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Random thoughts and news in the world of video games.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Madden NFL 13 Week 17 (and final) simulation: Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears

The Detroit Lions finish the season against the Chicago Bears. Here is a simulation of the game.

The Bears received the ball first and were moving down the field with ease when running back Matt Forte fumbled the ball, which was scooped up by Louis Delmas and taken 82 yards down the field for the touchdown.

The second quarter featured three field goals. Jason Hanson extended the lead to 10-0 before Olindo Mare cut the lead back to a touchdown with a 40-yarder. Hanson booted a 44-yarder, and at halftime the Lions led 13-3.

The third quarter would be called The Matt Forte Show, as the running back scored a pair of touchdowns to give the Bears a 17-13 lead heading into the fourth. He broke a tackle on a 2-yard run, and then broke many more on a monstrous 78-yard run later in the quarter.
In the fourth, Hanson kicked another field goal to make it 17-16, but the Bears answered back with a Mare three-pointer of their own. With the score 20-16 at the two-minute warning, could the Lions make their last drive of the season worth it? Sadly, no. Matthew Stafford tossed a costly interception in Bears territory, and their Madden season ended in a loss. On a positive note, they did win more games than the real Lions this year.

Stafford threw 25/38 for 316 yards and one interception. Mikel Leshoure rushed for 40 yards on 18 carries and caught four passes for 24 yards. Calvin Johnson had a great day, catching nine passes for 145 yards.

For the Bears, Jay Cutler went 13/17 for 210 yards. Forte ran all over the Lions with 159 yards on 29 carries and two TDs. Devin Hester caught four passes for 84 yards.

Madden record: 8-8 
Real record: 4-11

Sunday, December 23, 2012

NRA shouldn't blame violent video games for mass shootings since they released their own shooter in 2006

On Friday, the National Rifle Association called for armed police officers in every school to stop future travesties like the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting from happening. To no one's surprise, violent video games, along with music videos and movies, were partially blamed for the incident.

The old violent video games argument is back, even though studies have shown lack of proof of them causing violent behavior, with even the Supreme Court having ruled in favor of gamers in the United States. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA, quoted games like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse as exposing violence to children. Yes, Mortal Kombat, a game first released in 1992 and would be considered PG-rated these days. Where was the mention of Call of Duty? Or was it omitted because that's about the military and is A-ok by NRA's standards?

Another game LaPierre failed to mention was "NRA Gun Club," a very bad PS2 title released in September 2006. Published by Crave Entertainment, it lets gamers shoot more than 100 types of firearms in shooting ranges and open environments. The game, which features a nice close-up of a gun on the cover, was rated for everyone ages 10 and up. It also includes detailed descriptions on every firearm.

Mike Marcellin, managing director of the NRA, said in a press release at the time: "In keeping with the NRA mission, this game tests marksmanship in a sporting environment and emphasizes responsible use of firearms. This is a fun and exciting game, challenging all ages and all levels of firearms proficiency."

Critics of violent video games will point out that Call of Duty and other first-person shooters teach individuals how to shoot guns. It's a ridiculous claim that I and other gamers just shake our heads at. Anyone who's played these shooters will tell you just how unrealistic they are in the first place.

Which is why I find the NRA's response to the shooting so hilarious, besides them wanting to turn every school into a prison-like setting (let's add electric fences and guard towers while we're at it). It's reeks of hypocrisy. Individuals won't become gun experts after playing NRA Gun Club, but what makes this game different from other shooters is the whole point of it is to ... actually learn about and shoot all kinds of real-life guns. If you're going to go around blaming violent video games for mass shootings, that's your right to do so. But don't blame Call of Duty, Halo or Battlefield. Blame this one!

Yes, NRA Gun Club is target shooter and you're not actually killing anyone, but in the end it's just like every other video game out there - violent or not. It's fake. It's a fantasy world we put ourselves into, just like reading a book or going to the movies. From Japan to Canada, everyone's reading, watching and playing the same things as Americans are. Yet, you hardly hear horror stories like the tragedy in Connecticut elsewhere.

I don't know the exact solution, but I'm pretty sure it involves mental health and gun regulations of some sort. I know one thing, though: It sure isn't regulating violent video games. If we keep focusing on that, the problem will never be solved.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Madden NFL 13 Week 16 simulation: Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons

The Detroit Lions face the Atlanta Falcons for a Monday Night Football matchup on Saturday night. Here is a simulation of the game.

After the Lions punted deep in their own end zone to start the game, Falcons running back Michael Turner powered his way past defenders on a 19-yard touchdown score to give Atlanta the early 7-0 lead. On the next drive Joique Bell fumbled the ball on the Lions' own 25-yard line, and the Falcons easily scooped it up. A Matt Bryant field goal extended their lead to 10-0.

Near the end of the quarter the Lions finally got on scoreboard thanks to Matthew Stafford finding Calvin Johnson on a 47-yard TD pass.

In the second, Bryant added another field goal to give the Falcons a 13-7 lead. Stafford threw a deep interception on the next drive, but it turned out alright after Turner fumbled the ball back to the Lions. Bell redeemed himself from earlier by pounding his way into the end zone from eight yards out to give the Lions the lead.

However, Matt Ryan led the offense down the field quickly before halftime, finding Julio Jones on a six-yard TD pass to give the lead back to the Falcons, 20-14.

The Falcons continued with the momentum in the third, quickly scoring a TD on a 46-yard TD pass from Ryan to Jacquizz Rodgers. The Falcons failed to score on the two-point conversion.

Afterward, the Lions once again found themselves punting out of their own end zone, resulting in another Falcons field goal. Unfortunately, Bell coughed the ball up again in Lions territory, and another Falcons field goal extended the lead to 32-14 going into the fourth.

After Jason Hanson kicked a field goal and Bryant kicking one right back, the Lions needed a quick score for any hope of comeback. They got one when Stafford found a wide-open Brian Robiskie down the middle of the field. Robiskie broke a tackle and took it to the house for the big, 75-yard TD reception.

The Falcons added another field goal to make it 38-24. The Lions got another touchdown from Mikel Leshoure, but it took much longer as only a minute remained in the game. The onside kick was recovered by the Falcons, and the Lions were dealt another loss, this time 38-31.

Stafford went 26/37 for 379 yards, two TDs and one interception. Leshoure only rushed for 26 yards to go with his TD but caught four passes for 48 yards. Johnson had a monster day, catching eight for 135 yards to go with his TD.

For the Falcons, Ryan threw 24/36 for 286 yards and two TDs, Turner rushed 28 times for 89 yards and one TD, and Tony Gonzalez caught four passes for 73 yards.

Madden record: 8-7
Real record: 4-10

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Quick thoughts on Pinball FX 2: Zen Classics

I've been playing more video game pinball lately, this time Pinball FX 2: Zen Classics for the Xbox 360. Here are some thoughts on the game.

Zen Studios recently released four tables from its Zen Pinball lineup for Xbox 360 owners. Tesla, Eldorado, Shaman and V12 have been remastered with better physics and graphics, and feature one Achievement for each table. If you've already played these tables for the PS3, you won't miss much, but Xbox-only pinball players won't be disappointed with the selection.

Tesla has a cool steampunk vibe that lets you bring crazy inventions to life while Shaman features challenging spin discs that make the ball go wild. Eldorado is a very open table with an Indiana Jones feel, and V12 is a very basic car-themed table kind of like Pinball FX's Speed Machine table. Playing these tables really shows you how the series has evolved from the early days to the more elaborate tables Zen puts out now.

Watch out for my full review at

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Nintendo TVii launching Dec. 20 for the Wii U

Nintendo has announced the much talked about Nintendo TVii service will launch Dec. 20. There were questions lately when it was actually coming out, so surprise! It's out tomorrow in the United States and Canada.

Nintendo TVii is a free service that allows users to access all their content sources in one place, from cable providers to Hulu Plus. Owners can go on Miiverse, Facebook and Twitter and share comments with others using the Wii U Gamepad. For example, while watching TV you'll be able to access other websites like Rotten Tomatoes or IMBD to get more information on a show or movie, or you can find out sports stats from a game you're watching.

The launch will support cable and satellite providers, as well as integration with Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus subscriptions in the U.S. Netflix and TiVo integration is expected in early 2013 in the U.S., although Wii U owners with Netflix can still access the application.

I've been looking forward to trying this out since launch, and I'm sure others have, too. The wait is finally over.

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Madden NFL 13 Week 15 simulation: Detroit Lions vs. Arizona Cardinals

The Detroit Lions visit the Arizona Cardinals this weekend. Here is a simulation of Sunday's matchup.

After an early Matthew Stafford interception, the Cardinals struck first with a 39-yard Jay Feely field goal. Feely would kick another one to give the Cardinals a 6-0 lead after the first quarter.

Jason Hanson would get the Lions on the board in the second with a field goal of his own, but Feely would boot two more - one after another Stafford interception- to give the Cardinals a 12-3 lead. Before halftime ... you guessed it, Hanson would kick another one to make it 12-6.

The field goal fest continued in the third quarter with another Hanson three-pointer to make it 12-9. However, Stafford and the Lions' offense would finally put together a long drive - 12 plays in fact - ending it with a 1-yard Calvin Johnson touchdown reception to give the Lions a 16-12 lead after three quarters of play.

The Cardinals would cut the lead to one point with another Feely field goal in the fourth. Hanson had a chance to extend the lead back to four but came up short on a long 54-yard field goal attempt. With good field position, Ryan Lindley would find Larry Fitzgerald for a devastating reception inside the 20-yard line with a few minutes remaining. Feely would boot his sixth field goal of the game to give the Cardinals an 18-16 lead.

Even with all three timeouts, the Lions could not get in field goal range and ran out of time, losing a heartbreaker.

Stafford threw 26/48 for 237 yards, one TD and two interceptions. Mikel Leshoure had a good day on the ground, rushing for 113 yards, and Johnson caught four passes for 33 yards to go with his TD.

For the Cardinals, Lindley went 17/35 for 192 yards and one interception, Beanie Wells rushed for 54 yards, and Fitzgerald caught five passes for 66 yards.

Madden record: 8-6
Real record: 4-9

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Here's a neat Nintendo infographic filled with numbers and nostalgia

I enjoy looking at statistics and numbers about anything in the video game industry, and here's a neat infographic courtesy of Emily Torres from It's a nice little Nintendo history lesson pointing out their playing card days in 1889 to total sales numbers of all their consoles. Plus, it has all the cool, old-school Nintendo sprites and details. Enjoy.


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Monday, December 10, 2012

Collector selling all 721 Super Nintendo games released in North America for $25,000. Is it worth it?

An individual on eBay is selling the complete North American Super Nintendo collection - all 721 games - for $24,999 or best offer. According to the description, all of these games were sold at retail in the United States, Mexico and Canada; and this lot includes all the boxes and 84 percent of the manuals. The full inventory of games is listed on the eBay link.

It's a very impressive collection that likely took many years and dollars to complete, especially since they come in all those ugly boxes many of us just threw away. Despite that, it's still not worth $25,000. There's too few rare games in there for that high of value, plus all the manuals aren't in the lot, something the real hardcore collectors will scoff at. Many offers have been declined already; I would assume many joke ones. This will be a tough sell, unless some really obsessive fan breaks out the checkbook.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Street Fighter X Mega Man unites the Blue Bomber with Ryu, Chun Li, Blanka and more on Dec. 17

Capcom is bringing Mega Man back ... but not how you expected it. They are releasing Street Fighter X Mega Man on Dec. 17, a free fan-made crossover game of the company's two iconic franchises. It will be available for download at Street Fighter is currently celebrating 25 years while Mega Man will do so in 2013.

Watching the trailer, the game looks fun and has all that classic 8-bit goodness. Eight bosses featuring original Street Fighter characters like Ryu, Chun Li and Blanka will have unique moves and strategies, just like in other Mega Man games. I'll definitely try it out. It's free after all.

Still, this is a fan-made game. What I would really like to see is the revival of Mega Man Legends 3, which was disappointingly canceled for the 3DS last year. How about we celebrate 25 years of Mega Man next year with the release of that game, Capcom? Pretty please?

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Madden NFL 13 Week 14 simulation: Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers

The Detroit Lions head to cold Lambeau Field in Green Bay for a Sunday night matchup. Here is a simulation of the game.

The Packers got the ball first, but it wouldn't last long after Ndamukong Suh delivered a crushing sack to quarterback Aaron Rodgers, forcing a fumble that was scooped up by Cliff Avril and taken in for the touchdown for the early 7-0 lead.

Amazingly, Suh would cause another Rodgers fumble later in the quarter to stop a drive deep in Lions territory. But later, kicker Mason Crosby would boot a short field goal to get the Packers on the board before the first quarter ended.

The Packers would cut the lead to one point with another Crosby field goal after Matthew Stafford tossed an interception. The Lions' defense stepped up again, picking off Rodgers twice. Chris Houston and Stephen Tulloch added interceptions to their stat line, and one resulted in a Stafford-to-Mike Thomas connection for a touchdown to extend the Lions' lead to 14-6.

However, the Packers weren't done yet. After catching a pass, Randall Cobb broke a tackle and scampered 45 yards down the field and into the end zone to close in on the Lions 14-13 before halftime.

In the third, the Lions answered back with an impressive opening drive, capped off by a 2-yard Mikel Leshoure rushing TD. Jacob Lacey joined the Rodgers interception party afterward, and Stafford found Brandon Pettigrew on a 10-yard TD score to give the Lions a 28-13 lead. Crosby would kick another field goal before the quarter's end.

After Hanson and Crosby each hit a field goal near the beginning of the fourth, Greg Jennings joined the scoring frenzy when he broke past the Lions' secondary on a monstrous, 76-yard TD reception to make it 31-26 Lions.

With time running out and the Packers moving the ball down the field, Houston made the big play, intercepting Rodgers in the end zone for his second pick of the day and Rodgers' fourth. The offense was able to run out the clock, securing the hard-fought victory.

Stafford went 22/38 for 270 yards, two TDs and two interceptions. Leshoure ran 79 yards on 19 carries and one TD. Calvin Johnson caught six passes for 90 yards, and Pettigrew caught seven for 85 yards to go with his TD.

Rodgers threw 25/33 for 363 yards, two TDs and four interceptions, and Jennings caught five passes for 109 yards and one TD.

Madden record: 8-5
Real record: 4-8

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Composer Austin Wintory gets a well-deserved Grammy nomination for his work on Journey

The 55th annual Grammy Award nominations are out and an awesome video game is in the spotlight. Composer Austin Wintory received a nomination under the category Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for his amazing work on the hit PSN title Journey.

It is up against some great competition including John Williams for "The Adventures of Tintin - The Secret of the Unicorn," Ludovic Bource for "The Artist," Hans Zimmer for "The Dark Knight Rises," Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and Howard Shore for "Hugo." It's not often you see a video game soundtrack get a nomination, but Wintory's work on Journey is simply brilliant and deserving of the honor.

Enjoy the nomination, and good luck at the Grammys.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Here is what Andrew Luck's game-winning TD against the Detroit Lions looks like in Tecmo Super Bowl

If you threw the remote against the wall in disgust at the Detroit Lions yesterday, I don't blame you. That was a bad loss. If you saw it coming, I don't blame you either. That's so Detroit Lions. If there's one positive of Andrew Luck destroying the 1 percent chance of the Lions making the playoffs this year, the final play of the game has been immortalized in Tecmo Super Bowl fashion with the actual broadcast mixed in. It's still painful to watch ... just not as painful.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Madden NFL 13 Week 13 simulation: Detroit Lions vs. Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts visit Ford Field this weekend to take on the Detroit Lions. Here is a simulation of Sunday's game.

After a couple of punts from both sides, Luck made the first mistake of the day by tossing an easy interception to Jacob Lacey, giving the Lions good field position. Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson took advantage, connecting on a big 42-yard touchdown score in double coverage to give the Lions the early 7-0 lead. Jason Hanson would kick a 27-yard field goal to extend the lead later in the first quarter.

In the second Stafford threw his first interception of the game, but the Lions' defense continued to dominate and forced the Colts to punt. Hanson hit a long 49-yard field goal to give the Lions a 13-0 lead at halftime.

The offensive woes began in the third quarter and the Lions found themselves going nowhere the whole time. The defense did their best to stop the Colts, allowing two Adam Vinatieri field goals. The Lions held onto the touchdown lead going into the fourth.

That lead wouldn't last much longer. After more offensive troubles, Luck led the Colts on an impressive drive, capped off by an 8-yard touchdown run by Vick Ballard, tying the game 13-13.

With time slowly ticking away, the Lions looked to take the lead back and put the pressure on the Colts. It didn't happen as Stafford tossed a damaging 42-yard interception return for a touchdown to Cassius Vaughn, giving the Colts their first lead of the game. They would easily run out the clock to secure the 20-13 victory.

Stafford threw 16/31 for 207 yards and one TD and two interceptions. Mikel Leshoure rushed for 68 yards on 29 carries and Johnson caught four passes for 82 yards and one TD. Ndamukong Suh, who's been the talk of the town lately for all the wrong reasons, had two tackles on the day, including one sack.

Madden record: 7-5
Real record: 4-7

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