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Random thoughts and news in the world of video games.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Zen Studios announces CastleStorm, set for release in 2012

Zen Studios has announced a new game, and it's not another pinball table.

The popular Pinball FX 2 developer has released details of CastleStorm, set for release in 2012 on Xbox Live Arcade and other digital platforms. Kind of like how Epic Quest was a medieval-themed pinball table with strategy mixed in, CastleStorm is a mix of tower defense, real time strategy and 2D destruction set in a colorful medieval world.

The game features archery projectile warfare and 2D physics-based structure destruction - hey, that sounds a lot like Angry Birds. But if you watch the game trailer above, you can see it's a lot more than that. While you can launch explosive weapons like Morningstars, Apple Grenades, Homing Eagles and flying sheep to destroy your enemy's castle, you can deploy a ground attack of knights, swordsmen and donkey riders to protect your castle from foes trying to capture your flag.

There's also a tower construction editor allowing players to build their own castles that are used in battle. Those who are attending the upcoming E3 conference in Los Angeles will be able to demo CastleStorm.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Quick thoughts on Kirby's Block Ball on the Nintendo 3DS eShop

Kirby's Block Ball was recently released on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. Here are my quick thoughts on the game so far.

Growing up, I put a lot of hours into Kirby's Pinball Land for the Game Boy, but I never played Kirby's Block Ball. After playing the first stage, it immediately brought me back to those days - just instead of pinball flippers, you got paddles.

I enjoy the simplistic, yet sometimes intense, nature of Breakout-style games. Bouncing the ball off the paddle sounds easy, but depending on the brick layout and power-ups available, it can get hectic real fast. Kirby's Block Ball ramps up the intensity by incorporating up to four paddles from all sides of the screen.

It was nice to see all the classic Kirby baddies here like the popular apple tree Whispy Woods and the cloudy eyeball Kracko. You got your classic Kirby dance routines at the end of stages, and several mini-games to earn extra lives.

Look out for my full review at

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Watch NASCAR's Joey Lagano's car get the Hitman: Absolution treatment

What better way to advertise a video game than during a NASCAR race?

Square Enix's upcoming game, Hitman: Absolution, will be sponsoring the GameStop car during this weekend's NASCAR Nationwide Series. Driver Joey Lagano will be dressed up in an Agent 47-inspired fire repellant suit, and his car will be decked out in Hitman goodness. Above is a video showing the making of the car.

You can see Agent 47 zoom around the track starting at 2:30 p.m. May 26 on ABC. Hitman: Absolution will release Nov. 20.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

If Tetris was an end-of-the-world movie directed by Michael Bay, here's what it would look like

The fine people at Warialasky have created a unique movie trailer showing what would happen if Tetris pieces started invading Earth. It's funny, well made, and movie executives should make this into a full-length feature.

The video description says if enough people watch it, they'll make it into a movie. Please make this happen.

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Pavel Datsyuk beaten in NHL 13 cover tournament

Well, that was a disappointment. I was all ready to type up another piece on how Pavel Datsyuk moved on in the NHL 13 cover tournament when I had to do a double take.

There was New York Islanders' John Tavares in the spot Datsyuk should be. Ridiculous! He should be battling Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators! Wait a second. Rinne? How did Rinne beat Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers? Pretty sure Rinne and the Preds got exposed real bad against the Phoenix Coyotes.

The left side of the bracket looks normal, with a classic Philadelphia and Pittsburgh match-up between Claude Giroux of the Flyers and Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins. But the right side looks like something out of the Twilight Zone.

What it came down to was who wanted it more, and the Red Wings fan base didn't care as much the Islanders fans. The New Yorkers were campaigning their butts off for Tavares and it paid off. And since you can vote as much as you want, they probably spent all week clicking on their man. I guess Detroit fans didn't have any energy left after the Madden tournament.

I'm not going to lie, I thought Datsyuk was a shoe-in for this. Calvin Johnson got the Madden 13 cover, and Detroit fans still voted for him despite the whole curse nonsense. Plus, it would have been cool to see No. 13 on the NHL 13 cover.

If you still care to vote in the semi-finals match-ups, click here.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Madden 13 to feature biggest addition ever — Tebowing

If Calvin Johnson being on the cover wasn't enough of a reason to buy EA's Madden 13 this year, here's another: Tebowing.

EA Sports' Madden NFL Creative Director Michael Young confirmed recently on Twitter that Tebowing would make an appearance. Now we got the photo to prove it, courtesy of EA Sports. There he is, Tim Tebow in all his glory striking the pose that's swept the world.

Madden 13 is scheduled for release on Aug. 28.

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Diablo III becomes fastest selling PC game ever

Blizzard hyped Diablo III for a long, long time, and it paid off.

The company announced Diablo III sold more than 3.5 million copies in the first 24 hours of release, setting a new record for fastest selling PC game. But it gets even better. There were an additional 1.2 million players who received the game as part of signing up for the World of Warcraft Annual Pass promotion. So far, more than 6.3 million copies have been sold.

The launch did have its issues, though, as server problems forced a lot of gamers to impatiently wait to play the game at times.

"We're definitely thrilled that so many people around the world were excited to pick up their copy of Diablo III and jump in the moment it went live," said Mike Morhaime, CEO and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, in a press release. "We also regret that our preparations were not enough to ensure everyone had a seamless experience when they did so. I want to reaffirm our commitment to make sure the millions of Diablo III players out there have a great experience with the game moving forward, and I also want to thank them for their ongoing support."

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

After months of lollygagging, I finally take the plunge into Skyrim

I bought The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim around release time last year, and like a lot of games I buy I hold off playing them. Well, I finally dusted it off the shelf and began my journey into its vast world. Although I only played a few hours last night, I know it'll be a long haul.

I should note I'm not playing on the glorious PC version, where graphics and performance are no doubt improved. My journey will take place on the Xbox 360 version (I can hear the laughing from here). Bethesda is known for their glitchy games, and I fully expected some crazy stuff to happen when I popped the game in.

My Xbox froze not even in hour in the game, right after escaping the initial dragon attack. Thanks a lot. I guess that update I downloaded immediately didn't do much. Luckily it occurred after an auto save, so I didn't lose too much progress other than harvesting a bunch of flowers and activating a stone to improve my combat learning. So now I save a lot, probably too much for my own good, but I hate having to repeat gameplay due to horrible game crashes.

I chose the Imperial class, which balances combat and magic skills. I'm currently enjoying the decimation of wolves and bandits by setting them on fire and smacking them with my mace. I'll probably stick with heavy armor over light, and harvest anything in sight to create all those fun potions. I used to be heavy into archery in past RPGs, but I'll probably ignore that skill in Skyrim.

Only a few hours in, I already got a ton of side missions to do. There's no way I'll do them all, but I expect to complete a heavy dose of them, seeing how they'll help in leveling up my character. Before taking a break on my journey, I killed my first dragon, absorbed its soul and learned my first Shout move. I got a partner in crime now, and will be giving her all that loot I'll collect for selling purposes.

So there's my recap of the first few hours. Now that I started it, I have to finish, right? I'll try not to wait another few months to continue playing it.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Quick thoughts on Mario Tennis Open for the Nintendo 3DS

Mario Tennis Open releases Sunday, May 20, for the Nintendo 3DS. Here are my quick thoughts on the game so far.

Gameplay is quick and smooth, and the controls are simple and precise. This is tennis after all, so there's not much to it besides blasting the ball by opponents, lobbing it over their heads or tricking them with a drop shot. There are touchscreen controls available, but I stuck with using physical buttons. All the fun of the past games is here.

While overall content seems a little light, I didn't really mind not having an RPG mode seen in the Game Boy versions of Mario Tennis. I didn't get bored blasting my way through the various singles and doubles tournaments, and playing through the short but sweet mini-games. The Super Mario Tennis mode is the coolest one of all them, and I always went back to play it again.

There are a ton of items to unlock, which are used to customize your Mii to your tennis liking. Content is unlocked by playing exhibition and tournaments, so you can do double duty by collecting trophies for characters and unlocking stuff at the same time. But you still have to collect coins to purchase the items. If you want to get and do everything, it's going to take a ton of dedication.

I didn't do much online play since the game isn't out yet and searching for games took a while. But the few matches I did play, I had no problems. Matches are really quick, and I didn't experience any game-breaking lag. Obviously it'll be more crowded after release.

Check out my full review soon at

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Friday, May 18, 2012

You can now vote for Pavel Datsyuk again in the NHL 13 cover contest

After a little wait, it's time to vote for Detroit Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk during Round 2 of EA's NHL 13 cover tournament. This time, he is up against John Tavares of the New York Islanders.

If Datsyuk wins, and he most likely will, he would face either Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators or Henrik Lundquist of the New York Rangers.

Voting takes place through May 23. Click here to vote.

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If you want lots of Borderlands 2 goodies, these to special editions have you covered

I wrote about the Halo 4 Limited Edition bundle recently, and now 2K Games and Gearbox Software have announced two special editions for the much-anticipated Borderlands 2, which hits stores Sept. 18 in North America and Sept. 21 internationally. If you like lots of extra goodies, these two editions are packed full of them.

For $99.99, the Deluxe Vault Hunter's Collector's Edition will include a copy of the game; a Marcus Kincaid bobblehead; the book "Inside the Vault: The Art & Design of Borderlands 2; sticker set; Pandora map; digital comic download code; and bonus downloadable in-game content. You will get all this if you purchase the Ultimate Loot Chest Limited Edition for a whopping $149.99 plus a scaled replica of the red loot chests found throughout Pandora, a steel book case; Creatures of Pandora wide-format ID chart; lithograph postcard set; field notes from Sir Hammerlock; cloth map of Pandora; and a numbered certificate of authenticity. These special editions will be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

So there you have it. There's a lot of neat stuff if you feel like paying the price. I won't be. My wife would kill me if I did.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Walking Dead video game sells 1 million episodes

The zombie craze isn't over yet. Telltale Games has announced The Walking Dead video game has sold more than 1 million episodes across the PC, Mac, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade platforms. This makes the zombie game Telltale's fastest selling series to date.

The first episode, "A New Day," topped charts for two weeks straight on XBLA, as well as achieved high rankings on Steam and PSN. An iOS version is planned for later this summer.

The Walking Dead video game will consist of five episodes. Episode 2, titled "Starved for Help," is planned for release in June.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Microsoft announces Halo 4 Limited Edition bundle

Halo 4 is coming Nov. 6, what promises to be the start of another trilogy in the famed franchise. If you don't want the not-so-fancy $59.99 version of the game, Microsoft will be releasing the fancy Halo 4 Limited Edition bundle for $99.99. Here's what it comes with:

War Games Map Pack Access: Announcing DLC before a game launches is the new trend for video games, and Halo 4 is no different. Purchasing the bundle will get you access to nine future maps for multiplayer action.

Specializations: The ability to unlock six of them early, which helps to achieve higher ranks in your Spartan career.

UNSC Infinity Briefing Packet: This includes a Spartan armor customization schematic, information about UNSC weapons, an introduction to the UNSC Infinity ship, and insight on the Spartan-IV warriors.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Special Edition: A 90-minute look at the live action digital series that will take Halo fans back to the start of the Human/Covenant war. Other digital content includes a closer look at the stories and characters of Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn.

Other bonus content includes armor and weapons skins, an avatar prop and an armor set. There will be no Legendary Edition of Halo 4, which really what would the point be since you're getting all this stuff in the Limited Edition?

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Domino enthusiasts say thanks to Nintendo by setting up 30,000 dominoes and letting them fall

ShanesDominoez and Dieck Domino teamed up recently to set up more than 30,000 dominoes, focusing their patterns on Nintendo's memorable franchises - with a little Sega in the mix, too. Everything is detailed as perfectly as you could imagine as the camera takes you through each section of the madness. I just hope it was all done in one take.

Square Enix unveils screenshots of Chaos Shrine mode in unique Theatrhythm Final Fantasy 3DS game

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is inching closer to its July 3 release on the Nintendo 3DS. Square Enix has released screenshots of the game's Chaos Shrine mode.

By gaining Rhythmia when clearing songs in the game, Chaos Shrine is unlocked, where you can play mysterious musical scores called Dark Notes. These are randomly generated combinations of battle and field songs. Unlockables include new characters, rare items and being able to play new songs. Being a musical-based Final Fantasy game, the more songs and characters the better.

Owners will also be able to share Dark Notes through the handheld's StreetPass feature or local play. It's nice to see more 3DS games take advantage of StreetPass.

It looks like there's a lot of content for this game. Even though it seems like a niche title, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy could be a sleeper hit. We'll find out in July.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Detroit Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk advances in NHL 13 cover contest

No shocker. Pavel Datsyuk moved to Round 2 of EA's NHL 13 cover tournament by defeating T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues. He now faces John Tavares of the New York Islanders. It should be another easy victory.

Because of the weird scheduling setup, we have to wait until May 18 to vote on Datsyuk's side of the bracket. For some reason, EA wants to extend this contest as long as possible. I'll make sure to remind you all to vote when the time comes.

If you feel like voting in two other match-ups, you can do so by clicking here.

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From console fatigue to digital content, various factors explain weak April video game sales

The NPD Group released their video game sales data for April, and it's not pretty. Compared to April 2011, total sales fell 32 percent to $630.4 million. Software sales dropped 42 percent to $307.2 million and hardware sales raked in $189.7 million, falling 32 percent.

The top selling games for the month, which includes all platforms, were Prototype 2 at No. 1, followed by Kinect Star Wars, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13, NBA 2K12, The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings, Mario Party 9, Mass Effect 3, Just Dance 3, and MLB 12: The Show. According to NPD analyst Anita Frazier, the top seven titles from last April outsold the top selling game THIS April. Figures from last year would put Prototype 2 selling somewhere below 236,000. Not good at all.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 sold 236,000 units in April, but we don't have hard figures from Nintendo's Wii or Sony's PS3 consoles. Also nothing for the 3DS or PS Vita handhelds. With no confirmed numbers from Sony and Nintendo, it can't be pretty. We do know that the 3DS is about a million ahead of the DS during the same 14-month time frame after each system's launch in the U.S. So despite lackluster sales in April, Nintendo can still hang their hat on that for now.

There are a lot of arguments with merit explaining why this April is one of the worst sales months on record. I'll get this first one out of the way: The rise of smartphone and tablet gaming. It's been beaten to death, but cheap, cheap prices of these games do take away consumers. But it's not the only thing, and I would argue not the main reason.

To me the biggest reason is console fatigue coupled with market saturation. The Xbox 360 is nearing 7 years old, which is ancient in terms of console life cycles, and has sold more than 67 million worldwide. The PS3 is nearing 6 years old with 64 million sales, and the Wii is also nearing 6 years with a whopping 95 million. The hype of these consoles is gone and new technology is long past this outdated hardware, especially the Wii. The hype of new machines and better graphics (even though PC gamers laugh at this notion) would be major selling points. Unfortunately only Nintendo seems to be focused on the next generation with the Wii U just around the corner. Despite a hefty dose of rumors the next Microsoft and Sony consoles won't be around this year, and middle to late 2013 could be the earliest release dates. Expect more weak hardware sales from current-gen consoles in coming months, unless price cuts occur.

Nintendo's Wii and DS units played a big role in the video game boom a few years ago, which boosted total sales numbers significantly. It wasn't going to last forever though, and the industry is feeling it now. Look at that big gap between the Wii and Xbox 360 totals, and the DS has sold more than 150 million worldwide. To say that the entire industry is falling down is kind of unfair, since Nintendo was the reason it got so unnaturally high in the first place. No one expected that after their brutal Gamecube era.

A lack of software releases in April hurt, too. Prototype is a known name, but the sequel seemed to come out of nowhere. There wasn't much word-of-mouth for it, and therefore explains the shockingly low number for a No. 1 spot. To put how low it is, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City sold over 250,000 in ONE WEEK in Japan recently, likely beating Prototype 2. Again, not pretty. The month of May should see an increase in software sales as higher profile releases like Diablo 3, Max Payne 3 and Mario Tennis Open hit shelves.

One knock against NPD is they don't record digital sales like from Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, which have their hot sellers, too. The highly-hyped Journey game broke records on PSN's service. Trials Evolution for XBLA broke records after its release, and right after that Minecraft shattered those with at least 400,000 sales in 24 hours. Digital sales are a big thing now, and there are tens of millions of dollars not even being accounted for each month.

While this terrible April is a cause for concern, it is by no means the future of the video game industry. Slumping times are going to happen, especially this late into the console cycle. It's usually a time when the focus goes toward next generation, and for Nintendo this is happening. We'll find out what Microsoft and Sony have up their sleeve soon at E3.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

BioShock Infinite delayed until Feb. 26, 2013. Why that's not a bad thing

BioShock fans got some sad news today. Irrational Games co-founder Ken Levine, in a message to fans, stated that the much-anticipated release of BioShock Infinite will be delayed from October 2012 to Feb. 26, 2013.

"I won’t kid you: BioShock Infinite is a very big game, and we’re doing things that no one has ever done in a first-person shooter. We had a similar experience with the original BioShock, which was delayed several months as our original ship date drew near. Why? Because the Big Daddies weren’t the Big Daddies you’ve since come to know and love. Because Andrew Ryan’s golf club didn’t have exactly the right swing. Because Rapture needed one more coat of grimy Art Deco," Levine stated.

Levine is promising more tweaks and improvements to make the next addition to this franchise the best yet. And if it means a better game in the end, I'm all for it. October's not that far away, and rushing a game is never a good thing.

It's not the end of the world for gamers, unless you believe that will happen this year. This holiday season is already packed with hot sellers like Resident Evil 6, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Assassin's Creed 3. While more development time is the idea here, delaying the game after these onslaught of titles will surely improve BioShock Infinite's sales, too.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

EA Sports reveals Madden 13 cover featuring Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson

EA Sports has revealed the cover of Madden 13, featuring Detroit Lions superstar Calvin Johnson. Megatron beat out Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton recently to claim the spot.

It's good and bad. I like the Ford Field and Renaissance Center shots in the background, showing off badly needed positive images of Detroit. I'm not a big fan of the particular pose EA went with. There's something about Calvin's wide-eyed look I don't like. Scared maybe? Also, he seems to be peeling blue at the right hand.

I'm still glad he won. Can't think of anyone else more deserving of it this year.

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If you need a payment plan to buy a video game console, you probably shouldn't be playing video games

It's a tough economy out there, so you got to be careful with your spending. You know the cliche: Compile a list of your needs and wants, and make sure everything balances out.

Microsoft recently confirmed the rumors of a unique payment plan for the Xbox 360, available at their very, very, very few Microsoft Store locations (none in Michigan, sorry). Paying $99 upfront will get you a 4GB Xbox 360, a Kinect and two years of Xbox Live Gold. The catch is you're locked into a two-year contract at $14.99 per month, and getting out early will result in various termination fees depending on when you jump ship.

The total cost of the payment plan - before taxes - is just below $460, which you'll be paying more in the end than buying the items the regular way. While the console and Kinect bundle is $299, the payment plan factors in the retail cost of Xbox Live Gold, which is $60 a year. I've never payed this much for the service, since discounts to as low as $30 happen frequently through Amazon or other online sites. Plus, there's always a deal going on for an Xbox 360 and Kinect bundle.

This payment plan option isn't for everyone. I've read many complaints about how it's not worth it and a waste of money, but those people are missing the point. The idea behind it is to pay a little each month, which is obviously more affordable than all at once. It's no different than payment plans for TVs or new cars.

Microsoft is going after those who may not have the means to pay a few hundred dollars for a console, but should these people even be buying one in the first place? Especially when family and all those exciting taxes and bills take precedence? As much as I love video games, they're not a necessity in life. And while coughing up $300 for an Xbox 360 may seem like a lot of money, it's really not. What gets lost in all this are the after-costs.

You'll probably need another controller or two, which retail at $50 a pop for the wireless ones. You're definitely going to need more memory to save your content. Four gigabytes is laughably low. And then there are the games. A lot of the classics can be bought for $30, $20 or cheaper, but new releases come out at $60. If you feel like waiting a month or two, maybe they'll go down to $40 or $50, but it's still plenty of dough.

You could potentially pay up to $200 or more on needed accessories and games right after the console purchase. If you can afford that, you might as well ignore the low payment option and go all in from the beginning. You'll be saving money in the long run anyway.

With the high costs of accessories and games, you'll still be spending lots of cash after a $99 purchase, which ruins the whole idea of actually saving money. Video gaming is an expensive hobby. It's all about priorities. If you can't afford the after-costs, then it's probably smarter to wait until your financial situation improves that allows you to take part in this luxury.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ron Paul gets his own theme song to the tune of Pokemon

Jason Paige, who sang the original theme song for the Pokemon cartoon show, decided to have some fun and make a Pokemon parody in support of Ron Paul. The song accompanies a montage of Paul appearances throughout the U.S., which obviously takes a shot at the media and the lack of coverage supporters say has been given to Paul.

It's too bad Herman Cain dropped out of the race because he would have been the perfect candidate for this remix since he quoted the popular children's show.

Paul's been racking up delegates lately, most recently in Maine. Will this song put him over the top? I'd like to see Mitt Romney's response to this.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

You can now vote for Pavel Datsyuk to be on the cover of NHL 13

Now that the big Madden 13 cover tournament is behind us, where Calvin Johnson saw victory, it's time for Detroit sports fans to turn their focus onto the NHL 13 cover contest currently under way. Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk easily made the top 16 in preliminary voting and was seeded No. 1 on one side of the bracket. In Round 1 he is facing T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues.

Glancing at the bracket, Datsyuk should go pretty far despite a disappointing first-round exit the Red Wings experienced in the playoffs this year. New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist could possibly be a tough matchup, but I easily see Datsyuk making the championship. Not to get to ahead of myself, but I could see the Red Wings star winning the whole thing. Like the Madden tourney this is a fan-voted contest, and popularity is key. There's no Alexander Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby in sight, and Datsyuk is right up there in name recognition.

Most important of all, there's no silly curse to worry about. So breathe easy, Detroit sports fans, and vote for Datsyuk by clicking here. Let's get another Detroit athlete on a video game cover. Round 1 voting takes place May 3-10.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Nintendo releases new screenshots, details of Mario Tennis Open for 3DS

Mario Tennis Open is coming May 20 to the 3DS, and Nintendo has released new details and screenshots of the game.

While there's no RPG mode that some have been clamoring for like in the Game Boy Color version of the franchise, online play should totally make up for it. Players will be able to compete and cooperate in local wireless matches against others. They can also build up their Open Match standings, check the monthly leaderboard and earn Victory Medals from everyone they defeat.

It wouldn't be a Mario sports game without wacky minigames. One of these is Ink Showdown, where Piranha Plants spit out ink balls that must be destroyed before they splatter and cover the screen, while at the same time hitting tennis balls away from the opponent.

Mario Tennis Open will continue the trend of games using the 3DS StreetPass feature to interact with others in interesting ways. Owners of the game will be able to take part in StreetPass matches or cooperative Ring Shot challenges with AI-controlled people they encounter, and they can share their winning streak. They can also show off their Mii characters, customized with a variety of outfits and accessories that improve their performance on the court. New items can be unlocked in the Item Shop.

Nintendo characters like Luma, Baby Mario and Dry Bowser can be unlocked through gameplay and special QR codes.

Mario Tennis is one of my favorite Mario sports franchises, and the 3DS version looks to have all the makings of another classic Nintendo sports title.

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 coming Nov. 13

Activision has released the trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, which was pretty much no surprise to anyone after various leaks surfaced around the Internet in recent days. The release date is set for Nov. 13, so I will safely predict it will be the hottest selling game of the holiday season, giving the U.S. economy a hefty boost.

A change to the franchise was needed, and Treyarch looks to deliver on that as this game will take place in the near future. High-tech machinery dominates the trailer, although there looks to be one mission where you're riding on horseback.

E3 is coming in June, so we should expect more details to surface then. But looking at the success of this franchise, Call of Duty fans don't need anymore details. Hundreds of thousands of pre-orders probably have been made already.

Angry Birds Space becomes the fastest growing mobile game

Rovio recently announced Angry Birds Space has been downloaded 50 million times in 35 days, making it the fastest growing mobile game ever and breaking previous Angry Birds game records. On a variety of platforms costing as low as free, it's not shocking at all Rovio is shattering records all over again.

Rovio also released a free update with new levels on iOS and Android, and is promising many more surprises. Expect plenty of more levels in the future. And will those pigs finally get some revenge?

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Skyrim DLC, entitled Dawnguard, coming this summer

Bethesda confirmed on its blog today of DLC coming this summer to one of the hottest games of 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. All the simple post tells us is it's coming to Xbox 360 and more details will be released during E3 in June.

For PS3 fans, it looks like you'll have to wait a little after a period of console exclusivity ends.

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