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E3 2013 Press Conference Reviews : Sony

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Sony Review : Gaming is saved from the evil and greedy clutches of Microsoft.  Long live the PS4!

 

Overall Rating : A+

 

So I know I normally recap what's taken place at these events but I am so blown away and happy right now i can barelty remember what happened.  Never in all my years of following E3 have a seen a more worthy "F You" conference.  Sony has completely set themselves as the opposition to Microsoft, in that their system allows used games, does not require an online check in, and games are free to sell, trade and lend at will.

Sony showed us some amazing things this press conference.  They spent just enough time on each section before turning to the next piece of good news.  As a Kingdom Hearts fan I'm hugely excited for part 3 to finally be in development (after so many less than stellar mobile entries).

More to come tomorrow as my excitement dies down but there is absolutely no question in my mind, Sony won E3 hands down in 2013!

E3 2013 Press Conference Reviews : Microsoft

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Microsoft Review : Their best press conference in years, simply because they didn't focus on anything but games!

Overall Rating : B-

 

Going in, Microsoft assured the public that their console reveal was about making a name for the console itself, yet E3 would be all about the games.  And despite a few "integration" sequences with SmartGlass, they delivered exactly that; games.

So many games I cannot even possibly attempt to talk about them all here.  The event started with a high energy look at Metal Gear Solid 5 and that high intensity was mostly kept throughout the event. 

Don Mattrick as always took the stage to briefly get us excited for Xbox One.  However, it was revealed that Microsoft still has some love for the Xbox 360.  A number of great announcements were made for the console, from stating it would still be getting some exclusive game content before Xbox One's release, to the fact that all Xbox Live Gold subscribers would gain access to two free games each month they can download and keep from their popular Games On Demand service.

Even more surprising was the reveal of a brand new, redesigned Xbox 360 SKU which is available for purchase today.  This is a surprisingly play from Microsoft, who just released the Slim version of the 360 last year.  This new design falls more in line with Xbox One's overall design, but features a smaller console than ever before. 

After this, as well as several game trailers for the 360, Microsoft began to show what they and their partners have up their collective sleeves for the Xbox One.  Ryse was shown, a title that was already known to exist, but with a much more in depth trailer than before.  The graphics look very nice, and a very happy announcement is that this game will no longer require Kinect to play, a fact the audience seemed to regard very highly as a wise move.

Fighting game fans will be happy to know that Killer Instinct is an Xbox One exclusive title.  Racing fans were also in awe of Forza 5 and its extended information.  After these games, it was revealed that Minecraft would be coming to Xbox One, and with it a host of new maps, content, and great things for the already extensive world of Minecraft.

Sam Lake then took the stage to speak about Quantum Break, Remedy's new IP.  The game features a character who, through a failed science experiment, has somehow gained the ability to stop time for brief periods.  The trailer shows the main character, as well as a companion, moving through a building in the midst of some type of explosion.  The main character moves to a woman frozen in the scene and through contact, unfreezes her from time to interact with her.  While I'm personally sad to see the Alan Wake franchise get shelved indefinitely, this game so far looks pretty interesting.

D4, an episodic murder mystery was next revealed in a short trailer.  If you like cel-shaded, comic book style graphics akin to Telltale's The Walking Dead or 2K's Borderlands this game may visually be right up your alley.  Next up was Project Spark, a new game that attempts to let the player build a game world from scratch then allow your player to enter that world and interact with it.  The world can be created using a combination of Kinect, your controller, and Xbox SmartGlass.  Admittedly these elements look very interesting and each piece of hardware allows for greater customization than just a controller would allow you.  Naysayers of the Kinect (myself included) may finally have something to prove them wrong.

The most cringe worthy moments of the conference we're up next.  MS took a brief break from games to show how SmartGlass will be improving with Xbox One and how much deeper the software can be used.  At this point, they decide to then have 2 people onstage for some staged banter as they face off in a game of Killer Instinct.  After a very painful gameplay demo (and even more painful banter between the 2 players) the demo was finished, but not without Microsoft revealing their apparent answer to Sony sharing feature.  MS has partnered with Twitch TV to allow you to share your gaming experiences with the world, as well as live broadcast yourself playing at any point. 

Back to the big name games, a Dead Rising 3 reveal came next.  72 hours after the zombie outbreak and this story finds the main character facing the standard sea of undead.  This time around vehicles play a larger role in the game as well as the usual scrounging for weapons and items and combining elements to create better weapons. 

Following Dead Rising was a short demo and trailer for The Witcher 3.  CD ProjektRed promises a large, open world game with a more mature theme (weren't these games already pretty mature as they were?) and a lot of added gameplay.  The Witcher 3 was also confirmed to be a launch title for Xbox One.

The other cringe worthy moment came next as Battlefield 4 was up to be shown off.  However, some type of technical difficulty kept the speaker onstage for far longer than he would have liked before the video finally came back.  As someone who works events exactly like these, trust me when I tell you it was chaos behind the scenes for a few moments there but alas, technology will undoubtedly fail you at the most inopportune times.

Once Battlefield 4 got running, a lot of it was shown off and fans of the military shooter genre will have a lot to be excited about.  A brief glimpse of a game called Below was then shown, but was quickly overshadowed by the unveiling of a brand new Halo game for Xbox One.  Yes, the venerable franchise that MS built is making its way to the 3rd console in a row, and from the audience's reaction this franchise has no signs of slowing down.

Naturally all this wouldn't be very exciting unless we got a release date and price right?  Well I have a feeling this will be the talk of the net for the next few days.  MS revealed that the Xbox One would be released this November at a price point of $500.00USD.  That's a pretty steep price point for most people, especially when $400.00USD was the most expected price.  It will be interesting to see what defense MS will muster for this decision.

Finally MS ended, but not without one more trick up their sleeve, a surprise unveiling of Titanfall from Respawn.  I will reserve judgment to my social betters on this one, I'll only say that perhaps, finally, a true CoD killer may be close to being released.

So that's that.  All in all a grand job from Microsoft.  They wasted absolutely nobody's time with Kinect and SmartGlass looks to be finally getting enough content and inclusion to make it a more worthwhile app to have on your smart deices.  MS has a grand game plan for Xbox One, and while very few of these games have confirmed release dates as of now, even having half this lineup at launch would be a welcomed boon for Microsoft.  Microsoft kept to their word, they stuck to games and only games and that, in this bloggers humble opinion, is exactly what they needed to do the soften the awful press they have been getting of late.  Granted this is due to their own questions decisions going forward, but this gamer is much more assured that the future of "gaming" will still have plenty of games included with it.  Now if I can just find a way to stop that darn Kinect sensor from watching me play at 3AM in my boxers...

 

E3 2012 Press Conference Reviews : Nintendo

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Nintendo Review - It was mostly about Games, but most people lost interest.

Overall Rating : C


Nintendo began their press conference in some style. Shigeru Miyamoto took the stage and with a quirky little AR video of Pikmin hanging around audience members, he went right in to demo Pikmin 3 on the Wii-U. This quick start to the conference, soaring right into the games seemed like a good approach for Nintendo, they were going to bang out a healthy amount of content in the time allotted.

Unfortunately, things didn't go that way at all. After Miyamoto exited, Reggie Fils-Aime took the stage to a strong round of applause. Reggie told us we'd see (in one form or another) 26 games shown onstage today. He said with that much content, there wasn't a lot of time to waste. He then proceeded to spend 10 minutes talking about how little time he had to convey Nintendo's message. While I speak in jest, one really couldn't help but wonder why Reggie was spending so much time talking, dramatic pauses aside? The answer sadly is that Nintendo barely had enough content to fill their hour, and time wasters such as Reggie droning on drove this point home remarkably well.

Games were indeed shown. What would a new Nintendo console be without a new Mario game? Well we say new Mario game but Nintendo actually means a sequel of an existing franchise adapted for the Wii-U. Between this "reveal" and the reveal of two new Mario games for the 3DS, Mario was clearly in the spotlight in a desperate attempt to play on the nostalgia of gamers. However intelligent this play may seem, you can't help but feel pity for Nintendo's aging mascots and the pace they sometimes have to be put through to sell hardware.

Outside of Mario and Pikmin, very little first party games were shown. Ubisoft seems to be the only third party developer on board Nintendo's ship right now as they have a plethora of titles they are showing this E3, most of which will be launch titles for the Wii-U. This is absolutely a step in the right direction for the big N, but it would be nice to see some other developers demo their wares. Hopefully that's what the show floor will clear up.

The Wii-U itself as a new piece of hardware was given very little time at all which was expected considering the Nintendo pre E3 piece they put out days before the conference. However, focusing on some console news might've garnered more interest for the event. Instead, Nintendo vaguely references that "in the future" all will be made clear. Seriously, no announcement of price? Hardware Bundles? Confirmed launch lineup software? Release Date??? I don't know what Nintendo is waiting on, it would seem they do not have all the kinks worked out of this impending launch. The best bone Nintendo threw the audience was the confirmation that 2 Wii-U gamepads would be supported by the console.

So there you have it, a look at Nintendo's press conference. All in all it wasn't a poor or painful conference per se (excluding of course those atrocious promo videos shown by Satoru Iwata after the stage event ended) but the conference lacked energy and life. Indeed it felt like everyone just hit the stage, delivered their lines then got the heck outta dodge as fast as they could. Even Miyamoto, who usually embodies the timeless example of boyhood joy was surprisingly flat and sped through his presentation as fast as he and his translator could. And finally, Nintendo lacked what all the other [E3 press conferences] lacked, surprise. Every single game shown failed to elicit that "wow" reaction from the crowd. It is telling when the game that gets the most applause is a third party zombie game called ZombiU. And that's really what our industry needs right now, another zombie game...

E3 2012 Press Conference Reviews : Sony

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Sony Review - It's ALL about Games!!!

Overall Rating : A-


Sony started its press conference off with a bang, a video montage that captured the heart and soul of the numerous PlayStation and multiplatform brands in existence today. The impressive video production set the tone for what truly was one of the most enjoyable and memorable E3 press conferences for many years.

Sony hit all the strides on this one, spending just enough time on each game to wet your appetite while not overindulging it. And boy were there games. Jack Tretton promised early on that this year, Sony wanted to pay tribute to a very important aspect of their business; us, the gamers. While actual surprise announcements were scarce (the only memorable ones being Far Cry 3's four player co-op and the addition of battles on the high seas in Assassins Creed III on PS Vita), the lineup of titles heading to the PlayStation in the coming year is powerful and a testament to the quality brand they have created.

Thankfully, the Move wasn't at the heart of the show, and this ultimately saved them. Instead Sony is deciding to shift the Move's focus into the younger generation of gamers with its reveal of Wonderbook, a move-centric peripheral that brings classic storytelling to life. The Brits will raise a cheer as J.K Rowling is onboard to create a Harry Potter spinoff book that once again sets players in the world of Hogwarts learning to cast spells. While noticeably aimed at families with small children, it is understandable why Sony chose E3 to showoff this new concept despite obvious lack of interest from the hardcore gaming crowd. Personally I think they spent about 4 minutes too long on this particular announcement, I know I got bored and starting surfing the net before it ended.

This tangent aside, games were all the rage at the conference showing that Sony actually is listening to what we have to say (exclude the gimmicks and hype and show us the games). God of War Ascension, PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale, Far Cry 3, Assassins Creed III and finally The Last Of Us all got screen and gameplay time, and all seemed to be hits across the board.

Sony's first game of the conference was actually one we had the least information (pre conference about) yet knew of its existence. That title was revealed as Beyond: Two Souls, and stars acclaimed screen actress Ellen Page as the main protagonist. The game looks amazing, and while this was clearly a teaser with no gameplay attached to it, the audience's reaction was one of amazement and intrigue. Indeed for myself, this title just became my new most watched title of E3, and I will be anxious to see if we gleam more information about the title in the coming days.

So there you have it. All in all a solid performance from Sony. The Vita received the right amount of screen time and while it seems Sony is finally letting the Move slip from the spotlight, they can be applauded for finding some clever (albeit very targeted) uses for the peripheral. The only negatives I found to the show were the length of time spent on Wonderbook (too much) and the glaring audio issues that appeared multiple times in the show. Good job Sony, now let's see how Nintendo can come to bat...


E3 2012 Press Conference Reviews : Microsoft

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Microsoft Review - Where are the games???

Overall Rating : C+

So the first of quite a few press conferences has come and gone and Microsoft has led the pack. Overall the press conference ran smoothly from a technical standpoint, and had a nice and sleek set and stage for the event. While there were very few surprises (as expected) the overall conference featured a wide and decent range of content for all.

MS began with some Halo 4 footage and gameplay, a nice way to start the show. The visuals looks very good and the gameplay appeared smooth. Don Mattrick then took the stage to welcome everyone and "tease" the conference. It was interesting to note that this is the first year the conference has been streamed live on Xbox Live. After Mattrick left some Splinter Cell Blacklist footage was shown followed by live gameplay. So far so good MS.

After we get through Splinter Cell, Andrew Wilson (head of EA Sports) took the stage to demo some of the Kinect integration teased at last year's E3. FIFA and Madden we're shown, with Joe Montana taking the stage to thunderous applause to demo the new Madden voice commands. Montana seemed a little awkward onstage but still managed to get through the demo with no hiccups and even a few laughs.

Next a trailer for Fable : The Journey is played with no game play footage to follow. After this we head into the usual Microsoft territory, how the Xbox is transforming our living rooms into the totally connected and integrated place to be. After some reveals of new service partners joining the array of Xbox apps (Nickelodeon and Paramount being among them), we learn ESPN is being expanded although the ways and details of precisely how weren't clearly discussed. And finally for this segment, Microsoft unveiled Xbox Music, what basically appears to be their own version of popular streaming music sites such as Pandora and others.

Next, a Nike rep took the stage to discuss how fitness is being expanded through Kinect and announced a new Project called Nike + Kinect Training. Fitness enthusiasts should be thrilled, gamers on the other hand are starting to get bored by this point with the drought of any core gaming announcements.

Probably the addition which will be the most talked about will be the official unveiling of Xbox Smart Glass. Essentially an app (available across multiple platforms and devices) will allow you to connect all your devices together and let multiple devices work for your current selection of entertainment. Examples of such interface comes from someone watching a hit movie on their tablet and then pausing the movie and resuming it directly on your TV connected to your Xbox. In addition, while you are watching an episode of your favorite show, your other devices can provide additional information directly related to the episode you are watching (say a virtual show map with pins representing where key events in the storyline took place).

Some game integration featuring this service was also shown. While the tech is quite impressive, how you will have the time to be looking at your other devices while actually playing a game (and not getting killed) remains to be seen. Also how much of this additional content for Movies / TV / Games, etc will be completely dependant on the developers remains to be seen.

Finally to wrap up the Smart Glass section it was announced that Internet Explorer would be coming to Xbox 360. Full Kinect support available as expected. By this point in the conference it becomes very apparent that Microsoft will not allow anyone onstage unless their product in some way uses Kinect.

After this we finally got back to some games. Crystal Dynamics showed off a new section of the new Tomb Raider game and admittedly it looked very good. Fans of the "vocal" Lara fear not, she was just as grunty in this level as in previous sections. A few new smaller IP's were teased following this but considering the vagueness of the unveils not much is apparent yet about these new titles.

Resident Evil fans then got a treat with some gameplay of RE6. The gameplay looked tight and fans of the series should hopefully still enjoy the game despite the fact that the survival horror element of the genre seems completely abandoned for more over-the-top action packed gameplay. Also a lot of the demo was focused on a context sensitive cutscene where your involvement stems to simply push buttons by onscreen prompts. Haven't developers yet learned that this isn't a successful way to involve the gamer in a cutscene?

Following this Alex from the Xbox Live team (the only female to hit the stage mind you) came to the stage and proceeded to give the most awkward performance of a new Kinect game called Wreckateer, available as part of Microsoft's annual Summer of Arcade series this year.

After this came the highlight of the conference for me, some South Park The Game footage. Now called South Park : The Stick of Truth, the game looks very appropriate for the universe and while actual gameplay footage was at a minimum the game still managed to shine bright with the usual South Park humor we've come to know and love. Trey Parker and Matt Stone took the stage to talk about the game a bit as well as the challenges they have been facing (namely actually mapping the town of South Park after 13 years of it's existance as a TV series). They also managed to slip in a little jab towards MS and its desire to control every device you own, something I found remarkably humorous.

If South Park was the highlight of the show, the lowlight would shine next. A Harmonix trailer for Dance Central 3 is shown with a small interview of Usher featured in the video. To the surprise of all Usher says in the video he will show you his new Dance moves, and then proceeds to come to the stage for a live show. While I'm all for the advent of live entertainment, this was absolute garbage as it was just Usher performing onstage. No gameplay of Dance Central even accompanied this performance. For shame Microsoft, your conference should be about games not trying to win the non-gaming public to your event with unspeakably awful choice of performers and performances.

Don Mattrick thankfully took the stage after this to rap the event down, but of course not without one more "surprise". That surprise, naturally, was in game footage of the new Call of Duty title Black Ops II. Considering the lengths to which Microsoft goes to ensure every E3 presentation of theirs for the last 4 years has had Call of Duty be a part of it, one begins to wonder what Microsoft would do if the franchise ever failed to make an annual appearance? Might they 'gasp' have to actually be creative and come up with some original content???

So there you have it, a rundown of the Microsoft Press Conference. All told, it wasn't as painful as previous years (see Felicia Day messing around with Dashboard crap, Xbox Live Labs, and children onstage playing Kinect). That being said, Microsoft once again has failed to wow the hardcore audience, choosing to ensure you get a boatload of Kinect stuff jammed down your throats instead on inventive new IP's or even 1st party games that can invigorate the platform. Some of the 3rd party entries we're great to see, but Microsoft has once again failed to captivate the demographic of gamers that put them on the map. And as disgusted as that audience is right now, you can absolutely place money on the fact that all will be forgiven when we get a glimpse of the much anticipated next iteration of the Xbox brand, the Xbox 720 (or whatever the console will ultimately be called).

Of Caviar Wishes and Gamespot Dreams

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I started to post this in Fuse but while composing I remembered a lot of details which I figured would be fun to write out in detail. Dreams this (seemingly) realistic tend to be ones I write down anyway which wind up providing good stories to discuss later on with friends. Since this one is all about GS (or what my subconscious thinks about the actual place and the strange mash-up it created of some of the people), I figured this is a good outlet to share the insanity. That being said, please note that everything contained here-in is simply a product of my imagination and is not meant to offend, insult or hurt any of the people involved.

Wow. So I just woke from a dream where I met a girl in the street while touring San Fransisco and she asked me to help her find a building. I agreed because she seemed nice so we started walking and talking. We held a lot of doors open for people (you know, like that chivalrous deed men used to do). After some time of walking and holding various doors in our way open for people, I start to get curious about where we're going. Why wasn't I before this? So I ask this girl where she wants to go. She says she needs to find a place called the Gamespot offices so she can turn in some type of entry to a contest.

My dream self assumes this is a perfectly normal request so we set off once more. After a time of not finding anything, I wind up noticing we keep passing the same CBS building over and over again. The building itself looks a lot like a run down country club on the outside. The blue cloth sign proclaiming "CBS Interactive" flaps lazily in the breeze. The white steps look old and worn, as if trodden far too often. The whole building is painted white, but is streaked in various locations a much paler hue due to age and lack of upkeep. The place looks odd nestled in the busy, neat looking streets of San Fransisco.

My dream self obviously remembered Gamespot being connected to this company, which I pointed out to the girl as we turned back to investigate. Somehow at this point we are walking through a sort of outdoor mall. Low and behold, more doors to hold open for people.

After I hold my door again for a mom and her 3 kids I get momentarily separated from my partner. Once I manage to clear the door, I find her talking with 3 gentlemen who say they will be happy to lead her to the offices of Gamespot. But something strikes me as familiar about the gentlemen. It takes some thinking and listening on my part (as clearly all 3 of these men wish to have the attention of this young lady whom I still don't even have a name for). It isn't 'til were walking in the ground floor of the office building that I realize the 3 gentlemen are none other than Shaun McInnis , Giancarlo Varanini, and Justin Calvert.

However at this point the 4 of them have disappeared so I am left alone to wander. Not for long it would seem as a minute later I bump into a guy that also looks somewhat familiar. He seems a bit disoriented (like he had one too many drinks at lunch) and has a decidedly "Canadian" air about him (or so my dream self assumes). He starts handing me free shirts and talking about why he doesn't think the Orlando Magic will ever have a dynamite season. After some chatting he asks me my name and introduces himself as Brendan Sinclair. He says he works in HR now. He then pulls a hip flask out and takes a big swig. He hands me more shirts.

We wander a bit more on the ground floor then head up the steps so he can show me the rest of the office. On the stairs is a giant whiteboard with the names of everyone at Gamespot and what they're supposed to be working on today divided into sections. The board even has mine and Jamie's names on there (guess that was that girl I met earlier) as guests. One entry catches my eye in particular. Under the Fuse category it states " Boubou is cleared for another day of grilling sausages and eating watermelon".

We ascend the rest of the steps but before we can round a corner to get to "cubicle land" as Brendan calls it, we are intercepted by a woman wearing mostly black, with what looks like little red feathers sticking out of the bottom of her shirt. She says her name is Synthia, then grabs my hand and pulls me away into another part of the office. As we're walking, she lifts her black sweatshirt up to reveal the red feathers underneath are part of a top she just finished sewing. She asked me if I like it, I simply say yes.

She then proceeds to ask me a number of questions about fashion in general. While speaking, she takes one of the shirts I was still carrying from Brendan and begins sewing buttons into them. It's at this point I notice there's something on my head.

From the feel and sound of the object it sounds like a dog toy of the variety which contains little bean bags inside it (think Hacky-Sac). I turn to see who placed this item on my head and find Sophia Tong staring intently at the item and making little wincing noises as the item begins to lose it's balance. I straighten up and rebalance the item only to then have Sophia praise me for doing "a good job".

What feels like a full minute goes by until I am simply stumped by what's going on, so I reach up and remove the item from my head. It turns out to be a small pokemon plushy doll which Sophia tells me to keep then wanders off. I turn around to see if Synthia is still present at which point I hear someone yell "Hey New Guy"!

I turn to see Chris Watters dressed in a cowboy hat, overalls, and smoking a corn cob pipe. Chris has a tazer. He fires. I wake up.

So that's the dream. As a story, it is terrible, lacking any kind of narrative structure and being comprised of facts I know to not be true (well mostly). But that's why it's a dream. So versus spin it into a yarn that makes some type of sense I just had to write this one down and figured I could waste a few more people's time sharing this bizarre dream with everyone. Does anyone else have dreams like this? Am I spending too much time on the Gamespot website and forums? Should I seek help???

Your responses welcome and feel free to share your own dreams.

Adventures in Spain (and other parts of the world).

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And I'm back ... briefly. For those of you following, I'm back from my trip to Spain for work and enjoying a short 4 days off until I depart for Bermuda for a week (well actually the total time the ship spends in Bermuda wil only be 1.5 days and I'll be lucky to see it for more than 2 hours but still...).

So the Spanish trip went very well. I wound up getting an overnight in the city of Malaga, Spain before joining the cruise ship, Adventure of the Seas for 7 days. Malaga was gorgeous, very beautiful city full of nice architecture and (as is the case with most Spanish cities) a thriving community and night life. My work partner and I didn't even sit down for dinner until roughly 8:45PM and dinner lasted 2 and a half hours! It's no wonder when my flight landed at 9AM that morning the whole country looked like it was still asleep. The pace of life over there is so much slower than here in the US, something I think we should take a cue from more often.

After the overnight (and a trip down the hotel slide) my partner and I set off for the ship. Sidebar; honestly, there was a giant metal slide in the hotel that began at the restaurant upstairs and ended in the lobby. Check my photos for proof.

Anyway, joining the ship is exceptionally easier than in the US because Americans are so fearful of our security and the rest of the world tends to take a much more relaxed atmosphere in these regards. Immigration and security were a breeze to get through and once onboard, everything else fell into place.

I spent a LOT of time working, far more than expected. We wound up pulling roughly 14 hour days every day except Day 6 which was the port of Ajaccio, Corsica. My partner and I thankfully took a break and got off for a few hours here wandering the city and seeing the sights. Corsica is famous as the birthplace of the great French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. We toured his house (kept up with original pieces of furniture and art), then proceeded to wander down to one of the many beautiful beaches Corsica has to offer. The beach was packed in true European style, fortunately this was not a nude beach (although there were quite a number of topless women, but trust me, for every 1 woman you wouldn't mind seeing topless, there are 9 more which you don't). We relaxed and swam a bit, then I dried off and went for a coke. My partner joined me a little later, but because she was in swimwear (in true French style towards Americans) our waiter became very snooty and would not serve either of us anymore and motioned for us to leave.

All in all, the trip was a lot of fun. The flights there were actually a lot better than expected (the flights home left a LOT to be desired). Funnily enough, we wound up walking through a mall in Malaga and sure enough, I found a game store simply called "Game". For those wondering how you translate "Xbox 360" into Spanish, no worries at all as all the signs and marketing in the store were in English (though all the words on the game boxes were in Spanish).

I didn't want to embed photos here so you can head to my album here and check 'em out, complete with captions and comments. I'll keep everyone updated as more travels and info become available. For now, I'm gonna go log some serious hours into The Witcher 2.

Back to the Traveling Work = Goodbye to Gamespot for a while

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Well, it seems that the summer is winding down, and in my world that means work is ramping back up. For those who don't know (or are curious) I presently work as an independent contractor in the world of production. I work with, and am proficient in most types of lighting, audio and video systems. My skill set enables me to work on all sorts of different events from trade shows and corporate meetings to rock concerts and theatrical productions. One of my major clients is Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Thus, it just so happens that it's time for to take a cruise (not for pleasure though I can assure you).

Life aboard cruise ships is something that I could spend pages and pages of your, and my, time discussing as it is most assuredly one of the most unique existences one can choose for themselves. Instead of going into all those details at this time, I'll simply pose that internet connectivity is one of the most precious commodities you can hope for in a life at sea. Most of RCCL's ships have internet, but only a few have full wireless access all around the ship (and absolutely none of them are free - 65 cents/min). As such, I basically say goodbye to the world of the internet anytime I head out on one of these jobs.

My next trip takes me to Europe (the land of even scarcer internet connections). Spain, Italy and Rome are among the various ports of call on this adventure. If I get a chance to get off anywhere (doubtful), I'll be sure to take some photos to post once I return. I will try and poke my head once every other day or so on Fuse, but will essentially vanish from Gamespot / Fuse / the rest of the known world starting tomorrow evening. Rest assured however that I'll be back on and up to all sorts of shenanigans with you fine folks again after September 3rd.

Adios for now everyone. Hope to see some of you at Community Game Night tonight!

More Fun Gaming News to Share with Everyone

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Hey All, here to fill everyone in on some fun articles from around the net.

For starters, if you didn't know today (Tuesday August 23rd) is another Amazon Gold Box Day for Video Games. Head here to check out the deals!

"Gaming" Deaths

It seems deaths due to gaming are all the rage these days (PLEASE note the sarcasm in my typing). Anyway I'm getting very tired of gaming being used as the sole scapegoat in these cases unless (like the second one) they admittedly did cause the issue. Still, the press loves to have field days with these so i felt it worthwhile to share so you know what's going on;

Sword Stabbing Teen to be Tried as an Adult - I posted the original story last week. This is a follow up article.

Police: Frustrated With Video Games, Teen Kills Baby Sister - So what was the little girl doing home alone with this kid in the first place?

Gaming Related News

More Amazon Deals to look out for for the thrifty shopper in us all.

Thousands of Gamers and Fans Heading to Raleigh for Major League Pro Gaming Circuit Competition - So I'm not big into the Pro Gaming circuit at all (see Tom Magrino's Coin-OpEd for more info on the subject) but I wanted to share this as it's about the only gaming related thing that occurs on the East Coast. Why is gaming so secluded in the West?

And finally, my last piece of the morning, one I truly think is an inspired work of genius - Portal 2 Engagement. As someone who's faced having to "pop the question" in the past, the pressure is on to be as original and inventive as possible. This is by far and away one of the coolest ways I've ever seen anyone propose, and I give a major hats off to Valve for making it possible.

That's it for now but I'll keep rolling out the juicy news if y'all continue to want to read it.


More News from Gamescom and All Around the Web

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So after getting my blog from yesterday posted this morning, I discovered another batch of fun articles from around the web I wanted to once again share. Without further ado;

Xbox 360 News

Keep in mind both of these articles are filled with quite a bit of speculation but I found them interesting enough to warrant a gander.

  • MS : Next Xbox may not replace Xbox 360 - The very notion of this is compelling. The PS2 continued to be the Sony platform of choice once the PS3 launched because of the 3's ridiculous price point. Once the console became affordable, the PS2 quickly faded away. Can the same happen for Microsoft?
  • Xbox Live Cloud Storage More fact but with a bit of speculation, here's some news on the upcoming "cloud" storage for 360 gamers.

Just to attempt to not be biased towards the 360, here's three Sony articles.

  • Courtesy of user GunBladeHero we have Five Reasons the Playstation Vita Might Suck. Okay this one comes off as another opinion piece, but is backed up by a lot of good tech information. I for one am very excited for the Vita, so I truly hope these items are all being addressed by Sony. Still, it helps to know all the facts before going into a large purchase.

Gaming Related News

  • Activision Responds to EA Call of Duty Trash Talk - Can't have a news post without some of the fine work from Gamespot. This article by Brendan Sinclair was a very good one and focuses on the continuing back and forth of the 2 publishers looking to take home the shooter crown of 2011. And people say relationship spats aren't fun to view from the outside.
  • Addicted to Facebook? Looking for a break? This may be your answer : How To Quit Facebook. I know this is something I've contemplated doing, do you all agree or disagree?
  • And finally, one to smile over - 7 Famous Movie Cars as Pixar Characters. So I could see the DeLorean being voiced by Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) but who do you guys and gals think could voice the others?

More goodies as I find 'em. Thanks for stopping in.

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