OCMS News November 2008

Renting Games for Thanksgiving
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
In case anyone hasn’t figured it out, I really love video games. So much so that I just can’t buy all the games I want to play.

Most of the time, new games just aren’t worth buying. They cost too much or you get through them way too quickly. Sometimes the game just isn’t worth $60… which is what happened when I purchased The Darkness. You can now pick it up for $5 at a used bin.

So, I started renting video games. If you’re a nut for Xbox gamer points, then this is definately the way to go. You can play through games to get much of the 1000 points that each game offers, without going broke in the process.

So Many Games: Which Ones Are Worth It for Xmas?
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
The Holliday season is in full force with a gazillion titles coming out. You can expect the writers at [OC]ModShop to be attempting reviews on every single one. Today I don’t want to discuss news, rather, I just figured I’d bring up a few games fresh in my mind.

And yes, most of these are RPGs, I realized that when I finished this article.

Star Trek Online Interview with Craig Zinkievich
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Recently I had the chance to speak with Craig Zinkievich, Executive Producer, Cryptic Studios about the pending Star Trek Online MMOPG. I had done an interview for the game a few years ago that was picked up by PC Gamer when the game was first in development at another studio, and I want to thank Craig, Danitra, and Jerry for setting up this interview.

GVK: How did the idea for the game come about and what can you tell us about what has changed since you obtained the game from Perpetual?

Far Cry 2 Review
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
In Far Cry 2, the new first person shooter from Ubisoft players get immersed into an open world environment that is utterly beautiful as it is deadly.

As the game opens, players select the character they wish to play and are treated to a lavish visual presentation that sets up the game. It is learned that the player has been sent in to kill an individual who has been setting up war in the region by supplying weapons. No sooner does the player arrive when he realizes something is not right, as Malaria leaves them wracked and helpless, as their target gloats over them.

Video Game Safety Rules (for Parents)
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Parents are always concerned about the well being of their offspring. Video games and the internet are good as well as bad. In order for gaming and the internet to be positive experiences you need to set rules that will protect your child and take certain steps to ensure your child is safe.

As a concerned parent:

Parent’s Guidelines for Video Games
Saturday, November 22, 2008
When you cannot beat the system it is best to join it in a “safe” way. Parents can educate themselves on the varied aspects of video gaming by reading articles and tips on the World Wide Web. They can with knowledge make every effort to ensure that their kids receive a rounded upbringing.

2008 Holiday ANTI-Shopping Guide: 15 Products to AVOID!
Friday, November 21, 2008
This anti-guide is targeted to a wide range of people. Some are parents who are out of touch with their teenagers (and twenty-somethings). Others are grandparents who think the latest trend-knockoff on QVC would make a perfect gift. Some are girlfriends who just don’t know what their technology-enabled boyfriend would want.

Since the economy isn’t doing so hot, then why spend money on crap that will find its way to a landfill? Here are some of the things that should be avoided at all costs this holiday season.

Check out OCmodshop’s Facebook page!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
That’s right, OCmodshop now has a Facebook page. If you’re already on Facebook, then become a member and you’ll get all the latest updates, right from Facebook as they happen. Meet other modders and gamers, post videos, and socialize!

OCmodshop would be nothing without you… so why not meet the others that make this site possible?

iLogic 1GB Flash Drive Review
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I was standing in line at a department store the other day waiting to check out. They stick such cool stuff right there at the check out counter don’t they? Magazines devoted to the inner lives of celebrities we’ll never meet and I don’t care about, Hannah Montana suckers and toys so that your kids throw a fit, and 99 cent bags of chips. Oh, and those lovely little energy shots. As I’m eyeballing it all trying to figure out what to blow my money on, I saw a flash drive. It was a little flat black 1GB made by iLogic. It was only $9.92, so I snatched it up. Why do they do that? Why not just make it a full $10.00? Oh well, that’s a rant better reserved for the blog I guess.

So I get home with this little goober and spend ten minutes trying to pry it out of that ridiculous blister packaging. I finally got it out and looked it over. Nothing special, just a little gig flash drive with iLogic written in white down the side. I know what you’re thinking; why only a 1GB? Because it was there, that’s why. They didn’t have any 4GB or 8GB sitting there. Just this one. That’s why.

Futurama: Bender’s Game DVD
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The third of the straight to DVD Futurama movies, “Futurama: Bender’s Game” has arrived and continues the winning formula of the television series and two previous films.

This time the film starts out as a standard episode rather than continue the events of the past film. In true Futurama style, there are references to past characters and pop culture gags throughout. The early focus of the story is on the Dark Matter fuel shortage that is controlled by the greedy Mom and her corporation. Mom insists that prices are way up so she has to charge more for the precious starship fuel, but avoids any questions related to her record profits related to the ever rising fuel prices.

Quantum of Solace Preview from Garrett Young
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Recently I got the chance to speak with Garrett Young, Executive Producer on Bond team at Treyarch about the new James Bond game Quantum of Solace. I want to thank Garrett as well as Kelvin Liu for taking the time for the interview.

OCMS: What is the background and setting for the game and how closely does it follow the film?

GY: Our game follows both the stories of Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale. We got the QoS script very early — over a year ago — we visited the set four times, and got thousands of photos and dozens of hours of video from the set. We were really fortunate that they did such a great job of supporting us with reference and assets necessary to create an authentic experience.

X-oom Media Center for Wii XE Review
Monday, November 10, 2008
Digital videos and photos are no longer in the realm of the geek. Nowadays even the average person has a large collection of digital music, movies,and videos… and these are usually located on the family computer. What if you want to watch your movies or share your latest vacation photos in your living room? Not everyone has a fancy media server or Media Center PC (in addition to the Media Center Extenders). So, what do you do?

The Wii is one of the most popular consoles today, partially due to its very inexpensive price point. If you have one of these small electronic units, then you can easily transform it into a central entertainment device. With X-oom’s Media Center Extender for Wii XE, you can view photo slideshows, listen to internet radio and MP3s, watch YouTube, and watch pre-recorded movies and TV shows in just about any popular format.

Gears of War 2 Review
Sunday, November 09, 2008
The original Gears of War introduced a new style of shooter gameplay that hasn’t been seen before. The use of cover as a primary strategy medium provided very satisfying gameplay, and analysts have compared it with the same exhileration as playing paintball in the real world.

When Epic announced Gears of War 2, everyone was wondering how they could possibly top the amazing innovations they’ve already accomplished. The answer is both simple and complex. It’s like baking a cake. If you have an award-winning recipe you don’t change it, but if you want to top yourself you make more layers, and make them bigger. Gears of War 2 definately tops itself. Read on to find out why:

TV Viewing Without the TV Set
Saturday, November 08, 2008
If something is on the Tube when we’re home…we watch it. If the time isn’t right…we miss it. Big deal! Sure we could ask the kid to program the DVR but we’re not stooping to that level. Fortunately, there’s no need.

Most of the TV content you want to watch is already available on the Web…just find it, watch it.

Microsoft’s Gears of War 2 Release Party
Friday, November 07, 2008
Seattle is known for two things: Rain, Coffee, and Microsoft. Well, that’s three things, but two of Seattle’s icons were out for the Gears of War 2 Release party in Bellevue, Washington. The Best Buy in Bellevue is just a stone’s throw from Microsoft’s Redmond campus, and was host to their previous Halo 3 launch party, which attracted national media like G4TV.

Seattle is known for its rainy days, but Thursday night was particularly wet, and hundreds of local Seattlites stood in line and braved the water for their chance to play the highly anticipated Gears of War 2. Since this was a Microsoft launch event, the developers and writers of the game were also there to meet the fans.

Spiderman: Web of Shadows (Multi-Platform Review)
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Much like their cinematic counterparts, super hero based video games have always been a hit or miss proposition. Far too often legions of dedicated fans have been presented with games that despite the great intentions of the designers, fail to capture the spirit and action of their pen and ink counterparts. With the recent success of “Iron Man”, “The Incredible Hulk”, and “The Dark Knight”, at theaters the world over, and more celluloid adventures on the way, gamers eagerly looked at the pending super hero game releases with renewed anticipation.

Dead Space Walkthrough
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Okay, to be honest, this game is pretty awesome and as solid as I was hoping it would be. Of course my expectations were high coming into it, but they soon fell when I realized how this game would run.

Yes, this game and RE4 do the same things: fetch keys to advance, fight a big monster here and there, fight a boss every now and then, and the story is a weak element. Seriously, I thought the story in this game was going strong until they started trying to explain things.

You want to bring back WHAT?!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Like most gamers, I have been keeping track of the Nintendo Wii. It came out with a few games to give even the most mundane gamer a hard-on for motion activated gaming, then added a few hundred more when it became a bigger success than the first test run of the Manchurian program. Now everyone and their grandmother (literally) is logging away the hours in front of their flatscreen televisions playing tennis against a cartoon character with a large moustache.

Midnight Club Los Angeles Review
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I am not normally one for driving and racing simulators as they have never held my attention long term. There are exceptions of course such as the Grand Theft Auto series, and Mario Kart but I refer to the Nascar and street racing style games that are so popular and prolific. Upon my first play of Rockstar Games new Midnight Club Los Angeles, I knew that this was not going to be your typical racing game. First off the 100 + song soundtrack as well as the great customization tools really let me customize the game to my preferences.

Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 X2 Video Card Review
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
OH. MY. GOD. That was my initial reaction when looking upon the new Sapphire HD 4850 X2 video card.

nVidia and ATI are constantly feuding. These bitter PR battles have resulted in a new more powerful video cards every six months or so. This is both good news and bad news for PC gaming enthusiasts. On one hand, prices are kept in check because of the fierce competition. On the other hand, performance increases so frequently that your shiny new card is obsoleted very quickly.

As soon as one manufacturer releases the new King of Performance, then the other regroups and develops a product to dethrone its competition. ATI was not sittting idly by during the latest generation of video products. nVidia’s GeForce GTX 280 video card is one of the top performing (and most expensive) video cards, so ATI unleashed their 4870 X2 card to defeat it.

Wrath of El Pato: Lost Odyssey and Bad Gaming
Sunday, November 02, 2008
So I finished Lost Odyssey. Well, slaved away to the end would be more accurate. As much of an advocator of storytelling in video games that I am, this is the first time where I think they could have dumped the story of LO in exchange for something more…well playable.

Let’s get things straight, I love the ATB system. As far as turn based RPGs go it creates a good adrenaline rush in between the chaos that isn’t the “We hit you, now you hit us” fest. I don’t mind turn based games. Old school RPGs are a rarity nowadays. I welcome them but, some games do it right, and some don’t. LO doesn’t do it right, in fact, it fails miserably.

Interview with Champions Online’s Randy Mosiondz
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Recently I had the chance to speak with Randy Mosiondz, lead designer for Champions Online about the pending Super Hero MMOPG that looks to be a true classic.

OCMS: What is the background and setting of the game?

RM: Champions Online is based on pen-and-power super-hero roleplaying game that’s been around since the early 80’s. The setting is based in a modern-day. Super powers started coming into existence in the 1940s which gave rise to a number of powerful super-heroes and super-villains. The most prominent of the villains is Dr. Destroyer, a malevolent genius whose most infamous superweapon decimated the city of Detroit in the 90’s. The Champions are one of the most famous superteams who rose up to fight against the rise of super-villains.