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vinbro Blog

What I've been up to

Well it's been quite a while since my last post. I have been very busy over the past 18 months. I won't bore you with all the details but if you're curious I invite you to take a look at this site:

http://starwars.yahoo.com

Let me know what you think!

vb

Games I wish I had this weekend

Once or twice a year, I get together with a few friends for an all out gaming weekend. We usually load up with all the latest hardware, AV equipment, and the best games that have come out over the past couple of quarters. As we began to put the list together for our next outing, I realized how few of the games I really want to play are actually out yet. Here's what I am missing most:

* Wii/Zelda - Hey, while I am on the topic anyone know why can't I preorder the Wii yet? It's supposed to be out in six weeks.

* Resident Evil 5 - Those of you who know me know all about my fascination with this one. But is sure has been quiet on the RE front...where are the updates?

* Assassin's Creed - This one is rising on my most wanted list at an alarming rate. The new trailers are just mind blowing.

* Lost Planet - I just think this looks like a lot of fun.

* Gears of War - I have a feeling this is going to be one of my next gen favorites.

* Bully - The premise seems really interesting to me and my gut tells me the gameplay will be there. But we'll see.

Anyway, these are the games I want to play but can't. So what do you suggest instead? Let me know!

Strategy leaving me a little cold

I don't know why, but I'm having a hard time getting into the current crop of strategy games. I've spent a fair amount of time with Civ IV and the new Star Wars RTS and you know what, I'm just not having as much fun as I should be having.

It reminds me of something ex-GameSpot Creative Director once James Cheung once said: instead of spending time with these games I feel I'm putting time into them. And that's saying a lot, as I have been playing these types of games (and enjoying them) for 15 plus years.

Which makes wonder...is it possible the Resident Evil 4 was so good that it's making everything else seem weak by comparison? Honestly - I can obviously play just about any game I want, but right now nothing is as enticing as playing through RE4 (again).

I can only hope RE5 lives up to its predecessor. I can say without hesitation I am looking forward to more than any other game ever.  

First system preorder ever!

It's hard to believe but the Xbox 360 is the first system I have ever preordered. Historically I have always had a problem with the whole forced bundling process and asscociated expense.

But having jumped in early on the DS and PSP and enoying playing the games as they come out (vs. letting the library build up for six months or a year) I thought it would be fun to get in on this next generation of gaming right from the beginning.

Based on what I've seen so far from the system, I think I made the right choice.

Sorry I missed the U2 concert

I actually had a chance to go see them but it fell through at the last minute due to some unexpected travel plans. I understand the show was really incredible but that there was also quite a bit of Bono's special brand of proselytization, which I can personally do without. Don't get me wrong - I think it's great when artists get involved with issues they feel are important - but as a fan I just wish I could get the music minus the message. Especially at a concert where I am being asked to pay thousands of dollars for a decent seat...

Fantastic!

Really happy to see that the level/ranking system is live. Also nice to see that I got credit for all my previous work. Way to go TV.com team!

Just threw my PS2 in the garbage

But maybe not for the reasons you might expect. I've been having the disc read problem with games that have a purple back (vs. the normal silver back). After having a near meltdown today when Lego Star Wars wouldn't load, I decided to do something about it. So I dug up a turtorial that stepped through fixing the problem. This involves removing the case, voiding the warranty, and for me personally screwing up somewhere along the way so that the damn thing wouldn't power up again. So into the garbage it goes...

PS2 Slim here I come!

Resident Evil 4 - Wow this game is good!

OK so it should be clear by now that although I am the cofounder of GameSpot and am a huge gamer in the spiritual sense, the reality is that I don't get to play games as much as I used to. And when I do play, I am extremely selective, because frankly I don't have time to waste on anything less than a superb game (which is why at this point I typically will only play games that receive a GameSpot score of 8.5 or higher).

My latest proof that this strategy works is Resident Evil 4. I am not a big fan of the series - always viewed them as inferior derivatives of the original Alone in the Dark, which I loved - but had enough faith in the score to give it a try. And man am I glad that I did.

RE4 is one of the most fun, engrossing, and visually interesting games I have ever played. I am currently in chapter 3-3, which I think is about half way through. When I update them on my progress, every person I know who has completed the game says - "I really wish I was back where you are right now." It's that good.

To say I'm looking forward to getting home tonight and diving in again (maybe till dawn) would be a gross understatement.

More kids games

OK so rather than try to write a bunch about each individual game, I'm going to give some quick scores on games my kids have been playing lately. Remember, I have a five year old, a three year old, and a one year old.

EyeToy: Play - to say that this game has been a hit would be a gross understatement. My kids absolutely love this - especially the kung fu and boxing levels. It's also great because they really get a workout - I mean they literally start sweating - yet they're not running around the house creating a ruckus. And when they're done, their is nothing to clean up! This is a perfect game for city dwellers who don't have a yard. I will get many more EyeToy games this Xmas. RATING 9 .5

Ratchet and Clank - This was an eye opener for me. I played and enjoyed this game immensely when it came out a couple of years ago. Now I see my son, some 32 years my junior, pulling off moves that took me months to learn. Changing weapons, sniping, swinging - he can do it all (and he never read the manual, because he can't read!). Although this isn't a multiplayer game, the three year old gets to play whenever the "easy guys" are on screen. I just hope the next game in the series is as good as the first RATING 9.0

Jak and Daxter - We tried this, and I'm sure it's a great game, but it just never took hold of the kids like Ratchet and Clank. RATING 6.0

Ikaruga - Hard as heck but I've got to tell you this one keeps 'em both happy. I'm not sure they can really make much sense of the intricacies of this game but they sure know how to shoot. I wish they had a mode that just continued indefinitely so we could see more of the game. Made me long for Blazing Lasers, but I'll guess we'll settle for Gradius V instead. RATING 7.5

Atari paddle games - Talk about a flop. Anyone wondering about the intrinsic entertainment value of the early paddle games like Pong, Breakout, Canyon Bomber, et al. would be well served to see how long today's savvy youth can stand to play them. We whipped through all 13 games in about ten minutes. My son told me he "feels sorry the games you played when you were a kid were so boring." I'll throw in a half point for nostalgia's sake but really I don't ever need to see or play these games again , and neither do my kids RATING 2.5

Kids Review - Street Fighter Anniversary Collection

Quick kid ratings for this new version of a classic game:

5 year old - Smash hit. Instantly picked up the game and got a handle on the controls. Loves the characters, the special moves, and the messed-up loser faces following each bout.

3 year old - Very good. Likes that "guy who eats your face" almost as much as the "one wif de fireballs". Ready to rock in two-player mode but can only manage to concentrate on pushing buttons for about thirty seconds, after which he is pummeled by the five year old.

1 year old - Addictive. Will not let go of the controller once grasped and will sit transfixed for minutes at a time. Squeals of delight throughout.

Overall - Recommended. Not that the game contains cartoon violence, (very) limited blood, and less than PC taunts such as "I will meditate and then destroy you".

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