OCMS News March 2009

Social Media: The Hunted Become the Hunter
Monday, March 30, 2009
The world of new media – widgets and social applications – looks like a beautiful marketing hunting grounds. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Imagine people flock to Web 2.0 locations where they blog. They upload/download audios/videos of specific interest to them. They congregate at business/special interest web sites to gain information and be entertained.

MLB 09 The Show Review (PS3, PSP)
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Just in time for the Baseball Season Sony has released MLB 09 The Show for the PS 2, PSP, and PS3 gaming systems.

For my review, I used the PS 3 version and was immediately gripped by the strong graphics and lifelike animation of the players.

The game is stocked with full rosters from all the teams and lifelike animations and mannerisms that reflect their flesh and blood counterparts. The stadiums are crafted in detail and really add to the immersion for players. All 30 teams are featured as are their stadiums.

Grand Theft Auto: ChinaTown Wars Review (DS)
Saturday, March 28, 2009
The phenomenally successful Grand Theft Auto series roars onto Nintendo DS in style in the very impressive Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars.

Using the same outlay of Liberty City that was featured in Grand Theft Auto 4, the game tells the story of Huang Lee who is tasked with delivering a sword to his uncle after the murder of his father. The sword is a key symbol that will allow his family to maintain control of the local gangs.

Things do not go as planned as Huang is beaten and left for dead soon after his arrival in town and has the sword stolen from him. This forces Huang to fight to avenge his honor and seek riches and revenge.

Monsters vs Aliens Movie Review
Friday, March 27, 2009
Ushering in what they hope will be a bold new era in 3D movie making, Dreamworks has set a very high standard with “Monsters Vs Aliens”. By combining science fiction and monster films, pop culture references, a strong cast, and cutting edge 3D technology, the film is likely to score big with audiences of all ages.

The story involves a bride to be named Susan (Reese Witherspoon), who is struck by a meteor shortly before her nuptials to local anchorman Derek (Paul Rudd). Before she can say “I do” Susan has an amazing growth spurt that soon has her towering over the church and eventually captured and subdued by a cadre of soldiers.

Xeno: Bigfoot’s Second-Generation Killer NIC
Monday, March 23, 2009
I was invited to speak with the guys at Bigfoot Networks to discuss their new product, the Killer Xeno Network Card. Harlan Beverly (Chief Technology Officier) and Sean McCann (Product Marketing Manager) sat down with me to unveil the new product, and to set the record straight about their previous Killer NIC.

To address the Pink Elephant in the room, Harlan started off by admitting that they “over-promised” on the original Killer NIC. They maintain that the LLR (Lag and Latency Reduction) technology was sound, and does in fact improve ping times by bypassing the network stack, but admitted that much of network lag is beyond the control of the network card.

Director R.W. Goodwin talks Alien Trespass and The X-Files
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Recently I had the chance to speak with Director R.W. Goodwin about his new movie “Alien Trespass”. R.W. Goodwin served as a writer, director, and co-executive producer on the X-Files for many seasons and has crafted a very funny and nostalgic look at the classic 50’s sci fi and monster films of the past. I want to thank Danielle at THA for setting up the interview and R.W. for answering my questions.

GVK: How did you become involved with the project?

James Swift (the writer) about three years ago had an idea about the films he had watched growing up. It turns out that I had watched the same films at the same theater but we had never met until years later. We thought that there had not been enough of the 50’s style movies made and we decided we needed to make one more.

Wallace and Gromit Grand Adventures Interview with Telltale
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Recently I got the chance to speak to the good folks at Telltale about their new Wallace and Gromit game. I want to thank the team and Emily for answering my questions.

GVK: What is the background and setting for the game?

Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures is a four episode series based on the characters and world created by Aardman Animations in the Wallace & Gromit films. In our games, you play as both Wallace, a well-intentioned inventor whose big ideas tend to get him in trouble, and Gromit, Wallace’s highly-intelligent dog. We have been working closely with Aardman to ensure that the games feel very much like the movies.

Classic Gaming Madness: Megaman 3
Sunday, March 22, 2009
After Megaman 2 basically showed us how to make an awesome sequel. Capcom did what they later would be notorious for: The made more sequels.

Even today, Capcom schedules their yearly catalogue around sequels to their top franchises. Usually when they come out with something original, it tanks. Once they have one game that sells pretty well from the two original titles introduced a year, you can bet that there’s gonna be a gazillion sequels.

Classic Gaming Madness: Megaman 2
Saturday, March 21, 2009
The original Megaman was a fun game, sure, but it wasn’t a best selling masterpiece like you may think. Regardless, Capcom brought out a sequel, Megaman 2.

The first noticeable difference in MM2 was the fact that rather than six robot masters there were eight. Granted, stages were shortened a bit, but the level variety was vastly improved.

Know1ng Movie Review
Friday, March 20, 2009
John Koestler (Nicolas Cage) is a man who lives in a world of facts. As a professor at M.I.T. he is more concerned about things that can be proven through hard science than with things that cannot be proven. With the recent loss of his wife leaving him a single father, John is not willing to accept the notion of a grand plan or the notion of heaven easily.

John’s son Caleb (Chandler Cantebury), morns the loss of his mother and looks to pick up his life with his father unaware of the dramatic turn that fate has in store for them both in the new film “Knowing” by Director Alex Proyas.

Acoustibuds Earphone Adapters Review
Friday, March 20, 2009
Acoustibuds are add-on silicone adapters that can be slipped over generic earbuds. Not only does it prevent your earbuds from slipping out, but it makes them more comfortable, too. Regular earbuds are “one size fits all” and remain snug by pushing your ear’s cartlidge around hard plastic. After a while, your ears start to hurt. With Acoustibuds, the hard plastic is out of your ear, and replaced with a soft, rubbery silicone canal with fins.

Fallout 3 SuperGuide!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Fallout 3 is the 3rd game of the Fallout series. The first 2 were major hits and cult classics, with incredible plot and substance to satisfy the RPG gamer in everyone. Fallout 3 was changed a little. It is now a first person shooter, where as the previous 2 were top down turn based combat games. Because Fallout 3 is a first person shooter, many things were changed in the game that wouldn’t work in a non-turn based game. Many good things were left out because of this, but the overall fun is still there, making for a fun game with a huge world to explore. Things to note. The game is a first person SHOOTER. This means that combat is a lot harder than with a turn based game, because you actually have to aim and attack things manually instead of a system where your stats affect how good you hit. There is an adjusted V.A.T. combat system that helps with the popular aiming that Fallout 1 and 2 had. Sadly they didn’t extend this to all weapons, so guns are the only weapons you can aim at body parts. That doesn’t make the other weapons any less fun, just not as beneficial as guns

Lord of the Rings: Conquest Review
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Lord of the Rings: Conquest is a solid release from Pandemic Studios and EA that will delight fans of the novels and films as well as gamers who crave lots of action and options in their games. The game allows players to decide to play for the path of good or evil and once that decision is reached, then the real fun begins. If you chose the path of good, then you will follow Frodo on his mission to destroy the ring. Should you decide to ally with evil, then the game shows a world where the ring was not destroyed and allows you lay waste to the land.

Resistance: Retribution Review
Monday, March 16, 2009
This volume of the Resistance story takes place in the weeks after the fall of the Chimeran toiwer at the end of Resistance: Fall of Man. The primary character is James Grayson, who is a British Royal Marine, who is forced to hill his brother Jonny inside a Chimeran conversion center. After these events James goes AWOL and enters into his own personal vendetta agains the aliens and sets out to destroy every conversion center he can find. Consequently, James is captured and thrown into a military prison for his disertion.

James is rescued from military prison from the Maquis (the European Resistance), in exchange for his help. James reluctantly joins Operation Overstrike to retake the Europe from the Chimera.

Coverage from Live MST3K Show in Seattle
Monday, March 16, 2009
The creative talents behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 came to Seattle this past weekend to present a live version of their latest project, Cinematic Titanic. For those who do not know of Mystery Science Theater 3000, it was the creation of Joel Hodgson who along with his robot pals, lampooned the worst films in cinematic history as well as an endless array of short films.The series ran for 11 years on Comedy Central and The Sci Fi channel and has become not only a cult favorite with a loyal fan base but has won and been nominated for several awards.

Deep Space: Extraction Interview
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Recently I got the chance to speak with the production team at EA behind the next chapter in the Dead Space saga. I want to thank the team and Melissa for taking the time to answer my questions.

OCMS: What is the background and setting for the game and how closely does it follow the events of prequel movie?

Hard-Core Gamers Losing Their Edge
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Hard core gamers have lost their “most sought after” position for video game system and software producers. Without a lot of fanfare the developers/manufacturers have found that there is a huge general and casual gamer market out there… young or old, male or female.

The game industry was in its infancy and only accounted for a few hundred million bucks. Today the market is huge and serious.

Resident Evil 5 Complete Walkthrough!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
This guide was created aiming to contain the least amount of spoilers possible, however it may contain one or another. I apologize for that. Also, at least not for now, I do not intend to give a detailed strategy for The Mercenaries mode.

It was also written for the Japanese Xbox 360 version of the game, but it should work just fine for the US and Playstation 3 and PC versions. If you’re playing the PS3, PC or the US version and notice something different, please, let me know.

Last House on the Left (2009) Movie Review
Friday, March 13, 2009
The film centers around 17 year old Mari Collingwood (Sara Paxton), who is taking time off from her competitive swimming and school to spend the summer with her parents Emma and John (Monica Potter and Tony Goldwyn), at their remote cabin in the woods. The family is coming to grips with the loss of their son, and Mari is anxious to spend some time with her friend Paige (Martha MacIssac), whom she has not seen in a while.

Race to Witch Mountain Movie Review
Friday, March 13, 2009
“Escape to Witch Mountain” enjoys an undeniable place at the massive table of classics that Disney has offered us over the years. In the last three decades the movie has failed to slip into oblivion, and quite the contrary, as some might say it is worthy of cult status.

When Disney announced their plans to bring that franchise to a new generation I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was selected for the leading role it was even more puzzling. So I’m sure it will come as little surprise to anyone when I tell you that “Race to Witch Mountain” is an action flick for children.

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin Walkthrough
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I love the FEAR games. That may sound odd because I don’t like games that stay the same, but FEAR has always done a good job of offering a nice and engaging story while highlighting combat. Unlike most FPS games FEAR has always let the player determine how a fight goes down. I know that in COD5 there was next to no variation in how to get through a level. But in FEAR the enemies are always smart, slo-mo instantly changes a fight, and there are always many options in weapons and melee. I honestly believe that while many would dog FEAR’s lack on innovation and somewhat cliched story, this series does combat better than any FPS.

How to clean CD and DVD Drives
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
When your CD or DVD (disc) drive starts giving you problems, your first thought may be to replace it or take it to the repair shop, but a good cleaning may be all it needs.

Below are three methods to clean the disc drive. The easiest method is the least effective. The hardest method is the most effective. Since the hardest method takes some time to do, I recommend that you start with the easiest method. If it solves your problems, congratulations. If not, try the next method.

Gamepad vs Keyboard: Which is best for PC Gaming?
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
It was when I made the transition from “strictly console gamer” to “strictly PC gamer” that I started to lose my feel for the gamepad. The mouse and keyboard seemed to feel so much more natural to me, and the maneuvers I could perform on a PC completely overshadowed the unholy mess I would make on a gamepad. As I write this I am fully capable of completing every portion of Left 4 Dead with sweet precision. I am the king of the headshot! But you stick me in front of this game with a gamepad and I guarantee you will be voting me off the campaign within the first minute. I seriously couldn’t aim worth a damn.

There are hundreds of gamepads available online now, and they only multiply. And since the wonderful people at Microsoft created the Xbox 360, their controller works perfectly on a Vista machine.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Game Interview with Dan Vondrak
Monday, March 09, 2009
What is the background and setting for the game and how closely does it follow the events of the film?

DV: This story explains Wolverine’s mysterious past. How did he get the Admantium skeleton and claws? What happened between Wolverine and Stryker (the relationship they hinted at in the previous X-Men movies)? We started the game before there was a movie and once the movie got involved we worked back and forth with Fox to mold our story into the movie story and maintain all the great comic stuff we wanted to add from Wolverine’s past. In the end we’ve got about 90% of the movie story in our game plus and additional 30-40% of extra content that blends seamlessly with the movie story, it turned out awesome.

The Watchmen Movie Review
Sunday, March 08, 2009
In an alternate 1985, where Nixon is president, The U.S. won the Vietnam War, and costumed heroes have been banned by an act of the Senate, a superhero is killed. The death of the mercurial entity known as The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) sets a string of events into motion that will soon see the world poised on the edge of nuclear annihilation, and the few remaining heroes locked in a life or death race against time to save the world. In the gritty and compelling new movie “Watchmen” by Director Zack Snyder, a clever blend of film noir and gumshoe style films of old combined with action and adventure as well as a deep examination of human frailties to create a film like no other.

Consumers Need Voice in Driving Products
Saturday, March 07, 2009
On any given day you will find a group of engineers or programmers huddling in the back room, sitting in the corner of the coffee shop, or gathering around the most recently divorced individual’s kitchen table to plan the next major new company built on breathtaking technology.

The hard fact is…we really don’t need more technology.

What we do need is better application of the technology we have.

Demigod Developer Walk-thru video!
Friday, March 06, 2009
The four minute video gives a close-up introductory look at the battle action of this upcoming masterpiece from Gas Powered Games. Playing as The Oak, executive producer Brad Wardell gives a play-by-play narrative, and shows off the special attributes of The Oak character including leveling up capabilities.

Clay Enos Talks about Photographing ‘Watchmen’
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
OCMS: How did you get involved with Zack on the project and what other films have you documented in the past?

CE: Watchmen was my first job as still photographer on a feature film. I was asked by the filmmakers to shoot for them because they knew my work and my approach. They knew that when I have a camera in my hand I move with an intention and focus that would serve them well. They were well aware of the project’s importance and wanted it documented. I was their guy to do it, and to hopefully, over-deliver.