Friday, August 31, 2012

You Shall Not Pass!!

Hello my pretties!! It's been quite a while since I've posted anything, due to laptop death issues, but fear not! This article will hopefully tickle your innards! In the least creepy way possible! ;D

We all remember back-in-the-day when the first Lego: Star Wars(2005) was released, and it was quite popular considering Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was released months before!

In 2006, Lucasarts decided to release Lego: Star Wars 2, the Original Trilogy.

Then had the Brilliant idea, of releasing Lego Star Wars Complete Saga in 2007

(Just to save you time and space) These then lead to them creating (sorted by year released)

And the one we waited to patiently for!! 

Lego: Lord of the Rings!

Now I havent had a chance to play this game, but from my knowledge of lego games, it is going to be very well put together, I personally love all the Lego games, because you dont have to re-learn the controls. However the cut-scenes look drastically different in the Cinematic P.O.V. I cannot wait to purchase this game.

Normally, Lego console games do not have actual words that come out of the characters mouths, mainly just gestures and grunts.

But according to my LOTR knowledge, which is actually close to nothing, they are using actual lines from the film, which is pretty cool to me.

If you haven't seen the trailer for it yet, here it is!
However, they always have to throw their creative sense of humor in there.

Adam McMillin
Streamer-Worker Bee

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Skyrim DLC: Hearthfire (Another DLC so soon?)

I'm still trying to think to myself after watching the trailer that was released on the web today. Is this really another DLC? It really only seems like something that should be in a big update! In the new DLC for Skyrim you actually can build your own house. As if we haven't had enough chances to make Batcaves and Assassin's lairs already! They are giving us a chance to make our own house! Then not only are they just doing that but you can adopt kids in the game as well and raise a family (Sims much?). I'm not sure exactly wither I'm excited for this or not. I don't know exactly to much about the DLC other then just watching the trailer and that it's actually being released VERY soon. September 5th to be exact. And yes again this is only going to be on the Xbox for awhile. So PS3 and PC users of Skyrim you'll have to wait, yet again, while us Xbox players play Skyrim: The Sims.

Harrison Deao
Co-Founder and Streamer

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance Review

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      Over ten years ago Square Enix and Disney brought us a combination of characters from two different series and put them into one game. Some found the combination weird and stupid, while others were blown away by how well these characters were brought together and thrown into a massively intriguing story that has since then left a place in our heart. The game that was brought to us over ten years ago was Kingdom Hearts and since then nine games have been released for the series and the series has been critically acclaimed as one the strongest series in gaming. Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance was just released for the Nintendo3DS and I choose to take a gamble with playing a handheld Kingdom Hearts game again, even after some disappointing experiences on handheld versions I took the gamble and now I will be sharing my experience of it with you.
     Dream Drop Distance begins with Yen Sid sending Sora and Riku through a Mark of Mastery Exam to become Keyblade Masters in order for them to handle what is coming. To pass the exam Sora and Riku must reawaken seven worlds that have been destroyed by the heartless, but have been restored and are now in a deep sleep. In the story you will visit some classic Kingdom Hearts worlds such as Traverse Town and Tron, but you will also visit some new worlds such as Hunchback of Notre-Dame and the Three Musketeers. To me personally with the worlds you visit I felt that Square Enix did a fantastic job putting these world into a handheld format. Even though you will be returning to known worlds they've expanded them by adding new zones and bosses that have never before been seen in the series. For the brand new worlds I felt very excited take part in playing through these worlds as both Sora and Riku. While Sora and Riku don't fight side by side in these worlds you take turns going back and forth between characters playing out the story of each world. The story at time does become confusing and hard to follow, but then again so does every single game in the franchise. To help refresh your memory of the story the game offers moments where you can read about the events of past games when a particular game is mentioned in the story.
     One particular aspect of the story I very much enjoyed was the ending of the game (NO SPOILERS ARE BEING GIVEN) due to the fact that it takes a different road as to how it ends then the past games. Overall I very much enjoyed the story and it left me craving to play Kingdom Hearts 3.     
     One of the key aspects of Kingdom Hearts was the mechanics of the game. This included the combat system, the controller layout, and the menu layout during combat. Dream Drop Distance kept the standard combat menu that was seen in past handheld games, but this one felt more solid than the last ones did. I don't know if it was me getting used to the layout of the 3DS or what but I enjoyed the on screen setup. The combat and movement to me hasn't felt this solid in a handheld Kingdom Hearts since Chain of Memories. The use of the joystick, right hand buttons, and bumpers felt remarkably like a console controller. The complaint I did have with the controller layout was when changing spells or abilities with the directional pad it left me standing still during combat due to the fact of my thumb being used for the joystick and directional pad. I unfortunately did not get the chance to use to circle pad pro so I can't give any insight as to how it works with the game.
           One that that has changed in Dream Drop Distance is that instead of fighting the heartless you face a new enemy known as dream eaters. The change of enemies is due to the fact that the worlds are stuck in the state of sleep. While you are these dream eaters you can create your own versions known as spirits to be your companions. As you travel through the worlds you collect items and recipes that can be used to create bigger and more powerful spirits. You can purchase these items from the vendors or simply find them in chests or as drops off enemies. Some of these items are much more rare and harder to find than others, but with them you can build a pretty powerful group to along side you.

     Combat for Dream Drop Distance is set up both similar and different than past games of the franchise. When fighting as Sora or Riku you have an action bar that holds special abilities and items that are available at any time, except during the cool down timer of each ability. You fill the slots with potions, items, and combat maneuvers. The variety of maneuvers is a great addition to the combat of the game. With these maneuvers you can mix them together with the newest addition to the combat system of the game, free flow.
Free flow is a movement option where you can go into a gliding state and grab onto environment pieces and glide across sections of the world and even throw yourself into a combat move against enemies. I was a bit worried at first about how this would work out for the game, but I have to admit it was an awesome mechanic that made the game that much more enjoyable for me.
     One last mechanic I wanted to talk about from the game is called drop gauge. In order for the game to balanced with you playing as both Riku and Sora they added a drop gauge where you are under a time limit as one character and when the limit was reached no matter what you were doing you would switch characters. They are ways to avoid this like buying a potion called "drop me not" and as you took it the timer would add time to play. I think this addition was a good to keep people from not playing just one character the entire time, but it did become frustrating when you were fighting off a mob of enemies or in the middle of an intense boss fight. 

     One thing I always look for especially in a Kingdom Hearts game is the sound and music. Kingdom Hearts games have always been known for some fantastic music pieces that set the atmosphere of the game very well. True a lot of the music is generally disney music based on what world you are in, but I always do my best to pay attention to the music that isn’t disney. Dream Drop Distance has some classic returning songs from the franchise and a couple of new additions to the music portion. The music like always seems to set the tone and atmosphere of the game so well. As you can probably tell I wasn’t dissapointed by the sound department and even with listening to it through the 3DS speakers it came out fantastically.

     Overall Dream Drop Distance is a game that brought back memories of discovering the game series for the first time as a kid and just having fun. The story kept my attention so much that at the closing moments of the game I was craving Kingdom Hearts 3 more than ever. It was announced as well that this was the final installment of the series before the long awaited Kingdom Hearts 3 is released. The mechanics felt like something I never would have imagined for a handheld installment of the franchise, even with the new additions I enjoyed it very much. And last but not least the music once again grabbed my attention and left me wanting to put all the songs on my mp3 player. Overall Dream Drop Distance left me very much satisfied and actually wanting to play through it again on a harder difficutly. This game once again showed me why this game series has a place in my heart and why I’m looking forward to the long awaited Kingdom Hearts 3.

Cameron Deao

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Uncharted Movie Gets A Change of Writers

It's that time once again to hear about directors taking themselves out of a video game movie project and new writers being brought into the scene. For a couple years we've heard and seen some rumors floating about details regarding the Uncharted: Drakes Fortune movie. Once again like all game movies not every rumor turns out to be true by any means, but yesterday we did get some news regarding the director and writers of the movie. 

Originally director Neil Burger was planning to lead production of the movie after the script was written. Neil Burger has made his mark with movies such as Limitless, The Lucky Ones, and The Illusionist. Yesterday it was announced that the director is no longer part of the project. No specific reasons were stated as to why he is no longer part of the project.

Along with the news of the director change new writers have been brought in to complete the script. Marianne and Cormac Wibberley have been brought in to lead the rewrite of the movie. The duo is best known for its work on National Treasure, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, and Bad Boys 2. Hopefully the duo can find a way to transfer the fantastic action game of treasure hunting and secrets into the movie format. 

Cameron Deao

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Nintendo Power Getting Shutdown

For 24 years gamer's around the world have been subscribed to a cult classic magazine that offered the latest news on all things related to Nintendo. Kids remember having their Mom's get on them for leaving the magazines piled up around the house and always waiting for the next issue to be in the mailbox. 

 Today it was announced that Nintendo had chosen not to renew its licensing agreement with Future Publishing for Nintendo Power. It was also noted that Nintendo does not plan to take over the publication of the magazine on it's own either. According to Nintendo they stated that Future Publishing was "difficult to work with" and Nintendo has taken no interest with working with Future to expand and strengthen Nintendo Power. 

The magazines staff and editors were told about the magazines shutdown last week and since then have been in the process of transferring to work on other Future properties such as GamesRadar and MacLife magazine. It was also noted that the shutdown will not affect another other properties tied with Future. 

Nintendo Power released over 280 magazines to fans around the world and currently has 475,000 monthly readers. It wasn't stated as to what issue number would be the final publication for Nintendo Power. Fans around the world be sure to keep an eye out for the last publication of a classic magazine that paved the way for gaming magazines around the world. 

Nintendo Power 

Cameron Deao 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Why Valve Is Such A Smart Company

Today after hearing news about Facebook's stock prices and the over evaluation of the companies worth I began thinking about what companies handle business right and wrong. I looked up how bad the evaluation of Facebook's stock was and found out that the CEO Mark Zuckerberg approved the company evaluation at $38 a share. Since then the stock has dropped too $19. After seeing this and hearing all the arguments as to what happened and why it happened I began thinking of what companies I would put financial trust in, and the one that came to mind was Valve.

Some of the main reasons why I would put absolute financial trust in company would be fact that Steam has 400 million individual users signed up. Not many services have that many individual people using the service and millions of daily active users. Valve is a company that has taken the suggestions and comments of how to improve Steam for the users and put those suggestions in place. Within the next few weeks Valve will be using Steam to distribute software other than gaming for users around the world. The website is also expanding to make it much easier to navigate and find all topics and options available for each individual game by easier access to forums, workshop creations, and more. It's been rumored and hoped that perhaps Gabe Newell would lead Valve into developing it's own operating system for PC users to have as an alternative to Windows. While the rumors have not been proven true about and operating system I would feel absolutely confident and willing to use it considering Gabe Newell knows how to make the PC experience the best it can, and this is due to the fact that Gabe worked for Microsoft for over 13 years before leaving and founding Valve with Mike Harrington.

After thinking and looking up all the facts I decided to look up if Valve sells stock and how much a share could cost. I discovered that Valve hasn't gone public and sold stock for investors to buy. I have to admit at first I was a bit surprised considering how reliable of a company Valve is, but after reading why they aren't public I see why Valve has gone above and beyond everyone's expectations. In 2010 Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson addressed the media as to why they won't be going public and selling stock. They're reasoning was because if investors come into the decision making process they would have to satisfy the investors who are a completely different kind of customer, compared the customer who enjoys Valve for their games and Steam service. Investors would begin to invest in the company because of the fantastic reputation it has and they would have no idea why it's so fantastic due to the fact they aren't users or gamer's. After reading about this my respect for Valve shot through the roof! It's reasons like this that I will continue to use Steam on my own computer and recommend it to all friends and viewers and hope to perhaps if I make into the game development career to land a job at Valve. 

Everyone raves about how fantastic companies like Facebook and Apple are and I absolutely disagree. I say the most inspirational in business model and the most fantastic company is Valve. Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington have created one the best companies in this day and age. 

That is my rant as to why I have so much respect for the company Valve. If you agree or have an opinion please leave a comment letting us know your opinion.

Cameron Deao

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Steam To Start Selling Non-Game Software

Recently it has been leaked through the Steam phone application that the distribution website will possibly be distributing more than just games in the near future. It was seen in the application under genres in such categories as accounting, animation and modeling, audio production, design & illustration, education, photo editing, software training, utilities, video production, and web publishing. Just with the leaked image rumors from every corner of the internet have come out talking about what specific software could possibly be coming to Steam. 

Now Steam has come out and stated that they will be a supplier for software aside from gaming. On September 5th you'll be able to start picking up some new programs, but no statement or list has been made as to what programs will be available on day one. Valve's Mark Richardson stated that "The 40 million gamers frequenting Steam are interested in more than playing games. They have told us they would like to have more of their software on Steam, so this expansion is in response to those customer requests." Hearing a statement like this from a Valve employee brings a lot of excitement to customers due to the fact that this shows that Valve wants to create the best experience for PC users, and listens to everything that is fans and customers say.

We'll keep you updated with what software is made available once it's been announced. What kind of programs do you want to see made available through Steam?

Cameron Deao

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

id Software focuses on Doom 4 after closing mobile operations

During all the tournaments and chaos of Quakecon 2012 co-founder of id Software John Carmack confirmed to the public that the company has closed its mobile operations to focus on Doom 4. This announcement came from his keynote speech at this years convention and he stated in the speech "We did make the decision to close up our mobile development, which saddens me a lot, in that I love doing the mobile work, but we had some developers on there that we wanted to bring on to the Doom 4 project."

Carmack later revealed that they are sitting on an iOS project, but has since then given no details regarding the project he referenced. No news was also given from id regarding a release date for Doom 4 or when they plan to have the game finished, John Carmack stated that the project "will be done when it's done" he also stated that "every decade there will be a new Doom, but hopefully we can do better than that."

All this news about Doom 4 is fantastic considering the last entry into the franchise with Doom 3 was released back in August of 2004. Hopefully we will be getting some more news regarding Doom 4 in the near future, but knowing Carmack and id they won't be showing or announcing anything about their game until it's set to liking. id has been very known for having a long development time between games, but the pay off for id and gamer's has always been through the roof!

Cameron Deao

Friday, August 3, 2012

World of Warcraft Movie Script Getting A Re-Write

In the past couple months rumors and stories have been coming out regarding Legendary Pictures and the game movies that are supposedly in the early production stages. Last month it was said that the production company was past the stages of writing a script for a Mass Effect movie based around the events of the first game, now its being said that the script for the World of Warcraft movie will be re-written. 

The last we heard about the World of Warcraft movie was that movie director Sam Raimi (who is best known for his directing of Spider-Man and Evil Dead) has stepped down from being the director of the movie due to his busy schedule conflicting with Legendary's need to move forward. No news has been stated or rumored as to who Legendary seeks to get as the new director of the movie.

Regarding the script of the movie originally the writer was Robert Rodat who was best known for his writing of Saving Private Ryan, now he's stepped down and moved on to work on writing Thor: The Dark World. To take his place for re-writing the script Legendary has brought in Charles Leavitt who brought us Blood Diamond and K-PAX.

Not much else has been said regarding the status of the World of Warcraft movie. Whether or not this movie has a future in production is still to be seen, but I can imagine fans are losing hope in the movie considering its been rumored and stated that the movie was in production over the past few years. Will this movie ever be completed and ready for the box office? Only time will tell.

Cameron Deao