Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ono's Next Game is Approved

Recently, SF4 Producer Yoshinori Ono posted on his Twitter account that he was pitching a new project idea to Keiji Inafune, Capcom's Global Head of Production. The pitch was approved, ostensibly meaning that Ono will get to produce the new game. I asked Ono via Twitter if this meant that he would be making a new Darkstalkers game. His response:

I'm left speechless yet..... Shhhh.

That, as far as I'm concerned, is confirmation!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

NBA Jam Cover Story at 1UP

Check it out at Higlights below.

Proof of concept image created by EA

Tim Kitzrow at E3 2010

EVO 2010 Stream Schedule

Finals are Sunday July 11 as follows:

10am-12pm Melty Blood: Actress Again
12pm-2pm Marvel vs. Capcom 2
2pm-4pm Tatsunoko vs. Capcom
4pm-4:30pm SSFIV Women’s Invitational
4:30-6pm Super SFII HD Remix
6pm-8pm Tekken 6
8pm-9pm Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Exhibition
9pm-11pm SSFIV

All times are Pacific and are subject to change.
Full schedule at

Monday, June 28, 2010

Street Fighter III: 4th Strike (Hack)

Introducing the sequel to 3rd Strike... Well, not really. This is a hacked version of 3rd Strike, similar to the old "Rainbow Edition" SF2 hack. I really like how some characters get 2nd Impact moves restored, like Ibuki's Hashin Sho and Sean's two-part Dragon Smash. This is from Youtube user RVNSan, but I can't find a proper website or download for this.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Gaming's Most Famous Announcer

Recognize this man?

This is the voice of the classic and upcoming NBA Jam games, Tim Kitzrow. I dug up this interview from IGN64, circa 2000. It has a lot of interesting info, including how he got started in the industry, how he got screwed by Marv Albert, five occurrences of "Kukoc," and his connection to Thurston Howell III.

Check out the interview at IGN.

Plants vs Zombies End Theme Live

If you haven't played Plants vs Zombies, there's something wrong with you. Also, you might not recognize this little ditty sung by the game's composer (and voice of the sunflower) Laura Shigihara, with zombie voices by the game's creator George Fan.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

EVO 2010 Perks - PLAYABLE MvC3!

Want to play Marvel vs Capcom 3? 'Course ya do! All you have to do is go to EVO 2010 at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas July 9-11. Capcom will have the game playable by the general public, for free!

In addition, MadCatz will be giving away custom golden TE FightSticks. Again, all you have to do to get one is go to EVO 2010*.

*and place in the Top 8 in the Super Street Fighter 4 tournament

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Shinkiro MvC3 Art

Used for the Capcom's E3 giveaway t-shirts (click for full size):

The Sound Test

I admit that I like game music more than most people. For me, it conjures up a sense of nostalgia; it helps me relive the feeling of playing the game, usually while I'm making the otherwise dreadful commute to work. Rarely do I enjoy listening to soundtracks for games I haven't played; however, thanks to a podcast called The Sound Test, this is changing.

The Sound Test, hosted by's Ray Barnholt, highlights the best of game music both new and old. Often, you will hear amazing tracks from obscure or overlooked games, mixed with just the right amount of more familiar music. For example, the most recent episode — which I believe is the best yet — pairs the bombastic a capella of The Neverhood with the mellow trance of Rez. If you have any interest in game music at all, I urge you to check it out.

The Sound Test Homepage

6/20/2010 Episode (MP3)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Attention iPhone Users

Any device running iOS4 (formerly known as iPhone OS), can now collect usage data and send it to Apple as per their new privacy policy. To opt-out, visit on your iOS device. Knowing, as they say, is half the battle.

Crying Fowl

Angry Birds is coming to Android!

I recently picked up an Android phone to replace my aging 2G iPhone. I didn't get rid of my iPhone, though, and the sole reason was to continue playing Angry Birds. By now, most people have heard of the game -- it has been the #1 game on the iTunes App Store for a while now. The developer also releases frequent (free!) updates that add new levels that challenge you to utilize your birds in different ways. If you have an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad and haven't played it, you should download it (for just 99 cents) immediately. It's such a simple game, but somehow has a nice degree of depth, along with a charming presentation. Taking it to the evil pigs with your diverse assortment of birds just feels great, especially when you topple them in a single shot.

Soon, Angry Birds will see an Android release, and I'll be able to get rid of my old iPhone once and for all... except for that Monkey Island 2: Special Edition remake that's on the way.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What I've Been Playing

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

I'm a huge fan of the Metal Gear series, even though I recognize its occasional flaws. MGS2's setting, the Big Shell, was very boring to navigate; all the areas looked the same and the colors were often drab browns and grays. MGS4 was way too story-heavy to the point of muddling the mythos in unsatisfying ways. Portable Ops often became tedious with the need to drag soldiers across the map for recovery. Peace Walker is like a refined Portable Ops, and it makes building your army fun.

Peace Walker, like Portable Ops, tasks the player with recruiting an ever-growing army. Recruiting enemy soldiers is now performed by using an item, the Fulton Recovery Device, that extracts them immediately from the battlefield. The Wi-Fi recruitment has been improved as well. Whereas Portable Ops had you mash a button in the presence of a Wi-Fi hotspot, Peace Walker allows you to perform a quick scan before launching into a CQC battle. The best part is that you can start or retry the battle even after leaving the Wi-Fi area. These improvements over its immediate predecessor are only part of what makes Peace Walker so fun.

The game is broken down into short missions suitable for portable gaming sessions. Each mission can be completed in a few minutes. As in the console Metal Gear games, you earn ranks and rewards for beating these missions without being seen or killing any guards. Instead of having to play through the entire campaign in such a way, you can simply go back to each mission and perfect just that one section. I've earned S-rank on most of the missions I've been through, which was definitely a welcome challenge. Now I just need to earn those S-ranks in Co-ops mode.

Co-ops mode is a first for Metal Gear. Almost all of the missions can be played cooperatively with two to four players. Having co-op allows for some new (to MGS) strategies, like having one player distract a guard while the other sneaks up behind him. Also, the bosses are really not meant to be played in single-player. Co-op helps to even the odds against tanks, helicopters, and mechs the size of small cities.

Though the missions are classic Metal Gear stealth-action, these boss battles are all-out, running-and-rocket-launching action -- think Metal Gear Rex or Metal Gear Ray. There isn't just one such end-boss battle, though. The game is loaded with military vehicles and AI monstrosities to take out. Performing well enough will capture these enemy mechs to use in your own Outer Ops missions.

Outer ops is a mode that I initially overlooked when I began playing the game. This is a sort of basic strategy game that has you deploying your troops and captured mechs to take part in various skirmishes. It happens concurrently with your normal missions. You create teams and send them on missions against enemy teams. After your next main-game mission, you get the results of your Outer Ops. It's an interesting addition to the main gameplay, and it earns you all sorts of extra items and abilities.

All of the weapons and items you can develop ensure that you can keep playing the game for a very long time. Weapons R&D requires that you complete certain objectives, as well as hone the teams in your army to be able to research and to finance new developments. In order to earn all of the game's "achievements," you've got to complete development of all weapons, S-rank all missions, and then do the same in Co-Ops. I've been playing for a week now non-stop, and I've only just scratched the surface.

So, who wants to play Co-ops with me? As an incentive, I'm running out of room in my base, and I've got a few good men willing to fight for you.

Every 3DS Screenshot

Joystiq has every 3DS screenshot available cataloged here.

Did I mention a new Mario Kart? Also, I'm really excited about Dead or Alive. The screenshots make it look like a remake of DOA2, which everyone knows is the best DOA. I wouldn't mind having an excuse to play that again, as well as Ocarina of Time and Starfox 64.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mortal Kombat Gameplay Demo

Looking good!

SSF4 Combo Video

By Desk, aka biffotasty on YouTube. Standouts include kara armor-cancel shenanigans, a 38-hit Juri Feng Shui Engine combo, and a Dudley Machine Gun Blow loop.

Deadpool's Shoryuken

Why Deadpool has a Shoryuken as his MvC3 launcher, from Deadpool #27:

Calendar Added!

In the right bar, I added "The Video Game Calendar." It's a Google Calendar that I've kept up for personal use, just to keep track of game releases and events. If you scroll around in it, you'll see several months worth of stuff. You can add all of the content to your own Google Calendar by hitting the little "+ Google Calendar" icon in the lower right. If there's dates I should add, let me know in the comments.

MvC3 System Mechanics

Great video based on E3 2010 build by striderzer0:

E3 2010 Roundup - Part 4

Necromachina (trailer)

I almost forgot about this game. Formerly known as Moon Diver, it is being published on XBLA and PSN by Square Enix. Kouichi Yotsoi, director of Strider, is directing this game. It has 4-player co-op and 2.5D graphics. It is said to play like a 4-player, modern Strider.

E3 2010 Roundup - Part 3

Metal Gear Solid: Rising (trailer)

Not too much is known about this game yet. We do know that you play as Raiden and can use a sword to cut enemies, objects, and environments at any angle of your choosing. The production team is comprised of a different group of Kojima's staff than those headed up MGS4. The producer mentioned a system whereby slicing apart enemies and taking parts from them would give you some sort of energy or enhancements. There's still a lot to learn about this game.

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (trailer)

Miyamoto had some difficulty demoing this on stage at Nintendo's press conference. There was supposedly wireless interference due to all the electronic devices being used in the audience. Reportedly, the game worked great in private demos. The main conceit of the game is that you hold your sword and shield (Wii Remote and Nunchuck) in a sort of proper stance throughout the game. The enemies and puzzles will require you to strike and block at particular angles, based on visual cues. It seems to shake up the Zelda formula that's been getting stale lately, but it might not be completely revolutionary. Time will tell.

Sony Loves 3D

Sony's main focus was on 3D games. PS3 supports 3D already, as do some games like Wipeout HD and Super Stardust HD. Tons of upcoming games, including Mortal Kombat will support HD, and Killzone is the showcase 3D game. The only requirements are a new, expensive television; new, expensive glasses for each viewer; and a tolerance of dimmer, potentially uncomfortable viewing experiences. Is the novelty worth it?

Mortal Kombat (trailer)

This game looks incredible, and according to Giant Bomb, it runs at 120fps (60fps in 3D) in its current build. MK looks to reinvigorate the franchise, just as SF4 did by employing 3D graphics with classic 2D gameplay. Fatalities are back, and no characters from later than UMK3 are returning. The combo system looks more akin to MK2 than MK3. The game now has a sort of super meter that adds some new depth to the fighting system. The 3-part meter enables EX-style attacks for 1 bar, a combo breaker for 2 bars, and a devastating X-ray attack for 3 bars. I honestly can't wait to get to play this one. I hope Ed Boon brings this to show off at EVO.

E3 2010 Roundup - Part 2


I need to mention this, even though there is no price point or any real killer app announced yet. Microsoft's motion control solution, formerly known as Project Natal, shows incredible promise and a great degree of precision. Harmonix's Dance Central seems to be the most impressive showpiece for the technology. Ubisoft's Your Shape, though not something I'd likely use, seems to really use Kinect in really smart ways. The thing that worries me most about Kinect, however is input lag. The system seems to introduce lag while processing motion as input, not to mention the ever-present problem of HDTV input lag.

Hard Corps: Uprising

Though the title doesn't mention it, this is a Contra game. Not only is it a Contra game, but the main characters are all 2D sprites, although there are 2.5D elements to the game. The game is being developed by Arc System Works, the makers of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue. If you are familiar with these games, then you understand how gorgeous the 2D sprites are in this Hard Corps: Uprising. Fun fact: the protagonist of this game is the enemy from the Genesis game, Contra: Hard Corps.

Child of Eden (video)

This is Tetsuya Mizuguchi's new game. The creator of Space Channel 5, Lumines, and Rez is making a multi-platform spiritual successor to Rez. It supports Kinect and standard controllers on the Xbox 360. I'd assume that it will support Move on the PS3. Motion controls could be fun, but I think standard control will be necessary for prolonged sessions. Having played many, many hours of Rez, I'm just glad to be getting more of this type of game.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (video)

A 3D Castlevania game that might actually be good. David Cox, the game's producer, seems to be treating the franchise with the reverence it deserves. It seems to have combat similar to God of War, but with more Castelvania-style enemies. There are large bosses that have to be traversed and have big runic weak spots, like in Shadow of the Colossus. Hideo Kojima is overseeing the project, which should reassure fans of good games (and worry those who hate long cut-scenes).

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (trailer)

A 2D Castlevania game, developed by Koji Igarashi, the man responsible for Symphony of the Night (and every other good Castlevania game). It's completely high-definition, 2D pixel-art. It's an XBLA game. It has 6-player online play, either cooperatively or competitively. Iga plans to support the game with downloadable areas and playable characters if the game sells well.

E3 2010 Roundup - Part 1

I've been to E3 a few times, but not for the past several years. I followed this year's convention from home, and here are the things that stood out to me:

Marvel vs Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds (Official YouTube Channel)

It's an all-new game, but it plays like a Marvel-ized update of Tatsunoko vs Capcom. TvC was an awesome game, but it just didn't attract enough players. Many blame the Wii, but I blame the cast. Most of the Tatsunoko characters are unfamiliar to players -- I'd never seen any of them before -- and 90% of them wear similar suits and helmets. Marvel characters solve that problem nicely. Also, the game is more colorful and fast-paced than the current mainstream sensation, Super Street Fighter 4. Will players flock to it like they did to SSF4? I hope so. A fighting game is only viable when there is a wide player base. I think MvC3 has what it takes to attract a huge audience.

The Nintendo 3DS

3D is a gimmick, and nobody likes it... except when the 3DS does it. When Iwata introduced the analog sliding switch to adjust the 3D effect, I knew that they'd struck gold. People perceive these 3D displays differently. That is one of the huge problems. With the adjustment, it allows everyone to fine-tune the effect to minimize their discomfort. Early reports are that it is amazing. Even assuming that the adjustment doesn't provide the desired 3D effect for everyone, it allows the user to switch off 3D completely.

Assuming the worst, that one finds the 3D effect intolerable, why get a 3DS? Well, the early 3DS demos show it capable of displaying PS2-level graphics. There's even a demo of Metal Gear Solid 3. Also, there are tons of great games on the way. Remakes of Ocarina of Time and Starfox 64, a new Kirby game that looks amazing, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, Professor Layton, Pilotwings, and even a reportedly-impressive version of DJ Hero. The PSP, which has no announced successor, is in trouble.

There is also a seemingly innocuous feature that might be a major hook in future games: the stealthy wi-fi connectivity. The hardware has a built-in sort of "Bark Mode" ala Nintendogs. You can have the system in a low-power sleep mode in your pocket/backpack/briefcase, and it will communicate with other systems nearby. It can trade information, pull down updates, or even obtain in-game items automatically. Since this is built into the hardware, one can assume that it is able to recognize all of the games you have installed or have save files for and update them accordingly. It doesn't sound like much, but it could be a major facet of the system's use as adoption inevitably increases.

News Age of Heroes

I've been a huge follower of video game industry news for as long as I can remember. It probably started with my first issue of the Nintendo Fun Club Newsletter in 1987. Years later, but before the Internet became mainstream, I'd spend hours in Borders, reading every gaming magazine on the shelves. Eventually, I made a habit of disseminating this news to my friends as quickly as I could. I created an XBAND account (called TheNews, if I remember correctly) as an early means of digital news distribution. I'd update the account profile with the latest info as often as I could.

In recent years, my hobby of following gaming news has eclipsed my actual playing of games. I spend most of my free time reading and reporting this news. Lately, my news updates have been primarily fighting-game-based and distributed to a small group of friends via an email list.

The email list seems to be serving its purpose, but it has its drawbacks. It is, of course, limited to just a handful of recipients. Also, some people have voiced their displeasure with the constant "spam" of updates. I am starting this blog as a way to avoid these problems. Want to check out what I have to say? Just come here at your leisure. Want to share my updates with others? Send them here. Want to comment without spamming everyone's inbox? You get the idea.