Jeff / Editor-in-chief, Giant Bomb

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Jeff Blog

Excitement.

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Well that didn't take much. What am I talking about? The Guitar Hero III songlist. By merely announcing the first batch of songs...

"Paint It Black" by the Rolling Stones
"Cherub Rock" by Smashing Pumpkins
"Sabotage" by Beastie Boys
"The Metal" by Tenacious D
"My Name is Jonas" by Weezer
"Knights of Cydonia" by Muse
"Rock And Roll All Nite" as made famous by Kiss
"School's Out" as made famous by Alice Cooper
"Slow Ride" as made famous by Fog Hat
"Cult of Personality" by Living Colour
"Barracuda" as made famous by Heart

...they've already ensured that I'll like it more than I liked Guitar Hero II. Actually, they could have just mentioned Barracuda and Knights of Cydonia and I'd be in 100%. 120%, even. Compared to the fairly disappointing list that the '80s edition is getting, this is, for me anyway, very exciting. In fact, with the possible exception of the Tenacious D track, all of these selections sound like good ideas. Also notice that six of those songs are "by" the original artists, not "as made famous by" the original artists. Good.

It's still totally insane to me that Guitar Hero blew up the way it did. This genre was supposed to have come and gone already. DDR has been reduced to a niche (well, a fairly big niche--DDR SuperNova on the PS2 sold over 600k copies) game that you already know if you like or hate, and none of Konami's other music game efforts have made a serious splash with mainstream audiences. I wonder if the people over there who refused to greenlight Guitar Freaks for the US are still kicking themselves over the decision...

Most rhythm games are, generally speaking, fun. What sets them apart from one another is the licensing effort put in by the publisher to ensure that it has the right music in it. Activision's been doing well with that for some time now with the Tony Hawk games, and EA, of course, is a monster in the licensed music department. So I guess it's not too surprising that they're the two publishers putting out the rhythm games that people are excited about. If Konami did push Guitar Freaks out over here, they'd probably leave in most of the quirky Japanese stuff, ensuring that only the very, very serious rhythm game players would care. So maybe it's for the best that they've taken the back seat on this stuff--at this point, they'd probably be out of their league.

Me on G4's Attack of the Show, Today!

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Barring any sort of last-minute live TV insanity, I'll be appearing via satellite on G4's Attack of the Show today to talk about the Halo 3 beta. It airs at 7PM EDT with a replay at 11PM EDT.

[video=dncykmOo5b4IvzfY]

Someone uploaded a clip of it, so here it is. They managed to spell my name wrong. Actually... just about everybody spells my name wrong, so I'm pretty much used to it.

On Hoops and Jumping Through Them

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Let's face it: clicking on a "buy this" button, followed by a "download this thing I just bought" button is boring. It's how your old man bought games! We need something that's a little more IN YOUR FACE.

The PlayStation 3 store is precisely what you're looking for. Here's the store description for the full version of Super Rub a Dub:

"In order to play Super Rub a Dub, you must first download the Super Rub a Dub Demo."

So, OK. I already know that I want to buy Super Rub a Dub. That's actually because I'm reviewing it, but I'd probably pick it up anyway because, you know, ducks. But rather than let me blindly spend my money, you're going to force me to download the five level demo that might actually prevent people from buying the full version? That just seems wrong.

[UPDATE] The paid download for Super Rub a Dub is a 100k file that must just "unlock" the full version of the game. That's less of a hassle, certainly, though still a little more confusing that this process should be.

In other random news, my Q*Bert PS3 store download is now listed as Q*Bert 2.0 in my downloaded items list, as if there's an updated version of it that I can get. But there's no word on what was fixed. Heck, if I hadn't been surfing through my list of things I've already downloaded so that I could grab the PS3-capable version of Tekken 2, I might have never known it was there at all. This whole process is kind of a mess. Here's what I wish they'd do:

- Make the demo and the full game the same download, like a PC casual game demo or something. I shouldn't have to download something else once I play a demo and decide I want to keep playing it.

- Force updates onto users so we always have the latest versions of things, rather than make people dig around and guess that something might be new.

- Actually implement patching, rather than having people redownload entire files. I already redownloaded Gran Turismo HD once. I don't care enough to download the entire thing again just to add steering wheel support for steering wheels that I don't even own. Will people have to download the whole thing yet again when a car gets added?

I feel like I'm giving beta feedback, writing things like this. Shouldn't stuff like this have been ironed out by now? Or should I just keep on playing MK2 and forget this ever happened?

Points Report for 04/25/2007

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[video=cicxnjf_5b4OvDLW]

[UPDATE] Willpower = Zero. Within two minutes of seeing that Xbox 360 Elite pre-orders had started this morning, I pre-ordered one.

Break Yourself!

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The title of Activision's press release for Guitar Hero songpacks on the Xbox 360 Marketplace is "ACTIVISION ANNOUNCES DETAILS ON DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT FOR GUITAR HERO II ON THE XBOX 360" but it might as well be "ACTIVISION PROPOSES RIPPING YOU THE HELL OFF ON DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT FOR GUITAR HERO II ON THE XBOX 360." Seriously, $6.25 for three songs? I didn't do this math myself, but here's a taste of the numbers courtesy of UGAThornhill on our forums...

"Each pack includes 3 songs.  With Microsoft selling 1600 points for $20.00 on it's website,that means that 500 points is equivalent to $6.25 or each song equaling $2.083.  There were 47 songs in the original game: 30 covers and 17 bonus tracks.  At this pricing, to repurchase all the songs would cost $97.  If you only want the covers? $62."

Now, it seems likely that there will have to be some kind of bulk pack with slightly more reasonably pricing, but this is the biggest rip-off in the history of Xbox Live Marketplace. Moreso than horse armor. More, even, than paying for cheat codes in EA games. With this pricing plan, they want you to pay more money than it would cost to go out and buy Guitar Hero 1 on disc for the PS2.

You know, it's almost as if they know that most of the songs in Guitar Hero 2 kind of suck and aren't fun to play more than three or four times, and are pricing "the good stuff" accordingly.

I would be willing to pay $30 for a pack containing every Guitar Hero 1 song in it. That makes sense, given that we aren't going out and buying a full retail disc. But anything more than that, and you'd be better off just buying the first game on the PS2. Not to get all "rally cry" on this, but I will say that I'm not paying for any of these packs, and I recommend you do the same. When you cave in to crap like this, you're just letting publishers like Activision and RedOctane get away with unreasonable pricing.

Space Giraffe

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Jeff Minter's newest game is apparently going to come to Xbox Live Arcade at some point, though it hasn't really been announced through the standard channels that these sorts of things usually come through. But then, standard channels have never really been Llamasoft's thing.

Have no idea what I'm talking about? Well, to overgeneralize, Jeff Minter is the man behind Llamasoft, a game developer that did Tempest 2000 for the Jaguar, the Neon visualizer for the Xbox 360, and, of course, Gridrunner and Attack of the Mutant Camels.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4394997538725969856
This link will take you to an hour-long video of Jeff Minter giving a talk at Google. At around the 30 minute mark he begins showing Space Giraffe. He also talks a bit about his history, as well as some of the specifics of XNA and Xbox Live Arcade development. It's really interesting in spots. To hear him tell it, Space Giraffe will be out sometime over the next few months. But given the growing backlog of XBLA releases, it's hard to say when anything will actually be released...

200.1% completion

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After one playthrough of Castlevania, I got up to 200.1% completion. The only problem is that the total number is 200.6%. Now I need to backtrack through the game and try to find the spots I missed.

I have a feeling that this is going to make me completely crazy.

I'm Winner !!

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Finally completed the 1,500 achievement point challenge thing As a "level 3" entrant that didn't bust out the points right away, I get...

- Some kind of stupid gamerpicture and theme!

- A copy of Contra!

The extra catch is that they aren't actually giving out the prizes until 4/12. Anyway, an interesting first attempt at making points mean something, and hopefully it'll lead to bigger and better things in the future.