OCMS News June 2007

Surf’s Up: Another Movie/Video Game Tie-in
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Summer is here again. The schools are emptied, bees are buzzing, and movie studios are biding for our hard-earned dollars with new summer blockbusters – and with it the inevitable video game tie-in. Sony has released movie from ther newly created animation studio, “Surf’s Up”, about a surfing penguin who has to overcome something and win the heart of someone while learning an important life lesson. Last year Sony released “Open Season” to compete with the other computer-animated children’s movies, which had lackluster success both at the box office and game sales.

Most movie/video game translations don’t do well, in either direction. A video game about a movie (Shrek, Open Season, The Matrix, Spiderman) is usually mediocre at best, and movies based on a video game (think Resident Evil and Doom) are usually horrible. Surf’s Up has a bad legacy to overcome, so let’s take a closer look…

Waiting in Line for an iPhone
Friday, June 29, 2007
“Don’t go to an Apple store,” Steve Jobs has advised. “It will be a madhouse there. People will be lined up around the block, sleeping on the sidewalk to get one. Go to an AT&T/Cingular store. Most people don’t know that they will be selling them too.”

It seems like more people like the party. While many have already camped out at the Apple stores, only a few had marked their territory at my local AT&T store (formerly Cingular, which was formerly AT&T). Only two lads had started the line, and they were there for the long haul, bringing a tent, coolers, and other camping gear to get them through the 18 additional hours they would have to wait. The iPhone officially goes on sale at 6:00pm on Friday.

Colin McRae’s Dirt (Xbox 360) Review
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Before you even start a race, you know this isn’t any ordinary game. The opening select menus are full-on 3d resembling the interface from “Minority Report” or “The Matrix”. In addition to being virtually whiplashed between the menu options, you are also presented with your current race stats (which can be almost as painful as the multiple crashes you’ll witness). US Pro-racer and X-games gold medallist Travis Pastrana also provides driving tips while the game continues to load.

This is a good time to make sure you have a friend with you, because once the race starts, you’ll need him to pick your jaw up off the floor. Dirt’s graphics are extremely realistic and eye-poppingly, jaw-droppingly, smack yo’ mamma good. The game features lush trackside vegetation, realistic reflections (which dull as your car gets dusty) and realistic landscapes. The car models are stunningly detailed, including the interior views, which actually change and crumple to reflect the car’s damage, and probably the best I’ve ever seen.

Lara Croft opens Italy’s first ever women-only beach (with pix)
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Lara Croft (Karima Adebibe) takes a break from promoting the new Tomb Raider: Anniversary game to relax in the sunshine and open Italy’s very first women-only beach located in Riccione, an exclusive resort near Rimini on the east coast.

How to Restore Sleep Mode to Vista’s Media Center
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
If you have a Media Center PC, then you no doubt have lots of digital media stored on it. You probably also have this media shared out so that you can access them from other PCs. Unfortunately, if you selected the option to have shared media available during your setup of Media Center, you will notice that your PC will no longer enter Sleep Mode. Media Center disables the Sleep Mode function to allow the shared media to be accessed.

You may not want your Media Center PC turned on all day, because they consume alot more electricity than a traditional home theater appliance. Media Center will awaken from its nap to record a show when in sleep mode, and then lull itself back to sleep.

Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 Review
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
This mouse is designed to pair well with Microsoft’s Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, which is one of the most comfortable keyboards I’ve ever used. The Natural 6000 mouse has an unusual rounded shape, resembling a softball. There have been other “extremely ergonomic” mice before, but were so strange-looking (no matter how well they performed) that they remain a niche item for ergonomic extremists.

The wireless interface is the same 27MHz technology Microsoft has been using for years on their wireless mice. This technology has been improved over the past several years to reduce lag to the point that it is just as good as a wired mouse (when first introduced it was horribly laggy). The wireless receiver (which also ironically looks like a mouse) plugs directly into your PC’s USB port, and has a range of about six feet. Although the low frequency is more prone to interferance and range issues, it should also, in theory, increase battery life.

Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Lands on PC!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
The PC version features enhanced graphics and effects to optimize the realistic presentation and explosive action in the game, including better shadows and more detailed textures, as well as higher monitor resolutions. In addition, the game supports multiplayer modes for up to 16 players online via the internet as well as LAN connections. Setting up or joining multiplayer games has been made easier thanks to an improved lobby system for PC gamers, thanks to integration with Steam.

Tomb Raider Anniversary Review: Lara Gets Better with Age
Saturday, June 23, 2007
First a recap for those who lives under a rock and have never heard of Tomb Raider at all. You control a cartoonishly well-developed woman through an endless series of tombs, caverns and generally maze-like scenarios where you spend most of the time jumping around pulling levers and finding keys or objects, which in turn opens the door to the NEXT maze. Lather, rinse, repeat.

You also have the occasional encounter with wild animals and the like, at which point you pump them full of lead while jumping around like a monkey on speed to avoid getting bull-rushed and knocked over.

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness (with Screenshots)
Friday, June 22, 2007
Penny Arcade (www.penny-arcade.com) is the most popular online comic in the world, serving 3.5 million readers monthly. Focused mainly on videogame culture and industry commentary, but managing to skewer a host of mainstream topics along the way, illustrator Mike Krahulik and writer Jerry Holkins deliver colorful humor in a thrice weekly cartoon strip and accompanying blog. The strip regularly features the creator’s alter egos, Tycho and Gabe. We also have tons of screenshots of the game.

Console Chipping & Piracy Raid (with confiscated pix)
Friday, June 22, 2007
Yesterday saw the successful launch of a new multifaceted crime-fighting initiative in which three people from the North East of England were put under investigation for producing and selling modified games chips and ‘chipped’ Nintendo Wii and DS, Microsoft 360 and Xbox, and Sony PlayStation2 and PSP (PlayStationPortable) consoles

Zalman’s CNPS9700 NT Heatsink: Is it Easy Being Green?
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Zalman is a leader when it comes to third-party heatsinks and accessories. They have been making quality PC products for many years, focusing on efficient design, which in turn have produces some of the best products available. Their CNPS (Computer Noise Prevention System) products have been some of the most effective heatsinks available, and have achieved great performance without excess noise.

Zalman is at it again, this time introducing their new flagship product, the CNPS9700 NT. Not only does this heatsink look like a true “flagship” product, but it is endorsed by nVidia themselves for their nForce Intel platform chipsets. Green is definately the theme of this heatsink (to go with the nVidia theme), so the box is green, and the LED lights in the huge cooling fan are some of the brightest green LEDs I’ve seen.

A Vampyre Story: a few lethal images!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
New pics show off point-‘n’-clicker from former LucasArts man Bill Tiller.

93 Games and Ascaron are pleased to present 5 new images of its forthcoming adventure game A Vampyre Story developed by Automn Moon, Bill Tiller’s new studio. These new images, featuring the main character Mona De Lafitte and her fluttery friend Froderick, show us the first locations of their flight to Paris and some of the weird denizens of Draxsylvania they encounter on their journey. It is once again the occasion to see how original “A Vampyre Story” is and that it could be compared to Tim Burton’s or Edward Gorey’s pieces.

Where did Vista’s Task Manager Go?
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
CTRL+ALT+DEL: This key combination has worked differently in Windows NT compared to the Windows 9x world… in NT (or Windows 2000) you were prompted to lock your computer, and in 9x it brought up the Task Manager. In Windows XP this functionality changed depending on how you were connected to a network: on a domain = lock computer; on a workgroup (or no network) = Task Manager. In Windows Vista you no longer have a choice… CTRL+ALT+DEL brings up a full-screen window asking you what you want to do. So how to you make a bee-line to the task manager without going through extra screens?

Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition!
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Capcom has released RE4 for the Wii. Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition is a new version of the award-winning game that incorporates the control functionality of the Wii Remote

JBL Reference 510 Noise-Cancelling Headphones Review
Monday, June 18, 2007
Several new “noise-cancelling” headphones have appeared on the market over the past year or so, taking the thunder from Bose (previously the only vendor with noise cancelling technology). Some of these new headphones do a good job of filtering out ambient noise, others have good musical acoustics, but not many do both very well. JBL has been making audiophile headphones and speakers for years, and have introduced their latest generation of noise cancelling headphones in their “Reference 510” headset.

JBL chose an “on-ear” model for their Reference 510 set, which sit on top of your ears rather than surrounding them. This method makes the headphones more compact, but an “over-the-ear” design naturally blocks out more noise by providing a physical barrier between your fleshy nodules and the outside world.

DRM Pirates Helped in Ways They Didn’t Plan
Thursday, June 14, 2007
The hackers/talkers of Doom9 and the screamers on Ditto did consumers a favor and they didn’t even know it. By proving that the AACS DRM was far from safe from their crafty antics they forced the motion picture industry to step back and completely rethink content protection. Why is it good? They did it before the HighDef content discs were being widely sold, rented, used. If the overly restrictive DRM doesn’t work what option does the motion picture industry have to get consumers to enjoy (buy) their stuff and still not steal it? A realistic (better/more logical) solution was already on the table…now it looks pretty darned good. It will free the lawyers up to focus on what’s important…tracking the real pirates back to their lairs !!

Brain Age FAQ: All the Tips and Cheats to Become Smarter!
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Brain Age is not really a “game;” gee, what a way to start a game guide. But never the less, I will try to take Brain Age off the GameFAQ’s front page by providing a complete guide/FAQ/tips, whatever.

Also, I only played this game on the DS Lite, whatever that means.

Assassin’s Creed Launches Worldwide on November 2007
Friday, June 08, 2007
Assassin’s Creed Launches Worldwide on November 2007.

We got more details for ya right here!

Lost Planet “Battleground” map now available for free
Friday, June 08, 2007
Up until now, the lucky gamers that have the Collector’s Edition of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition for Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft have been able to enjoy the extra “Battleground” map which sets players in an abandoned town scattered with rubble from ruined buildings and features indoor and outdoor areas with multi-level vantage points. The map is now available for free download to everyone on Xbox Live® Marketplace!

How to Cheat in Solitaire for Vista
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Ah, Solitaire. It has cost employers millions of dollars in wasted productivity, as it has come with every version of Windows since 3.0 (and possibly even before that). Many hardcore solitaire players know that there are many versions of solitaire; the one packaged with Windows being the classic Klondike variety. Klondike is different from other versions of solitaire in that it requires quite a bit of luck in addition to skill to win the game.

Not only has Vista given the GUI a facelift, but Solitaire has a new coat of paint, too, and it certainly is pretty. Let’s face it: if you’re bored at the office at 2:00 on a Friday afternoon… what else are you going to do but play solitaire? It beckons. And you must answer. And you must cheat.

How to View Nikon RAW files easily in Vista
Thursday, June 07, 2007
If you are using a professional Nikon digital camera, then you may have discovered how useful the RAW file format is in the digital darkroom. Although Photoshop and other profesional tools can use this format, it isn’t very browsable… you end up opening several files just to find the one you want to edit.

The LEGO Group Announces LEGO Universe As Official Title For Branded MMOG
The LEGO Group :: Thursday, June 07, 2007
With the popularity of Lego Star Wars and other Lego games, we’re now getting a LEGO Massively Multiplayer Online Game!

The full-featured MMOG will be complete with character advancement, expansive social and community features, and will provide a child-safe alternative to other MMOGs on the market. As a player, you’ll be able to customize your mini-figs and interact in the universe as any character you choose, providing unique opportunities for players to expand and explore with their creations.

Lost Planet Map Pack Screenshots
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Capcom has announced that they will be releasing seven new multiplayer levels for Lost Planet. The first two levels they are releasing are called Radar Field and Island 902.

“Radar Field,” a close quarters facility which is under construction and has a giant radar that provides a peak vantage point, and “Island 902,” a sprawling Pacific-themed battlefield with several islands connected by bridges as well as vast underwater areas.

The new maps will be out March 9th and will cost 400 MS Points. Capcom also said that the exclusive multiplayer level from the collectors edition will be made available for free later in the year.

Hit the jump for the official press release, pictures and videos.

We have 7 new screenshots from the new Map Pack.

Fury Screenshots (PC)
Sunday, June 03, 2007
We have 11 new screenshots of Fury for the PC. Here’s some tasty info on the game:

Fury takes the best elements of an MMO and an FPS for a fast-paced blend of dynamic online combat. The game play cycle lets you fight, earn rewards, and use those rewards to customize your character as much as you want.

Decorate Your Desktop with New Attack on Pearl Harbor Wallpapers
Sunday, June 03, 2007
New wallpapers unrolled for “Attack on Pearl Harbor”. Here’s some of the game info:

Featuring a sturdy online component designed for short-session multiplayer dog-fighting, Attack on Pearl Harbor is a casual, pick-up-and-play WWII flight combat game appropriate for all ages and skill levels. The game features a selection of online and offline modes with a variety of missions and campaigns putting players in the cockpits of the main protagonists of the WWII Pacific Theatre – the USAAF and the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service.