Fear and Loathing at Comic-Con
Posted on Friday, July 24 2009 @ 03:42:51 Eastern
We can't stop here; this is Batman country!
After out night of binge drinking and casual lateness, myself, Greg and our travelling companion, Franny decided it would be best to leave the smog stained skies of LA behind for the humid heat of coastal San Diego. We packed up our bags and said goodbye to Greg’s friend, Brad who had been kind enough to give a place to stay for the previous evening and were on our way. About two or three hours later, we found ourselves in our final destination well in time for preview night, but with only about forty-five minutes to spare before our first meeting took place: The EA showcase.
We caught a Trolley down to the convention center and were greeted with the most insanely long line for press credentials I’d ever seen. Truly this was the geek Mecca prophesied by the great science fiction writer, Jules Vern (okay, maybe he never predicted it, but he totally called the submarine). We opted to hit up the EA showcase first and let the crowd cool down.
There was all sorts of cool stuff to scope out, but my attention was focused like a hawk on Left4Dead 2 first and foremost. I’d been waiting to get my hands on this since I heard about it while everyone was down at E3. It did not disappoint in the slightest. Major improvements all around. I’m afraid that will have to suffice until I get time to actually sit down and do some real writing. Expect a full on preview soon…
After some less intriguing previews, we were off to the Activision party to check out Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 and Singularity (spelled with a backwards “R” like the toy store). I spent most of my time with Ultimate Alliance 2 because I’m a huge comic nerd (once again, wait for the full preview for details) but did play some Singularity. The concept is very similar to Time Shift in that it’s an FPS that involves you manipulating time as a weapon and using to do crazy things, like reconstructing entire buildings and turning your enemies into old men in the blink of an eye.
The pinnacle of the event would have to be meeting and having my picture taken with the one and only Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and the incredible Hulk just to name a few. I had tried to land an interview with him, but was shut out due to time constraints, but the nice thing about bringing Franny with us is that she is not sore on the eyes and was able to use her feminine wiles to coerce a phot-op. Before I could even blink I had met the man, had my pic taken and been sent on my way; which meant it was time to hit the next party up.
So off we went to the Sony Ratchet and Clank community event where we proceeded to drink even more than we thought was humanly possible. In between shots we managed to sneak in some time checking out Ratchet’s newest demo. If you’re a fan of the series, as usual, you won’t be disappointed. It looks to be more of the same fun and colorful platforming action you’ve grown to know and love.
Somehow I ended up back at our hotel room after all the shennanagins and prepared myself for the following day. Stay tuned for my interview with the guys from Tapout, the Robot Chicken press roundtable, a ton of video games and a bloody, zombified concert.
[ 0 Comments
] [ Post a Comment
On the Road to Comic-Con
Posted on Thursday, July 23 2009 @ 00:51:42 Eastern
Yesterday fellow GR comrade, Greg Damiano and I began our fantastic voyage down the I-5 heading from the warmth and comfort of the compound in Berkeley to San Diego for Comic-Con: the ultimate nerdgasm. This year we're on a bit of a budget (we already had to sell one of our siberian tigers) so instead of the usual luxury jet we cruise in, we decided to "rough it" and drive down like the common man.
Along the way we tested out a few roadtrip products, such as a multi-unit charging dock, cup holder organizer, and an AC adapter powered coffee mug. You’ll have to wait for my product wrap-up to find how awesome or awesomely ridiculous some of this stuff was, but let me assure you: you will be surprised by some of the tests and their results.
Since our hotel room wasn’t available until today we made plans to stay in L.A. overnight with one of Greg’s college buddies . Which also provided us an opportunity to hit up the Adventures of Neil season 2 launch party. Thanks to some stereotypical SoCal traffic and general lackadaisicalness on our part, we arrived casually late to the event, missed the screening and instead had to stand around getting drunk and not doing much else. We did take the time to mingle a bit with some of the talent, including the composer for the upcoming season’s musical episode and picked up an autographed poster for what I’m sure will be one lucky GR Comrade.
The ultimate nerd wet dream, Felecia Day was in attendance as well, but was under a constant barrage by at least three guys trying to impress her at any time, and I just don’t play that game. Maybe I’ll see her down in San Diego and see if she has time to talk with us.
Even though we missed the preview, I have watched part of season one and would recommend it to anyone with a decent sense of humor that doesn’t take some sort of personal offense to cussing and had played the original Legend of Zelda. Essentially it’s the story of a regular dude who, through a freak accident is transported to the magical land of Hyrule. From there, as you would imagine the hijinks ensue. If you haven’t checked it out yet you can get caught up on season 1 here before the second one is released.
After getting remarkably hammered fairly quick, we ended the night with a round of pints at an Irish Pub called Molly Malone’s. It’s been a while since I’ve lived in LA-LA land and I had forgotten how expensive bars were down here, so I foolishly offered to pay for the first round. $30 for four beers. Sheesh. At least I know when I get to San Diego all the hooch will be free at the EA and Activision showcases. Plus Stan Lee is supposed to be making an appereance at the Activision shin-dig to help promote Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Stay tuned for Wesnesday’s wrap-up.
[ 0 Comments
] [ Post a Comment
Willd Nights of GDC and the Tecmo Press Event
Posted on Wednesday, March 25 2009 @ 16:23:24 Eastern
Ah, Tuesday at GDC. The sun is out, the birds are singing, and I'm stuck going from dark hotel room to hotel room checking out games. The life of the pale nerd gamer is a tough one. After checking out some new games from Disney Interactive with Nick and going to a few meetings of my own (which you'll hear about in their own previews) it was time for me to head down to the super-secret extra-special Tecmo press announcement at the soon-to-be-closed-for-good Playstation store.
What so secret they couldn't tell us about it? Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 for the PS3...which they already announced last week...I know, I didn't really get it myself either. Why announce a new game you already announced?
Well, maybe it was so they could tell us about all the new stuff their putting into the game, such as weapons, moves and characters. The news that Ayane from the Dead or Alive series would be a playable character had already come out but they also introduced footage of Momiji, from Ninja Gaiden Dragon Sword, as playable. Just like in the DS game she has a long ass staff is much more nimble than Ryu.
The rest of the demo video we were shown was very impressive and icluded a battle with the Statue of Liberty (I can only guess that they stole the idea from Ghostbusters 2) and a giant buddha statue as well. Team Ninja has listened to the complaints about the 360 version and have made some changes. Like the a better camera system and a more balanced difficulty. But the major suprise I took away from the footage was the inclusion of an online co-op mode. As Ryu and Ayane combined the powers of their ninja magic and released them the screen cut to another shot of action where you could see an online partner in the background of all the battles. The multiplayer mode is probably where you'll see the girls the most, as the games director, Yosuke Hayashi, was quick to emphasize that Ryu was still the main protagonist.
After telling give us the specs on the upcoming NGS2 the floor was opened to questions. Sadly that mostly meant everyone asking about things that were already answered in the presentation or trying to grill Yosuke about the fallout between Team Ninja and their former head Tomonobu Itagaki. Hayashi-san answered with the aloof grace and dignity that you would expect from a Japanese businessman, sadly that does not make for a good quote.
At night after all the panels and press meetings, it was time for GDC to let off some steam. I know what you're thinking, "But Blake, you''ve got the best job in the world". I know I do but there are a lot of folks here looking for work who can't afford booze and need these social gatherings in order to get drunk and network. So I decided to make the rounds; in the name of gaming journalism, of course. The thought of all the free alcohol did not affect my decision making at all.
First up on the chopping block was the Deep Silver party at the Mezzanine. Besides offering up a healthy buffet of Popeye's Chicken and Twinkies they were also showing off the upcoming Duke Nukem: Critical Mass for DS and PSP. The DS version is a side scroller with some alley way sniping thrown in to spice things up beyond that my initial reaction to it was that it reminded me of the old Robocop arcade game. The PSP was in third person, and the little I saw of it included a really cool looking jet pack infused air battle. I'm sure you can expect more information from us as the release date draws closer.
Next we took off to Jillian's Bar & Grill for the Lucasarts party, which turned out to be nothing more than some folks hanging out and playing pool in the backroom while everyone boozed it up in the front part of the bar with Canada. That's right Canada the country. Not all of them. Just some folks representing for them and pimping some 2010 Olympic gear with the help of some very disturbing furries. Apparently those canuks can throw quite the shindig.
After all the gaming and boozing it was time to for my last stop of the evening, The SF Museum of Modern art. Reardon labs was hosting an event with a special announcment that was "going to change the world of gaming as we know it". When you're in the press and you're cynical you tend to roll your eyes at statements like that, since they're touted in front of you so much, but this time they be right on the money.
The revolution in gaming they announced was a new service/hardware called OnLIve. Essentially it's Steam mixed with NetFlix but 1,000 times better. It gives people the ability to play PC games through a broadband service not only on their computers, but on TVs and Macs as well. Obviously quality will be affected on the strength of your connections, but this is still something that could change the console wars dramatically. Although it's hard to say what the outcome will be when products and service launch, perhaps it will end up sending Microsoft, Sony, heck, maybe even Nintendo down the same road SEGA took when they went from console dev. to third party titles. For now we'll have to wait and see until OnLive launches, possibly in Winter 2010.
[ 2 Comments
] [ Post a Comment
The Rise of Guitar Rising
Posted on Friday, February 22 2008 @ 00:43:51 Eastern
Last week at the GDC I got a chance to go hands-on with the new GameTank game for PC, Guitar Rising. If you haven’t heard about this game yet, here’s the skinny.
You know how Rock Band ma... read more...
[ Comments ] [ Post a Comment ]