Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Are two screens better than one?

So, I picked up a Nintendo DS yesterday for work. I've been more than a
little curious about the system. The dual screens are unusual enough,
but the touch screen in particular is an odd twist in gaming. Yeah,
yeah. I know that PDAs use touch screens, but it's nothing like this.
Using the touch screen on the DS really does a lot to bring players
deeper into the game.

I started off playing the Metroid demo packaged with the system. It
took a little bit for me to get the hang of using the touch screen, but
after getting past the slight learning curve, I found the controls to be
a fun new experience. Graphically, the system packs a pretty good punch
too. While the DS is essentially a portable N64, the graphics actually
look a lot more crisp than most of the games I've ever seen on the
classic home system.

So, after playing the demo, I'm really looking forward to the getting
the full game. To tide my over until then though, I picked up a copy of
Super Mario 64 DS. SM64 still ranks as one of the best games of all
time, and this portable version is even better than the original. I
hesitate to call the game a remake simply because there is SO much
changed and added to the game. The most obvious change is the addition
of the 3 other characters: Yoshi, Luigi, and Wario. Each of the
characters has his own set of special moves and abilities, adding a new
aspect of gameplay to the original game. And then there are the
minigames. These cool little additions all add up to make SM64 DS a
rock solid game.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

One LONG day

Okay, so the day started with a nine hour drive from Virginia to
Florida. Now, I'm visiting Jack on a job. For those of you unfamiliar
with my friend Jack, he is the definition of a jack of all trades (no
pun intended). He's a PI, DJ, Bouncer, and limo driver. Tonight, he's
in limo mode.

So, we're in the limo driving some people around who've been partying
all night. After a couple of the girls decided they wanted some "extra"
services, Jack and I decided it was best to keep to ourselves. These
people took "party hearty" to a whole new level ... but not in that good

Now, I've finally wound down for the night. I've got some things to
work on this week, including one particularly important situation.
Hopefully everything will work out well. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Moblog Fun

Okay, so I got my new Sidekick II cell phone today. First off, it's a great damned phone. Beyond all of the ways it helps with my work, it also has a a basic camera built in. You know what that means, right? Moblogging!! For those of you unfamiliar with this latest in online geekdom, "moblog" is short for "mobile blog". It's basically an online scrapbook where people post pictures instead of standard blog entries. Most people use this in conjunction w/ camera phones to capture those oddball moments that come up and to share them with the online community.

Well, if you take a look at the links on the lefthand side of the page, you'll see a new entry topping things off: "Stacking the Deck Moblog". I've also tweaked out the template code, so it SHOULD also post a thumbnail of the most recent picture anytime it goes live on the moblog.

Hey, what can I say? Anything to keep all of you entertained.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Previously on "Stacking the Deck"

Okay ... this is more for me than you guys. I decided to put together a list of link to my various articles current through today. I got tired of having to constantly track down the URLs. Anyway, if you missed any of these before, or just feel nostalgic:

First off, there's my work at GameSpy:

Shaman King: Power of Spirit (PS2)

The Urbz (GBA)

Scaler (Xbox)

Scaler (PS2)

The Incredibles (PS2)

The Incredibles (Xbox)

The Incredibles (GCN)

The Incredibles (GBA)

Outlaw Golf 2 (Xbox)

Colin McRae Rally 2005 (Xbox)

Robotech Invasion (Xbox)

Robotech Invasion (PS2)

Conflict Vietnam (Xbox)

Conflict Vietnam (PS2)

Rocky Legends (PS2)

Dukes of Hazzard: Return of the General Lee (Xbox)

Vietcong: Purple Haze (Xbox)

Monster Hunter (PS2) – preview

Monster Hunter (PS2)

GunGrave Overdose (PS2)

NASCAR 2005 Chase for the Cup (Xbox)

NASCAR 2005 Chase for the Cup (PS2)

A Dog's Life (PS2)

Indy Car Series 2005 (Xbox)

Spyro Orange: The Cortex Conspiracy (GBA)

Crash Bandicoot Purple: Ripto's Rampage (GBA)

McFarlane's Evil Prophecy (PS2)

The Death (Jr.) of the Comic Industry – interview

Comics to Consoles – "Top 10" feature

Comics to Consoles, part 2: When Good Comics Go Bad – "Top 10" feature

Jimmy Palmiotti Talks Up The Punisher – interview

Solid Snake Signs a Book Deal – article

And then there's the work at Electric Playground:

City of Heroes (PC)

Red Dead Revolver (Xbox)

Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA)

Transformers (PS2)

X-Men Legends (Xbox)

Spider-Man 2 (Xbox)

Star Wars: Battlefront (Xbox)

Rocky Legends (PS2)

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

Mortal Kombat: Deception (Xbox)

There are a lot of other things I've done as well. A couple of pieces for Artxilla's subsite called "Gamexilla", and all my work at Play Magazine. Play doesn't have their articles online though, and I'll get to the Gamexilla stuff later. Also, there's more posted all the time. I've got the Halo 2 and Smackdown vs. Raw reviews for EP, and I've got a couple of reviews and previews waiting to get posted at GameSpy. Like I said though, this is mainly because I got tired of having to track down all the links when it came to sending off writng samples.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Must ... sleep ... now

Okay, obviously the big news of the day is the midnight release of Halo 2. I've got it. I played it. And after some sleep, I'll play it some more. I WANT to play more now, but I REALLY need some sleep. So far though, it has lived up to all the hype.

It's been a rough time with little sleep. I just wrapped up a handful of reviews over the past few days. First off, there's my review of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2) for Electric Playground. Then there are my GameSpy reviews of The Incredibles for the PS2 and GBA. Right now, I'm also working on reviews of The Urbz for the GBA, Halo 2, and Shaman King for the PS2.

Now, having said all that, I promise to post more later .. really. Right now though, the bed is calling to me.

Monday, November 01, 2004

"Exclusive" news and more

There's quite a bit of fun news making waves in the video game industry as of late. Oh, and the "exclusive" news? Well, that tops the list:

  • Capcom's not-so-exclusive title. After all the hype built up by Gamecube fans over the impending release of Resident Evil 4, Capcom has just announced that the title will be making an appearance on the PS2. Siting consumer demand and requests from shareholders, Capcom has announced that RE4 will be jumping ship to the PS2 towards the end of 2005. For those of you keeping score, the Gamecube version is scheduled to come out on January 11th. Capcom also said that each version of the game will be tailored to the strengths of each console.

  • All "Halo" breaks loose in Stubbs. If you haven't heard of Wideload Games yet, odds are you will. Wideload is made up of a group of veteran developers, many of whom used to work at Bungie on a little game called Halo. And knowing a good thing when they've worked on it, the guys at Wideload are using the Halo engine in their debut title, Stubbs the Zombie in "Rebel Without a Pulse". According to the press release:
    What begins as one zombie's search for revenge quickly escalates into an all-out war between the living and the dead - but this time it's the zombie fighting for truth, justice and the redemption of true love. Yes, it's a love story too.
    The game is due out on Xbox, PC, and Mac summer of next year. And while it's still a ways off, I have to say I'm really looking forward to this game. Check it out for yourself at the game's official website.

  • "Arrggh. Thar be pirates in Nintendo waters!!" Nintendo has begun a serious crackdown on counterfeit systems littering the countryside in shopping malls everywhere. C'mon, you've all seem 'em. Many of these systems are designed to look like N64 controllers, and plug directly into the television loaded with a handful of pirated NES games. Nintendo has started in its home state of Washington, obtaining restraining orders against the import and sale of these fake systems. In response to those orders, authorities will seize any of the counterfeit systems from shopping malls and other retailers in the Washington area.

  • "Let me tell you about the Matrix, Neo." More news on the development of the upcoming Matrix Online video game. Warner Bros. and Sega have annouunced that they have signed many of the stars from the Matrix trilogy to voice their characters in the game. Sorry folks, no Keanu this time around (you DID see the end of Revolutions, right?). However, some of those that WILL be reprising their roles include: Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus), Monica Bellucci (Persephone), Mary Alice (Oracle), Lambert Wilson (The Merovingian), Harold Perrineau Jr. (Link), Harry Lennix (Lock), Nona Gaye (Zee), Collin Chou (Seraph) and Tanveer Atwal (Sati).

  • The New Old Republic. Anyone out there remember a little franchise called Star Wars? I thought you might. Anyway, one of the best video games to ever carry the Star Wars brand was Knights of the Old Republic. Never one to rest on their laurels, the folks at LucasArts have announced that the official site for KOTOR II: The Sith Lords has gone live. The game takes place five years after the events of the first game. And this time around, the choices you make not only determine your path, but the path of those who follow you as well. Check it out for yourself.

More news to comes. Oh ... one more week 'til Halo 2.