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Is Microsoft Still Relevant in Gaming?

             We are on the peak of the next generation of gaming , portables have already started it and after the recent announcement of ps4 and release of wii-u it has officially started. I have to say .. the PS4 looks pretty solid , more importantly it still shows Sony's concern in first party force and exclusives. After this announcement I started thinking... 3ds is to say the least a solid portable. After only 2 years on the market (correct me if I'm wrong about the time it's been out) it has a solid first party library , a very promising future first party lineup , some excellent 3rd party exclusives , an ever-improving online store . And look at Sony's current and upcoming systems , a multitude of EXCELLENT AAA first party titles and exclusives , you can buy and easily enjoy the system for the exclusives alone. I've arguably enjoyed Ratchet and Clank Future more than Mario Galaxy , Uncharted is the once in a lifetime style game I've never seen the likes of before , infamous , killzone , resistance , sly , the list go's on. Not only that but the fact it plays blu-rays is a massive benefit as a blu-ray player is not nearly as common as a dvd player in most houses.

               Now starting up the next generation ps4 has caught up to the xbox in every way in online , it will still probably be free , and the playing field is even.. there is no more herd logic of buying Microsoft's system (no offense to those that bought the 360 , if you had valid reasons by all means I'm glad you bought the 360 , but most of the people I know that bought one never really had a good reason for buying one except that everyone else has one). It seems an awfully easy choice to choose Nintendo for default portable and Ps4 for default system.

              Before you pull out the anti-ms-fanboy attack I have nothing against Microsoft , I'm just confused by it. Because Microsoft has brought nothing new to the table this generation... the hardware is more or less equal to ps3 , online costs with few real advantages , the 360 ends up relying on really only 2 major exclusives , only one of which actually started this generation , Kinect had ''potential'' but ended up just being a $90 party trick. Yet has somehow not only kept up with ps3 but , in America , passed it in popularity. But now Sony has learned from their mistakes at launch that got Microsoft the advantage in getting that crucial first interest. It's likely Sony will go for the cheapest price possible for ps4 and is completely equal in online now and actually superior. So , unless Microsoft packs a punch with LOTS of new exclusive ip's or an extremely cheap price tag , I'm not sure how Microsoft will be as lucky this time.

Top 10 Movies of 2012

2012 was a GOOD year for movies. A lot of brilliant works made their way to theaters. Here are a couple that stood out enough to become my favorites for the year and why.

1. The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey


The reason this is chosen as my #1 movie is probably maisnly out of bias. I'm a massive Lord of the Rings fan. But it should still be said this is an excellent movie. Fantastic filming and scenery , considerably funnier than the previous trilogy , and still feels fresh and new. It's a shame so many critics brought the score down based solely on the new fps rate.

2. Les Miserables


As I previously mentioned , I was biased towards Hobbit. But had I not been biased,Les Misérables would easily have topped my list. It is immensely touching , beautiful , artistic , well produced , epic , and a movie that will stay with you long after you've seen it. With ''Stars'' as the only exception almost every song here does a good job even held against the fantastic stage-productions before it. Everyone in the cast does a magnificent job of acting and play their parts very well. The true travesty here is that this work of art has received poor ratings overall almost solely for the reason it's a musical and , for whatever reason , most movie critics have a natural distaste for all things musical-related. Most definitely a movie worth seeing.

3. Lincoln


Most times I find myself naturally cynical of a critically acclaimed movie. Often times said movie's are praised by critics only for particular artistic choices that only a critic would appreciate , and thus often translate into a dry or stiff movie that is seldom as good as less-acclaimed movies. However Lincoln is the exception to that statement. Seldom have we seen such a gripping and historically accurate film. The trials of one of our most important presidents is shown in great detail. Spot on casting , powerful acting , and William's usual brilliant score make this an instant classic and beautiful masterpiece.

4. Wreck-It Ralph


I will admit when I first saw the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph I was skeptical , thinking it a bit on the bland side and an attempt for Disney to claim back the animated king title Pixar had ( I know Disney owns Pixar but that doesn't mean Pixar individually is known for making better kids fair) and I dare say now that Wreck-It Ralph is better than many of Pixar's recent efforts! Though many claim to be ''Fun for Everyone'' many fall short , this movie is not one of those. It remains accessible to kids , but smart enough not to insult the intelligence of adult viewers with TONS of both obvious and obscure refernces for gamers to pick up on. It manages both to be kid-friendly and funny with a hint of emotion and a bit of a tear-jerker for those more prone to cry.

5. Pirates! : Band of Misfits


Pirates Band of Misfits is one of those movies that slipped past most people's radars in 2012. At first look it seems like a lower-budget kids movi , however the opposite is true. The appeal of this movie is much more focused at adults. It is completely hilarious , witty , irreverent and absolutely brilliant. With so many details and witty humor it nearly requires a second watch immediately after the first.

Well! These are my top 5! It should be fair to note , the movie that gets my honorable mention that nearly beat Pirates! out for #5 is Life of Pi , also highly suggested to watch. Let me know if any of my top 5 movies are yours as well and let me know if there are any of yours that I left out! Happy Blogging!

My Star Wars Rant

If you've been on FaceBook or any news sourceAT ALLsince yesterday you've probably seen the news that Disney bought LucasArts and is now planning on releasing another Star Wars trilogy...and a LOT of people are freaking out (in a bad way) about it. Personally , I'm excited and quite optimistic. But if you're worried about it that's understandable , however what irritates me is WHY people are frustrated by it. I can't count the number of people so far that I've heard going off about how the new star wars will be stuffed with mickey mouses and how everything will be ''Disney-fied'' or the general idea that Disney will just ruin the movies.

Don't get me wrong , there's a chance the movies will not be good , but it's not because of Disney. Disney didn't buy Star Wars , they bought LucasArts , there's a BIG difference between buying a franchise and buying a company. If anything we've seen that this will probably turn out being a good thing. 3 years ago Disney bought Marvel and , though it didn't create as big a buzz as Lucasarts purchase , I still heard plenty of people talking about how Marvel is ruined just like they're saying now with LucasArts. But you know what we've seen since then? Thor , Captain America , Avenger's ... many people now think Marvel's better than ever before , and most don't even know Disney owns Marvel. In 2006 Disney bought Pixar (this is much more well known than the purchase of Marvel since Pixar has well been incorporated into parks and merchandise though Pixar properties have never clashed with Disney's properties until the near future) , what have we seen since 2006? Up , Ratatouille , Wall.E , Toy Story 3 again.. what many people consider some of Pixar's best movies. It's fine if you're worried about the new movie's , but if it's because of Disney then you're worrying for the wrong reasons.

The Exceptions

Let's face it , gaming is full of very consistent patterns , licensed games are always awful , First party games are almost always system sellers , but what I I told you there was an entire list of games that defied these established patterns we've defined for gaming... welcome.

Spiderman 2 : Licansed games , if you've played game long enough that should send a painful shiver up your spine , we've all played our fair share of Brave's , Et's , Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's , and Thor's , so the thought of playing yet another movie cash in should be near gag-inducing yes? Not in this case , Spiderman 2 was a fantastic game that few games have yet to pass even now. It had a fairly large open-world with tons of small details like stores and clubs and restaurants , there was a fairly large variety of random crimes/problems , the game was entirely open-ended (you could spend hours just half-way through the game as the story/missions could be completed as you liked) , and web-swinging never felt more right , you literally were spiderman. Not to mention there was a nice amount of artistic freedom taken from the movie. Spiderman 2 is not a game to be missed and holds up well even to normal AAA games.

Portal Series : Puzzle game , what are the first thought's that come to your mind? Cute colorful shallow 2d sidescroller... dropping blocks , lower production costs and small scale right? That's what 90% of puzzle genre games appear to be. But Portal has blasted away all of that. It is a puzzle game , and requires mental skills/reflexes to figure out , but it has all the production quality of a AAA game. It is utterly hilarious and has a fairly detailed story (while at it's base it's simple , there are a LOT of story details to pick up across both games) . It also hold the record as one of the type of games geared torwards teens/adults that can also be played by kids with no reallly offensive content. It is entirely one of the most unique games of all time.

Thrillville : Thrillville was overall a flash in the pan , the original and sequel won a couple awards , you probably saw a trailer or 2 , but in the end only a few really remember/owned the games. However Thrillville is an exception because it's what I call hardcore casual , it is at base a casual game.. it's open-ended with mini-games and no real challenge per-say. However it's not a simple ''super family fun time party game'' , it's a quality game that can easily be enjoyed by hardcore gamers , in between dishonored or bioshock or Metal Gear it's a relaxing walk in the park (no pun intended) , you can relax and play some short games or ''ride'' a ride without feeling like you're compromising game quality.

Bioshock : This generation of games has been entirely too cluttered with shooters , it might not have been as bad had many of these not been mindless ''blockbuster'' shooters that's only goal was to kill everything that moved in campaign and then go to multiplayer to waste $50 more on map packs , Bioshock however sparked new hope in fps's , the series has an incredibly deep story , engrossing environment , and moral choices that actually affected the ending.

Part 2 coming soon!

Why are the portable Lego Games so awful?

As many of you 3ds owners might know Lego Lord of the Rings demo came out recently , even though I've been burned by several Lego games portably recently, I was ridiculously optimistic for Lego LOTR , I left the demo very much disappointed. The game has all the flaws and problems almost every lego portable game before it has had this recent generation. Even on maximum sound on both the settings and system the game sounds tinny and lifeless , the 3ds has had some great sounding games , in fact , the lego series seems to be one of the only having any trouble with 3ds sound . Next up is the AWFUL camera effect , while all of the lego games have 3rd person to some extent , the new portable editions have a fixed camera view , this makes it feel like you're just sitting there controlling remote characters , you aren't playing as them. This isn't a graphics/processing problem either , 3ds is about as powerful as a gamecube , which worked fine with the lego games .. even ds had the behind the back perspective (to some extent again) , not to mention the vita which is almost as powerful as a ps3 is getting the same low quality ports. So now , through all of the new expansions added to lego games (open world , rts style segments , etc.) the 3ds and vita get basic watered down ports , that aren't even ports , because they miss out on basic lego features and things expected in all games at this point in technology. It seems almost as if LucasArts is intentionally trying to wreck lego portable games , because if they had just upgraded the graphics for the past games they would've been fine , but it seems as if they're taking the effort to strip away what makes the games fun. Come on Lucasarts , if there was a time for you to make inferior watered down ports it was last generation when you had an excuse , when portable hardware was just barely dabbling in polygonal gaming (for ds at least) , not now when portables are near console power wise.

My 5 favorite shows

Here are my top 5 favorite shows (in no particular order)

1. Psych

2. Parks & Recreation (actually both funnier and better than Office)

3. Gravity Falls (This is the diamond in the rough among Disney shows , hilarious , fantastic mix of cleverness and stupid-humor)

4.Go On

5. Revolution

The Ultimate Debate Marvel or DC Comics?

Coke vs Pepsi , Sonic vs Mario , Star Wars vs Star Trek , Michael Jackson vs Justin Bieber (hahahahahaha ... no) these are some of the most fought over vs in pop culture , how about Marvel vs DC? Here's my personal estimate of the most important categories and who (in my opinion) ''wins''.

Comics : I can't really say in this category because I never really got into the comics of either (I don't live near a comic store and I don't like starting up halfway through a comic series). So this'll be a tie.

Movies : This is actually a tough one....while Superman Returns and Dark Knight trilogy are all fantastic movies , there have been a LOT of supermans and a LOT of batmans. I have to say my vote here go's to Marvel because *most* of their movies are very good and they keep a consistent connection , they do it once and do it well (with only a few exceptions) , all of their (Marvel's) movies seem connected and in the same universe (which is why Avenger's worked so well) , dc comics movies seem to be a free for all where 10 different people decide to revamp the same movie , which ultimately leads to confusion and unneccesary comparisons. I'm not saying DC fails in the movie business , but I have to give this award to Win : Marvel

Games : No shock who I'm going to choose here , it's true DC stepped up their game and made a great game with Arkham Asylum/City , but the problem lies in the fact Arkham Asylum/City was one of the ONLY really enjoyable dc comics games. While Marvel is the shining beacon of how to do movie licensed games right... Spiderman 2 , Captain America , Hulk Ultimate Destruction , Amazing Spiderman , etc. are all very good and well made games that can be compared to normal AAA retail games and still hold up fairly well , sure there are the occasional flops like Thor but as a whole they have a pretty good track record. Win : Marvel

Characters : So far it seems Marvel's the shoe in , but this category matters quite a bit , and I think DC takes the cake here. The main element I chose DC is because their villains can't be beat. Marvel's villains are pretty 1-dimensional as a whole , while they do have back stories and reasons for what they do to some extent they often just seem to fall into the ''I'm evil because I'm evil!!!!!!!'' rut. However dc comics (with Batman's enemies most notably) villains have just as much attention to detail (if not more so) ... each character has intricate reasoning and intentions , you could write a whole book just on Joker's personality complex and origins. So this is a big point to DC comics. Win : DC Comics

Shows : DC Comics has had a very respectable show lineup , Static Shock , Young Justice , Teen Titans , Justice League , The Batman , Batman : The Animated Series , etc. etc. DC has an almost untoppable lineup. Marvel's made some genius with their more recent shows , but overall their shows didn't hold up *quite* as well as DC's. Win : DC Comics

Overall : I have to say , even though DC comics does phenominally in many aspects , I have to give the game to Marvel. Their overall connevtivity and consistent quality proves them the champions. Win : Marvel

Speak up and let me know what you think below!

What I thought of the Presentation

Overall I thought Nintendo's presentation was pretty good! The $300-$350 pricetag is out of my affordibility range at the moment but it is a steal for what it's offering power wise. Some of the titles announced are great like Bayonetta 2 , 007 Legends , Epic Mickey 2 , Monster Hunter , etc. are all great. The system still , in my opinion , is missing the type of title that I HAVE to have that really really excites me , and until I see one like that (it doesn't have to be and I don't expect it to be a launch title) I don't plan on getting wii-u , but the launch lineup is quite impressive. Much like with their e3 presentation (though it overall was much better at selling me on wii-u) I never really had the gaping mouth ''Did they just show THAT?!?'' feeling I was hoping for but it was pretty good all things considered!

My Predictions for the Wii-U Event

Here are some of my predictions for the ''big reveal'' tomorrow.

Price : Nintendo will announce 2 SKU's , bare bones , just wii-u and controller for $250 and a ''collectors edition'' or premium bundle or the like for $299.99 which includes pro controller or wiimote with Nintendo Land.

Release date : November 18'th most likely.

Games Showcased : Pikmin 3 , CoD , nsmb .... 3 or 4 new games will be announced , 1 major one and a couple small surprise titles.

Online will also be showcased with some examples of how it works and what we can expect (eshop/virtual console/netflix/etc.) for launch day.