Blogs > Yay For Video Games

Random thoughts and news in the world of video games.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Square Enix announces DLC for Final Fantasy XIII-2

Just in time for the release of Final Fantasy XIII-2, Square Enix has announced downloadable content for the game on Xbox 360 and PS3.

Content includes Coliseum battles against enemies from previous Final Fantasy games, and can be recruited into the party when defeated. On Feb. 7, the Coliseum battle of Lightning and Master Sergeant Amodar will be released.

Other planned content includes episodes complementing the game's story.

Price and details of the DLC will be revealed at a later date.

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Final Fantasy XIII-2 review is up

Check out my review of Final Fantasy XIII-2, which is now available for the Xbox 360 and PS3, by clicking here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Watch Justin Verlander take a rookie to school in MLB 2K12 teaser trailer

Detroit Tiger fans are used to seeing Justin Verlander schooling batters all the time in real life. Now you can in the video game world.

2K Sports recently released a teaser trailer for their upcoming game, MLB 2K12, which features Verlander on the cover. Watch the trailer below. The game releases March 6.

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Nintendo to release 2D side-scrolling Mario title on 3DS next fiscal year

Nintendo confirmed not-so-shocking news this week that the WiiU will launch pretty much worldwide by the end of the year.

In its recent financial briefing report, we now know that Nintendo is planning to release a new Mario title on the 3DS, this one a 2D side-scroller (maybe a new addition to the New Super Mario Bros. franchise?). I wouldn't be surprised if this released by the time the holidays hit. It did the 3DS wonders when Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land released this past holiday.

Games sell systems, and in Nintendo's case, Mario sells systems. Along with Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land, Paper Mario and Mario Tennis are on tap for the 3DS. Don't forget about Mario's sometimes forgotten brother, Luigi. Luigi's Mansion's 2 will also be coming.

Nintendo has sold 15 million 3DS units worldwide, which like I've said before, is amazing after the lackluster launch it had. It's outpacing the Nintendo Wii, and more importantly the DS, which has sold 151 million worldwide, the best ever for a Nintendo handheld. And this is in the iPhone-dominated world we live in.

I have no doubt the 3DS will top 100 million units in its lifetime. But will it beat the DS? I had my doubts at first. But then the games started coming out, and it looks like people are buying them. The massive price drop also helped, too.

The DS set the bar really high for dedicated handhelds. So much that Nintendo may have had too high of expectations for the 3DS (they knocked down their sales forecast for this fiscal year from 16 million to 14 million). But the 3DS is selling again, and in dominating fashion. 150 million units? I will say "likely."

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nintendo launching WiiU by end of the year

Well, it's finally official. The next generation of consoles will kick off this year.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata told reporters Thursday that the successor to the popular Wii system, the WiiU, will launch by the end of the year in the United States, Japan, Europe and Australia.

This announcement comes after Nintendo slightly lowered sales forecasts for the fiscal year ending March 31, knocking down 3DS sales projections from 16 million to 14 million, and Wii sales from 12 million to 10 million. The 3DS projection drop isn't a big deal, as total worldwide sales for Nintendo's new handheld is at 15.03 million units. Not bad considering the horrendous start it received.

However, Wii sales so far this fiscal year are at 8.96 million units, a drop from 13.72 million units the year prior. Even though it's sold a whopping 94.97 million units worldwide, its sales are dropping and the games just aren't coming out for it anymore.

Nintendo's expecting a major loss at the end of the year for the first time in forever, which critics will jump on the doom and gloom train again. They'll ignore the part where Nintendo has billions in the bank from the DS and Wii successes, and the 3DS is killing it in sales, beating out DS's first-year totals. The same DS that's sold 151 million units worldwide.

Back to consoles, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the WiiU will debut this year. The Wii debuted in 2006 and if you follow the typical lifecycle of a console, it's coming to an end. The Xbox 360 has taken its sales glory as of late, and with all the rumors flying around about the new Xbox, Nintendo would no doubt love to get a head start in the next console race.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Take a journey through the world of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Minecraft

I have seen many creative worlds people have made in Minecraft, but this one takes the cake...for now anyway.

After months of, no doubt, very hard work, the team behind Hyrulecraft have created a 1:1 scale replica of the very popular Nintendo 64 classic, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Hey, someone had to do it, right?

They're not done, though. Plans are under way for quests, dungeons, guilds and other Minecraft fun. An alpha map is available to download to journey into this world.

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Quick thoughts on the Resident Evil: Revelations demo for the Nintendo 3DS

I just played the demo for Resident Evil: Revelations on the Nintendo 3DS and here are my thoughts:

The graphics look great, and since this is just the demo I expect them to look even better on the full product.

It took me a little bit to get used to the controls, which aren't hard at all to master. There are different control schemes, but I went with the default/Type A option. Using guns on enemies by holding the R button, aiming with the circle pad and shooting with the Y button is comfortable. Using the D-pad to switch guns and other items is a breeze. The Circle Pad Pro add-on is optional for this game, but the game controls just fine without it.

The touchscreen puzzle in the beginning of the demo is pretty easy. I'm curious to see what other puzzles will be in the full version.

A scanner item is used to scan fallen enemies and find hidden items like ammo and herbs. I'll no doubt be scanning every corner of this game to find every secret.

It's not a long demo and ends on a cliffhanger, no doubt to get you wanting more. Normal difficulty isn't too hard, but you unlock Hell difficulty when you beat Normal. As the name implies, Hell mode is crazy. I died at first enemy, neglecting to use my grenade. I liked how there were more enemies and different item placements, so it didn't feel like I was playing the same demo as Normal difficulty.

One interesting thing of note: There is a limited amount of plays this demo has - 30. Yes, you can only go into the demo 30 times before it locks you out. Some will wonder why the heck there's a limit. I can see the argument of people just playing the demo only, but that's stretching it. It's a pretty short demo with very basic gameplay. I have never played a demo for any game more than 5-10 times, so I can't imagine going to 30.

Another thing: On the 3DS home screen, it tells you how many "uses" you got left, and from what I can tell, it only goes down when you start up the game. I entered the game twice, and the second time I played for about an hour. Now I have 28 uses left. So every time you die and start over in the game, and I did a lot in Hell mode, that didn't count toward the 30 uses.

I don't agree with the idea of limiting the use of demo play but if it's going to happen, a smaller cap makes more sense. If you're going to go as high as 30, you might as well not even do it at all.

Resident Evil: Revelations, developed by Capcom, releases Feb. 7 for $49.99.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Capcom confirms Resident Evil 6, releasing Nov. 20 on Xbox 360, PS3

The 2012 holiday season got a big game today.

Capcom has confirmed that Resident Evil 6 will release on the Xbox 360 and PS3 this year on Nov. 20. Taking place 10 years after the Raccoon City incident. the game will pair up a couple of old favorites, Leon S. Kennedy and Chris Redfield. It looks like we're going to China, too.

“Resident Evil 6 represents a giant stride forward in the evolution of the series,” said Katsuhiko Ichii, head of R&D and Global Marketing, in a press release. “The development team, led by Hiroyuki Kobayashi, is working tirelessly to deliver the most impressive Resident Evil title ever both in terms of scope and production values. We are all genuinely excited by the title and cannot wait to share it with the world.”

Executive Producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi added: “From the outset the team’s intention was to create an experience that delivers a gripping storyline, tense single-player and co-op action all set against a constant theme of horror. We are calling this fusion dramatic horror and are confident it will resonate with both existing fans of the series as well as newcomers.”

And in classic video game fashion that will no doubt rile up gamers, GameStop, Best Buy and will each get an exclusive map for various game modes, depending on who you pre-order with. More details on maps and other game modes will be released in the future. I expect the popular Mercenaries mode to make a return.

Here is the official trailer.

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Party like it's 1999 with new BioShock Infinite game mode (Prince not included)

2K Games has announced a new mode for its much-anticipated game BioShock Infinite: 1999 Mode, which will include changes that players will not experience in a regular playthrough of the game. No, Prince will not make an appearance.

“We want to give our oldest and most committed fans an option to go back to our roots,” said Ken Levine, creative director of Irrational Games, in a press release. “In 1999 Mode, gamers face more of the permanent consequences of their gameplay decisions. In BioShock Infinite, gamers will have to sweat out the results of their actions. In addition, 1999 Mode will demand that players pick specializations, and focus on them.

“I’m an old school gamer," he added. "We wanted to make sure we were taking into account the play styles of gamers like me. So we went straight to the horse’s mouth by asking them, on our website, a series of questions about how they play our games. 94.6 percent of respondents indicated that upgrade choices enhanced their BioShock gameplay experience; however, 56.8 percent indicated that being required to make permanent decisions about their character would have made the game even better.”

1999 Mode will include stricter weapon, power and health management, and if players don't have the resources to be brought back to life, it's a Game Over screen for them.

Playing the original BioShock, that game was a lot easier than I would have liked it. With the implementation of vita chambers, dying was not really a big deal, since you could just respawn a little ways back and just continue your fight effortlessly since enemies' health didn't change. So this new game mode should make things more interesting.

However, announcing there's a Game Over screen is just funny to me. It kind of shows you much more casual video games are these days than in the 1990s.

BioShock Infinite is developed by Irrational Games for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Yes, Mario Kart ripoffs exist, but none as blatant as Mole Kart on the App Store

Here's a not-so controversial opinion: Nintendo makes really good games. Really popular games that make lots of money.

But like anything that's popular, there's a price to pay: It's going to be ripped off one way or another. That's just a fact of life.

There have been countless of Mario knockoffs over the years, from platforming clones to racing clones.

But I have never seen one so blatant and lazy as Mole Kart, which is somehow still available on the App Store for $2.99. Developed by Shanghai Taomee Network Technology, it's like they took all that was Mario Kart and hit Ctrl A, Ctrl C, Ctrl V, made very few minor tweaks and voila! Game set for launch.

Watching the video above, the similarities seem endless. The racetrack X Mushroom is a near exact copy of Mushroom Gorge from Mario Kart Wii. Gee, what do all those tall, bouncy mushrooms look like? The item boxes are dead on as well. You got your bananas, fake item box booby traps, lightning bolts and other items resembling Mario Kart powerups. The Mole Pasture track is a spitting image of Moo Moo Meadows from Mario Kart Wii. Take a look at what the banner says at the starting/finish line.

You even got one of the moles disturbingly dressed up like Princess Peach in the loading screen.

Apple approved the game, which is pretty low on their part but doesn't surprise me. After all, Apple and Nintendo are somewhat competitors. And what's the worse that could happen to Apple anyway? They would just take the game down if Nintendo cries foul. No harm to them. It's the Chinese company that would be taking the hit.

Here's a couple of comparison videos I've found on YouTube showing off the original and much better versions of these tracks.

Mushroom Gorge

Moo Moo Meadows

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

I wish a rock band performed a game's soundtrack for me while I played, like in this video

OK, so it's probably one of the nerdiest things in the world, but here's a video of a guy playing Mega Man 2 while the band Bit Brigade supplies the soundtrack.

In front of a live audience at Magfest, he beats the game effortlessly while the band jams away. Apparently the year before, they did this to the NES classic Ninja Gaiden.

Gotta give a hand to the guy playing under pressure like that. Some parts of Mega Man 2 can be a pain in the butt, especially the Quick Man stage.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Zen Pinball 3D review is up

Check out my review of Zen Pinball 3D for the Nintendo 3DS by clicking here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reports: Sony has no plans to unveil PS3 successor at this year's E3

Don't expect a PS4 to be unveiled at E3 this year, according to Sony's Kaz Hirai.

The overseer of Sony's video game business said there are no plans to unveil a successor to the PS3, which paves the way for Nintendo to be the only one of the Big 3 (Microsoft didn't announce anything mind blowing at CES 2012 despite rumors of their new console) to possibly release a new console in 2012.

Hirai notes the PS3 is still targeted for a 10-year life cycle, and since it released in 2006 they have a ways to go.

I'm not surprised at this announcement. Right now, Sony is investing heavily in the PS Vita, which has struggled somewhat out of the gate in Japan, and is getting ready for its big release here in the U.S. and Europe on Feb. 22. So that's where all the money's going at now.

However, I don't think we'll have to wait too much longer for new console announcements from Sony and Microsoft. If Nintendo releases the Wii U this year, don't expect them to give the big N that much of a head start.

Quick thoughts on Zen Pinball 3D for the Nintendo 3DS

Zen Pinball 3D for the Nintendo 3DS features four familiar tables: Earth Defense, Shaman, Excalibur and Eldorado. This is the first time I've played Shaman and Eldorado, which are released for the first time outside of PlayStation Network.

The 3D effect is really nice, making it look like you're actually playing a real pinball machine.

Due to the nature of the small screen size, the game feels cramped if you use the view of the whole table. It's hard to see details on each table, so I had to use a closer view, unlike how I play on Xbox Live Arcade.

Last I checked, I was No. 1 in the Excalibur and Eldorado tables in the U.S. ("casinoman" nickname is me). But I know that'll quickly change once the game releases to the public Jan. 12.

Check out my full review soon on

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Monday, January 9, 2012

AT&T releases 3G data plans for PS Vita; will gamers bite?

One of the last questions remaining regarding Sony's PS Vita was how much will AT&T charge for 3G service.

They answered that today. On a no-contract basis, it will cost gamers $14.99 a month for 250MB and $25 a month for 2GB of service.

I don't see that many people rushing to use this service to play games and use Facebook, Twitter and other popular apps when smartphones already do that. Who wants to pay a phone bill AND monthly fees for a portable game system?

The WiFi-only PS Vita costs $250 and the 3G version is $300. When Sony releases the system in the U.S. on Feb. 22, I hope they stock a lot more of the cheaper version. I bet good money that one will sell a lot more.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Reports: Nintendo 3DS sales in Japan break monthly record in December

According to published reports, the Nintendo 3DS had a stellar December in Japan, nearly selling a whopping 1.5 million units over the month. According to Enterbrain, which has been tracking sales since 1997, this is the highest single month sales total ever.

This is also the seventh month in a row the 3DS has topped hardware sales.

The PS Vita, which released in the middle of December in Japan, sold 402,794 units. But it's unfair to compare these two new systems since the PS Vita released on Dec. 17. The Enterbrain tracking period for December is Nov. 28-Dec. 25.

The big reason for the 3DS sales surge comes from Nintendo releasing three big guns for the holiday season. Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7 have already topped 1 million sales each in Japan alone, and Monster Hunter 3G likely has hit that, too.

No one can complain anymore about the 3DS having no games.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pushmo review is up

Check out my review of Pushmo on the Nintendo 3DS eShop by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nintendo 3DS hardware sales top 4 million in U.S., but does the media care?

While lackluster launch sales of Sony's PS Vita in Japan have brought out the doom and gloom talk of dedicated gaming handhelds being killed by smartphone gaming, Nintendo's 3DS continues to prove critics wrong.

On Jan. 3, Nintendo stated that the successor to the DS has sold more than 4 million units in the United States, which is more than the Wii did during its first nine months. Of course, the Wii went through severe shortages that seemed like forever when it first launched, so it probably would have sold more in the same time frame. But more importantly, first-year 3DS hardware sales continue to outpace first-year sales of the DS - the same DS that's sold around 150 million units worldwide. And the 3DS released right smack in the smartphone wildfire taking over the planet.

The 3DS surge is helped by Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7, which have sold 1 million each in the U.S. Expect these two games to easily be multimillion sellers. Mario Kart Wii has topped 11 million and New Super Mario Bros. for the DS is over 10 million in the U.S.

I don't expect the doom and gloom talk to end. If the PS Vita stumbles out of the gate in the U.S., much of the media will pounce all over it like Nintendo's early 3DS struggles. And they'll have good arguments. The $250 price tag, the $40-$50 games, etc.

But regarding the 3DS, they seem to be stuck in the past, not really caring that Nintendo has righted the 3DS ship in a big way. It's still all about the smartphones for them. The media loves them oh so much, and they think dedicated gaming handhelds can't co-exist in a world of iPhones.

Newsflash: They can. Nintendo is proving that.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

FarSight Studios releasing videos of The Pinball Arcade gameplay

FarSight Studios is showing off footage of their upcoming pinball simulation game The Pinball Arcade. The big draw to this game are the licensed tables from Williams, Bally, Stern and Gottlieb. Here are some of the tables they are showing off.

Theatre of Magic

Tales of the Arabian Nights

Black Hole

Ripley's Believe It Or Not

The game is scheduled to be released early this year on a wide variety of gaming platforms. Visit for more information.

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