Monday, December 20, 2004

Toe-MAY-toe, Toe-MAH-toe ... it's all the same site

First off, I need to tell you guys about an interesting new toy I've found online. Anyone who knows me, knows I love using Google for my searches. Today I was introduced to another search engine called Clusty. Clusty does a damned good job on searches as well ... plus it groups them together into clusters. I'm facinated by the amount of info I pulled from Clusty, and I'll be certainly using it at least as a backup to Google.

So, I'm doing a search on my name in Clusty because ... well, I have an ego to feed ... and I came across something that surprised me. Apparently I have credits listed at Rotten Tomatoes. Check it out here. As of today, they only have twelve of my reviews listed, but I'm surprised to even see that, considering I never submitted the articles to them. Hell, that alone made me start to feel like I've really "made it" ... or I'm at least on my way.

And so, it's back to putting my nose to the grindstone. I've got a review of SmackDown! Vs. RAW that went up on Electric Playground's site over the weekend, and I'm writing a few more reviews for them this week. Also, I'm putting together an interview and a preview for GameSpy. Plus, I'm shooting off a number of letters to various publishers to drum up some more freelance work. All that AND I'm working on Visionary Ink.

Oh, and I decided to get myself into the holiday spirit by pulling out the greatest Christmas CD ever made ... Tales From The Crypt: Have Yourself A Scary Little Christmas. Ahh, nothing like singing along with such classics as "We Wish You'd Bury the Missus" and "Deck The Halls With Parts Of Charlie". Why, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Either that, or my indigestion is acting up.

EA ... it keeps growing and growing

Hot on the heels of Electronic Arts' exclusive NFL deal comes news that the software publisher is trying to take over some of its biggest competition. According to a recent EA press release, the company recently acquired about 19.9 percent interest in rival publisher/developer UbiSoft Entertainment. The shares of stock were purchased as a block from Talpa Beheer B.V., and is awaiting final antitrust clearance from the U.S. government. The financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

What makes this news even more interesting is that UbiSoft has previously reported a stock float of 69 percent. For those who don't follow the stock market, the "float" is the number of shares available for public trading that aren't owned by the company's management. That means that (if the numbers are correct) UbiSoft management owns a solid 21 percent controlling interest in the company. With EA now purchasing 19.9 percent, it (EA) would only need another 1.2 percent to gain controlling interest of UbiSoft. Considering UbiSoft's impressive library of titles, including the Tom Clancy and Prince of Persia titles, it's not surprising to see EA trying to get their hands on the company. It could be only a matter of time before we see Sam Fisher sneaking around in the neighborhood of the Sims.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Look!! Another round of gaming news!!

It's time again for another round of headlines.

  • In case you haven't heard, the biggest news lately to shake the gaming community is Electronic Arts' lucrative five year licensing deal with the NFL and the NFL Players Association. The deal, rumoured to have cost EA between $200 and $300 million dollars, gives EA the exclusive rights to use NFL teams, players, and stadiums for the next five years. Basically, this means that if you want to get an actual NFL video game for the next five years, you're choices will be narrowed down to Madden and NFL Street. And people say Microsoft is the master of monopolies.

  • In related news, Midway Games seems to be fairly unphased by the EA/NFL deal. In a press release issued today, Midway announced the development of a new unlicensed football game called Blitz: Playmakers. Since the game is not using actual NFL teams, players, etc., Midway is not under the scrutiny of the "family-friendly" NFL executives. This means Blitz will get more violence, more attitude, and even the occasional off-field violence and drug use.
    “Midway's Chicago studio has laid the foundation over the past year for what is the ultimate alternative to watered down NFL sanctioned football games,” said Steve Allison, chief marketing officer of Midway. “No longer bound to the NFL license, there will be no league restrictions on content and gamers will finally experience what makes playing a football videogame really fun: off-field controversies, dirty hits, excessive celebrations and much more. Blitz: Playmakers buyers will be assured of one thing – our game will include all the gameplay and fun the NFL won’t allow."
    The new game is scheduled for a Q4 2005 release.

  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is undoubtedly the best selling game of the year on the PlayStation 2. Well, Xbox owners won't be left out in the cold for much longer. Take-Two Interactive has announced that the game will be coming to the Xbox and PC sometime in Q2 of 2005. Sorry Gamecube owners. Still no GTA love for you.

  • Speaking of the Big N, Nintendo of Japan quietly announced that they will be releasing a special adapter for the Nintendo DS (and the GBA SP) that will allow the unit to play video files (MPEG-4) and audio files (MP3) off of a standard SD card. Undoubtedly, this is designed to compete with the video and audio features in Sony's PSP handheld system.

  • Yep, the PSP has officially been released ... in Japan at least. According to published reports, Sony's handheld sold through more than 80 percent of its shipped units on its first day of release. Want one? You can shell out about $500 on eBay for a Japanese unit. Looks like I may have to check the couch for spare change.

Well, there's a lot more news to report on, and I'll be posting more later. Also, be on the lookout for more additions here, as well as a new and more ambitious project coming up called Visionary Ink. Also, one of the things I'll probably be adding here is a shop for Visionary Ink and Stacking the Deck merchandise (ooo ... ahhh).

Stay Tuned

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Good things and small packages

So I got my refurbished PS2 Slim in today. I hooked it up and decided to put it through its paces (especially considering that it's NOT a brand new system). Things seem to work great. In fact, the newer model seems to have a faster read time than the older ones did. I'm genuinely impressed with it. Of course now my Xbox looks like a behemoth next to it. If you want an idea on the size, I snapped a shot of the new system and posted it on the moblog. I may post another here later. Right now, it's back to work though.

Later all.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Okay ... so it's been a while

Things have been pretty hectic the past few weeks. I went down to Jacksonville for a few weeks. It was supposed to be no more than two, but circumstances forced me to stay longer. During the trip, I also ended up losing my PS2 and 24 total Xbox games. It's a long story, but suffice it to say, they went the way of the dodo w/ no chance for recovery. So today I ordered a refurbished PS2 from EBGames just so I can have a system to do my work on. Do you know how hard it is to find one NEW around Christmas? Ah well. Que cera cera.

In work news, I've got a few things I'm working on at the moment. For EP, I'm writing up reviews on Smackdown Vs. RAW (PS2), Super Mario 64 DS (DS), and Mr. DRILLER Drill Spirits (DS). Funny thing I learned about Mr. DRILLER. The main character is actually the son of the original Dig Dug. I was an addict when it came to Dig Dug ... and I'm turning into one for Mr. DRILLER. I just wish that Namco had actually tried to make the touch screen on the DS useful. For GameSpy, I'm working on a preview of Super Monkey Ball Deluxe for the Xbox ... though it won't see the light of day until February. Also, I'm working on an interview with Christina Z., former Witchblade writer and current writer of the upcoming BloodRayne comic book. I've known Christina for a few years, and she's a great person and a talented writer. The interview ought to be a lot of fun. I'm also trying to snag an interview with the developers of the new Stubbs the Zombie game coming out using the Halo engine.

In other news, it looks like I'll be relocating again soon. I'll keep you guys posted on the wheres and the whens.