwide, which obviously makes sense from a business perspective. Of course if your one of those people who actually enjoys Nintendos core games (the Zeldas, the Marios, the Metroids, etc) this media briefing was pretty underwhelming.

Their was a brief glimmer of hope when Iwata referred to Nintendos R&D teams, that they will continue to make games for the hardcore audience, but their was nothing to show for it. If anything the closest thing they had to a announcement resembling something that you and I might want to play was Animal Crossing: City Folk and the new Motion Plus Wiimote add-on. It almost felt like a E3 06 scenario where Sony announces the Sixaxis out of nowhere and developers when asked if they will incorporate the new 'tilt' functionality of the Sixaxis respond with a resounding "Um, yeah, probably." Why announce something like the Motion Plus and and at the same time have nothing to show for it? I'm not saying they shouldn't of announced it at all because then they REALLY wouldn't of had anything to show. I'm not discounting Wii Music here, but again, from the perspective of someone who does not own a Wii nor has any interest in Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades or Pokemon Ranger this Media Briefing was mostly devoid of significant games announcements. Overall in my mind Nintendos showing was almost non-existent and really as with all the big three I'm much more interested to see if their will be any larger announcements outside the briefings or at other publishers briefings as that has been the trend thus far.

Oh, and I'm sorry, but I think they could of toned down on the use of "paradigm shift", too many buzz words guys.

[Photos taken from Joystiq/Engadget]

Microsoft Media Briefing

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Ok, after long last I have my impressions, hope you get something out of them. :)

Even though E3 is certainly more of a shadow of its former self then ever before (as far as the actual summit goes) it's kind of hard to tell at least the scale of the announcements and news so far.

Being that today was Microsoft's Media Briefing event, and since they were the ones primarily doing the showing off, so I'll be covering that and what exactly I got out of it. Think of it more like impressions than meticulous analyzing, if you want that go hop over to your favorite message board/blog. :P

Now that I got that out of the way, I can pose my first 'issue'

  • Games, or lack thereof

Before I get the proverbial 'raised eyebrow' I know that Microsoft showed off quite a number of games, but part of the appeal of prior E3 (at least to yours truly) was the B-Roll of the upcoming releases, this year that was replaced with a handful of rather short demos and trailers. Now some of the demos that where shown off where pretty impressive, but it just didn't have that same feel of 2007's "This is our line-up, kick ass, no?" It was more like "Here's some real games and, here's Xbox Live Arcade stuff." I mean that's wonderful that Microsoft is doing what they can to expand their audience and talk about Arcade, but why put so much emphasis on those other titles when your primary demographic is what got you those billion million dollars in sales and whatnot; it certainly wasn't Scene It! I can tell you that. I guess I know how some Nintendo fans feel nowadays. Which I guess leads me to complaint number two....

  • New Xbox Experience

I'll be completely honest, when the "New Xbox Experience" was being shown off my first reactions where far from positive. However the more they talked about it and what they were the trying to accomplish the more I warmed up to it. I mean if nothing else the fact that their introducing all this functionality (game installation, more "social options", better guide functionality, etc) is enough for me to look over the overhauled dashboard, but again to be honest it doesn't seem that bad. All of the (very little) coverage I've seen of the new dashboard seems to point to it being a positive change, and certainly it's a much more shiny/Web 2.0 looking interface. Of course if that's all they announced that would be one thing, but no, they had to go and announced Avatars/Mii Too/whatever. Now, any comparisons to Nintendo's Miis that are pretty warranted I'd say because they seem about identical functionally. Again, it's hard to judge since we really don't know too much, but if these Avatars are just glorified Mii's that you can customize and are exactly like Mii's otherwise (aka are featured in a handful of games) then I really don't see the point. As long as these avatars and the new UI don't get in the way of me finding what I need (since the current dashboard does that already to some extent with the Marketplace) then I'm good. If anything from what they showed it's probably Mii's done right as far as features and integration, but I just don't want the interface to suck because of them, is that so much to ask :P

Deviating slightly from that for a moment, I'm much more interested in the 'smaller' details of this new update. For example the aforementioned game installation, it's not a megaton, but it certainly opens up the possibility for some noticeable improvements in your favorite games. For example (how many times can I say for example in one paragraph) Mass Effect and GTA IV both suffered from some loading/pop-in issues due to the fact that the game was pulling more from the disc than from the allotted cache. Now I don't know how transfer speeds differ from the hard drive compared to the disk since I believe the DVD reader that comes with the 360 is at least a 16x reader, but you would imagine that not having to read from the disk would more than likely improve your game expereince. Besides, I guess what makes it all the more sweet is f you that it's optional unlike the PS3. It certinaly comes off as 'installation done right'.

I know I didn't cover everything, but I just thought I'd give my thoughts on some of the goings on today and with any luck I'll have a similiar post tomorrow and Wednesday for the Nintendo and Sony confrences tomorrow.

Epic Fail

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Completely jacked from Wil Wheatons blog, but damn, this bill just pisses me off to no end (especially since it was voted for by Barack Obama and voted AGAINST by Hillary Clinton). I don't love posting politics 'stuff' on this side of the blog, but, I dunno...

7 Billion Halo 3 Kills?

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If you haven't heard about this, apparently the idea came up that the community should try to go for the seemingly impossible, reach 7 BILLION kills by July 7th. Now as much as I have lost my faith in humanity in general, the geek/gaming crowd can occasionally come together and do some pretty amazing things. If you have a copy of Halo 3, at the very least, go through the campaign, and if you have just play a few levels each day (there are suggested levels in the link below). I'm certainly not going to cry myself to sleep if it doesn't happen, but it'd be damn awesome if it did.

7BB7

Back on Twitter

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Amidst the newly announced resurrection of the Diablo franchise I have done a bit of resurrecting myself...well ok, not exactly, but after quite the hiatus (well, since January anyway) I decided I might as well reactivate my dormant Twitter account. It's certainly grown substantially than when I was using it 'back in the day', but whatever, if you have a twitter account go ahead and follow me over at twitter.com/hallwaygiant. If you have no idea what I'm talking you should definitely read up on it on the Wikipedia page, that's what it's there for, no?