Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gamefly Sale

Annoying game rental service Gamefly is doing their annual post-holiday sale, and there are some good titles to be had. The email alert I received showed Odin Sphere for $19.99, although it appears that ship has already sailed. But if quirky Japanese PS2 games are your bag, GrimGrimoire is still available for $21.99.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Most Jocose MMORPG

Rich, our community director, forwarded along the "best press release ever" for ELF Online. He put it best: "Honestly, I don’t understand why a company would go to all the trouble of making an English website and then not localize it properly. Nor their press releases, for that matter." Indeed!
The Date for ELF Online Open Beta is Announced

Happymmo is announcing the start of Open Beta for Elf Online, the most jocose MMORPG. The Open Beta will start at 8:00 pm EST (GMT-5) on December 21th 2007.

Many improvements have been made to the open beta version which is quite stable, Happymmo has decided to start the Open Beta test with the coming of new year, bringing the global audience a prank X’mas. In order to mantain a fair in-game environment, all close beta testers data will be deleted. Please register a new account to log into the game, player datas during open bata will be remained for ever. Any player who create new character will get items worth $90 ( Plus-calcium potato $2 and Refreshing Talent Point Card $88)

A Open Beta client will be released soon, please stay tuned to Elf Online official website for the latest information.

Funny Pets:
Elf Online has abandoned those animals symbolizing power, such as deity bird and holy beast. Instead, a lot of amusing pets have been adopted in this game. For example, the Ringu in “The Ring”, Cockroach in “Flirting Scholar”. -- Even the toilet can be treated as a pet.

Absurd Epic Quest:
The philosophy of “Happiness stems from pipe dream” pervades the whole game. What you will meet in the game are various eccentric quests and the “spoof” dialogues. You never know what you will encounter, “Hit the devil and rescue the princess” or “Hit the princess and rescue the devil” ~Sorry, you are in my world, what you can do is enjoying it!

Prank system :
You can not foresee that you were to encounter in the Elf Online. Turnning into a little pig while fight with man-eating monsters.
Apparently, the beta has been available since December 21th. If you can do is enjoying it, I would love to hear your impressions! Did you get the calcium potato or hit the devil and rescue the princess? Do tell!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

FusionFall Japan

It bears mentioning that I stumbled across a Japanese blog post about FusionFall. I certainly think the game could have appeal in Japan. Even though many of CN's characters are not big over there, the designs and style translate well. It will be interesting to see as we get closer to an international release.

Anyway, I translated the blog post, which was pretty funny. Though the poster mentions that "Real work is 2008 schedule, but it seems that presently beta edition is open (no charge)," he also states the following: "With temporarily, under the clothes of number 5 the spats." Okay!

General tone of the reader responses appears positive, with mentions of PPGZ, Teen Titans, and other properties of note.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

FusionFall Beta!

Don't you want to sign up for the FusionFall beta? You know you do! It's easy! register for our game at the official site, then make sure you sign up for beta here!

We're just beginning to let people into the game. It's definitely an exciting and busy and stressful time. Assuming I get freed up, I will begin to post more development thoughts about the game here, so watch this space! (All three of you.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

LEGO Universe Site

Happy belated Thanksgiving! According to my inbox, the LEGO Universe official site launched just before the holiday. Though there is not much content up there at the moment, they are runnning both a "name our newsletter" and "design our logo" contest. Jeez, what else to they want the users to do? How about "design our quests" and "script our game"? Just kidding, of course.

The game site also benefits from the official LEGO message boards, so there's a link to those, too. But otherwise, not much to see here, folks. I will keep checking back to see what's happening, though.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's-a Mii!

Hooray! Super Mario Galaxy is here, and my pre-order should be arriving tomorrow. Fortunately, I just finished Metroid Prime 3, so I'm ready for some hot Italian plumber action. At some point, I'll post some thoughts about Prime. But for now, that blonde bounty chick Samus Aran is totally upstaged by Mr. Mario.

Now, I love game blogs. They are great for the daily dose of the web's best game news and clips, but in terms of thoughtful insight...well, not so much. Interestingly, Kotaku's Mike Fahey has posted some thoughts on the arrival of SMG, and I found his assessment to be extremely fair and well-written...not to mention getting me totally psyched for the game! (Granted, I haven't played the thing either, even though I've seen it in action once or twice and heard from those who got to try it that it was awesome.) Kudos to Kotaku and Mr. Fahey for this entertaining review.

Finally, I spent a little time last night on the Wii's recently-launched "Check Mii Out" channel. (Stand by as I taste the "Check Mii Out" channel like a fine nerd wine.) "I find it to be fun, yet somewhat disappointing. And with a hint of unseen potential." Good: the "popular" Miis that you can browse are a total hoot, and you can download your favorites directly to your console. Last night, I saw amazing Mii versions of Darth Vader (pictured), Jack Black, Michael Jackson, Albert Einstein, Charlie Brown, that guy from Naruto, Dr. Zoidberg and more. Also good: you can enter your own Mii creations into contests. (Current contest: Mario without his hat.) Bad: It is not clear how you can track the Miis you upload. For example, I uploaded a Samurai Jack Mii and a Dexter Mii. How do I know if anyone "checks Mii out"? Do I have to hope that, in the off-chance, my creations appear in the Top 50? Not likely! This kinda sucks, but can probably be easily improved with a "track my Miis" feature later. Also bad: you can browse Miis both "in your area" and "worldwide" but there is no indication of exactly where these Miis are being picked from. And what if I want to browse the Miis in New York, or in Michigan? Not an option. Also bad: you can't browse Miis by type, you can only see their "friends". Selecting Darth Vader's friends, for example, just pulled up a whole bunch of similar Darth Vader Miis. Bo-ring. Despite these flaws, I remained entertained throughout the "Check Mii Out" experience. I am still amazed at the variety one can create with the Mii tool set. I am actually starting to think that this particular feature of the Wii is sort of a sleeping giant. There are so many things that can be done with the Miis, especially once we get some more robust multiplayer games on the platform. Even in its early stages, the "Check Mii Out" channel shows lots of potential. And it is always exciting to see the proliferation of fun user-generated content, when it is so often just the opposite.

Games on Wax

Okay, this is just amazing. I can't believe I'd never encountered this before, and thanks to KJ for bringing it to my attention. Apparently, back in the good ol' 1980s, bands were recording games on vinyl that could be played back on the ZX Spectrum. Not surprisingly, the majority of these bands were from the UK, where the Spectrum was most popular. (It never really took off in the USA, as far as I know.) How did it work? Listeners could dump audio "code" from the vinyl to tape and play the tape in their Spectrum. Sounds like a dicey proposition, but I suppose it worked. It's hilarious to think that, back in the day, an audio tape could contain a game. Heck, I remember playing "Hunt the Wumpus" off a tape on a Texas Instruments something-or-other.

Anyway, even more incredibly, some of these games have survived and been preserved on the Interwebs. Why, you can play the Thompson Twins Adventure right now if you want to! It appears to be some kind of text adventure in which you try to prevent the Thompson Twins from dying of heat stroke. Maybe you can "lay hands on Thompson Twins" to give them a health boost! Har-de-har-har. Simply incredible. I applaud the geeks who took the time to make sure these random games didn't get lost into the ether. I don't have the time to really look into this at the moment (I shouldn't even be posting right now), but I plan to get back to this at some point and play these things. For example, how awesome is the following:
The goal of 'The Shaky Game' is to drive Shakin' Stevens' car to the center of a maze while avoiding bats, who bite you.
I love Shaky's line when the player dies:
OH DEAR!! a bat bit you
Oh, Shaky, you gotta watch out for those bats!

Battle Garden

This month's Games For Windows magazine plugs a little (Japanese?) Flash game called Battle Garden. It's a shooter on rails, and extremely fun and fast for a Flash game. There's not much variety, as the game simply loops the same dozen or so scenarios over and over, but the gun mechanics make it worth it. Nerdy and noteworthy are the sound effects -- you will recognize some gun sounds lifted directly from the N64 classic, Perfect Dark. Oh, and the headshots are fantastic...your opponents literally explode! The game is on many different "free game" sites, but GFW posted this link. Try it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Unbelievable Game Auction

An incredible eBay auction that is worth looking at: over 1,700 pieces including some random handhelds, TV games, Texas Instruments, yadda yadda. Most impressive is the seller's painstaking listing of every item, lovingly crafted by an obvious game fan. It must be really hard for this person to part with all this stuff, but I'm sure it will find a good home. Current bid: $7600. You must REALLY like games if you want to buy this collection!

Thanks to Gideon for the head's up.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Don't Stop Soloing!

Seriously, how does anyone even have the finger dexterity to do this? It's like a super power or something.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Massively

The Joystiq/Fanboy network has just launched Massively, a new blog dedicated to MMOs. This would explain why the Joystiq editors were looking for MMO-knowledgable writers a month or two back...

Looks pretty good, although no mention of FusionFall anywhere. C'mon, guys!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Zero Punctuation

If you are a gamer you are probably already familiar with Zero Punctuation, a collection of game reviews by some guy with an accent named Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw. Sometimes complimentary, usually scathing, but always hilarious, this weekly video column is not to be missed.

Of course, I did in fact miss it for a number of weeks and caught myself up. Enjoy hugely entertaining reviews of Halo 3, Peggle, and BioShock, just to name a few. (Not to mention some funny MMO commentary in relation to Tabula Rasa.)

Even if "Yahtzee" is nasty -- and he usually is -- he's almost always right. Which makes this video column such a breath of fresh air. Plus, the little cartoons and asides are often hysterical and the eclectic mix of games (did I mention Peggle?) means there's something for everyone. Although I'd really like to see what this guy has to say about Madden!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Seeing Triple

One of these things is not like the other. Can you tell which one it is? Timeshift (upper left) is a shooter in which the player wears a special suit that grants cool powers. Crysis (upper right) is a shooter in which the player wears a special suit that grants cool powers. Haze (lower left) is a shooter in which the player wears a special suit that grants cool powers. Bert (lower right) is a muppet of questionable sexual orientation that lives with Ernie. Now...which one is not like the others? I'll bet you can't guess.

Seriously? This is the best game developers can come up with? Granted, these games are probably all technical marvels and play vastly different from each other. (I have especially high hopes for Haze, since Free Radical's Timesplitters series totally rules.) However, on the face of it, I truly cannot believe the lack of originality here. Hardcore gamers cry for more innovation in their titles, yet they continually eat this shit up. Once again, I don't doubt that these games are probably fun to play -- haven't tried them myself, but all three have decent buzz. And yet, how many "guy in a super suit" games do I really want or need? For that matter, how many "space marine" games do I want to play? Or "orcs and elves" games? Or "distressed future" games? They really all start to blend together. Still, good games that break the mold tend to be critical favorites but financial disasters. Can you blame developers for retreading the same ground over and over? This is the very same dilemma Hollywood faces with movies, I suppose. Once the overhead skyrockets, the risk-taking plummets. Solution: stop buying this stuff!

Here's an idea: an anal-retentive pigeon aficionado dons a space marine super suit and goes into a distressed future in which he must slow time in order to fight space orcs from another dimension. I call it Cybert. Would you buy it? Hey, it doesn't sound half bad...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Brutal Legend Site

Sierra has posted the official Brutal Legend site, and it looks pretty cool. You can join a crowd of metalheads and put in your own favorite rock quote, although the quotes are really small and nearly impossible to read. The coolest feature, however, is that spinning your mousewheel makes the engines go VROOM!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Portal: Flash Version

Don't have a 360? Looking for a cool Flash game? Check out this cool 2D version of Portal, complete with dozens of levels. Pretty impressive, actually.

New!

Welcome to my new game-centric blog, Metroid Crossing. I am devoting this site to games, game design and digital flights of fancy. I have no specific interest in the Metroid series of games per se, other than that they are some of my favorite games of all time and the titular little bugger looks pretty sweet on a sign.

By way of introductions, I am currently the content designer on Cartoon Network's first MMO, Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall. Generally speaking, I am the lead writer on the project. Specifically, I am responsible for quest design and a little bit o' world design, including the creation of objects, characters and points of interest. I am also scripting the in-game dialogue for all the characters. Not a bad way to make a living.

FusionFall will be released next year. In the meantime, we are quickly approaching our first closed beta and have a ton of work to do! I will post what I can about the development process, in between my ramblings about game stuff in general. I hope you enjoy and thanks for stopping by.