Super Metroid goes VC, Bioshock goes Letterbox, and My 360 goes Boom – Welcome to the column that comes and goes just like that chalupa from the mexican roadside eatery known as Dare to Play the Game.
Welcome to another edition of Dare to Play the Game. Guess what, I join the thousands and thousands of XBOX 360 peeps. My 360 go boom. It had been glitching here and there for a few weeks. Not too troublesome, but a pain. Well this weekend, it decided to go postal. It would freeze in the middle of the session, give four red lights, beep for no apparent reason, etc. Then it happened, the dreaded three rings. Nine months into owning the console, thank you have a nice day. I had bought a warranty through Microcenter in addition to the manufacturer warranty that I thought would cover the replacement. That way I would not have to go through the hassle of calling Microsoft, waiting for a box and sending it back. After fighting with Microcenter on two seperate occasions about their warranty, we culmulatively decided they should go rot in a very unearthy place. (Well I decided that for them). Even though they would not come out and say it, their warranty is essentially useless because of recent Microsoft legislation. So I called Microsoft, that did go pretty easy, I was told I would have a box sent in about 10 minutes after I got on the phone. It should be there Thursday or Friday. Maybe it will make it back by Halo 3, maybe not. One slight advantage, the repair center is in McAllen, Tx about half a dozen hours south of here. So here is hoping.
We get Morgan in triplicate today, just like those forms the mortage company gave you to fill out when you decided to buy that house for more money than you can afford. Remember the one that your ex-wife now lives in with your pool boy and calls you daily to remind you how much your life sucks? Oh wait, nevermind. Anyhow; Morgan, she’s pretty, she makes me feel funny and I like posting pictures of her. See, we can always get back on track.
Belgian site Shizzle Games are reporting that the 360 will soon be launching with new names, which were first hinted at when Flynn uncovered those 360 holiday bundles. The Elite keeps its name, but the Premium looks like it’s being changed to the Xbox 360 Pro and the Core’s now called the Xbox 360 Arcade.
To coincide with these changes, the Arcade is apparently coming bundled with a 360 memory card which will be pre-loaded with 5 XBLA titles (two of which look like Pac-Man and Uno). The Pro, if this chart is to be believed, will also be sporting a new colour scheme, having a “silver finish” as opposed to the Elite’s “black” and the Arcade’s “standard finish”. No word on the rollout timeframe for the “replacement” models.
The Core is kinda of an ugly name when you think about it. Arcade sounds like you should be doing something with it. Too bad, its still without a hard drive. But at least it will now include a memory card with 5 XBLA titles, two of which are Pac-Man and Uno. Because the first thing you should always see when logging onto Live should be smoking cherries and unsavory people who like to ghost themselves. That Pac-Man, let me tell you. There is a real AO title. Anyway, willing to bet money the other 3 XBLA titles come from the pool of Geometry Wars, Joust, Frogger, Robotron, Aegis Wing & Hexic. Sure, there is nothing wrong with any of those, but sometimes you just hope for a Castlevania, Small Arms or a Golden Axe to surprise you.
Lose a game of chess to a computer, and you could bruise your ego. Lose an arm-wrestling match to a Japanese arcade machine, and you could break your arm.
Distributor Atlus Co. said it will remove all 150 “Arm Spirit” arm wrestling machines from Japanese arcades after three players broke their arms grappling with the machine’s mechanized appendage.
“The machine isn’t that strong, much less so than a muscular man. Even women should be able to beat it,” said Atlus spokeswoman Ayano Sakiyama, calling the recall “a precaution.”
“We think that maybe some players get overexcited and twist their arms in an unnatural way,” she said. The company was investigating the incidents and checking the machines for any signs of malfunction.
Players of “Arm Spirit” advance through 10 levels, battling a French maid, drunken martial arts master and a Chihuahua before reaching the final showdown with a professional wrestler. The arcade machine is not distributed overseas.
*laugh*, does anybody remember the arm wrestling game in the mid 80’s. It used the same engine/graphics as the Punch Out game. I think I sprained my thumb several times on that one. All I’m wanting to know is when do we get a Wii version? Think about it, battling a French maid…perhaps the people were getting their hands sprained and just were too embarassed to say so? No Show and Tell I suppose. And what about the other characters, a Chihuahua; so you are telling me the Taco Bell dog is channeling Sly Stallone? Don’t even get me started about the drunken martial arts master who if sober would be kicking your sorry rear all over the place. These come from the people @ Atlus who are famous for their anime based rpgs. Peculiar.
What’s wrong with this picture? Well the normal area shows what the BioShock demo looks like on a widescreen monitor. The red areas show the extra space added when the game is played in standard 4:3 ratio. This is not how widescreen is supposed to work. Instead of slicing the top and bottom off of the image, widescreen should allow players to see more on either side. I have to agree with Paddy the Wak from the Widescreen Gaming Forum who posted the picture above – awwwww pants.
Now the 2K forums are alive with the sound of angry, as more gamers verify the problem on their PCs and 360s, with one of the latest posts as of this writing confirming that the screen clipping appears on the 360 retail version as well.
Shoddy, shoddy work 2K. People invest in widescreen display solutions to see more, not less. 2KB’s Chris Kline was even asked specifically if widescreen would display additional image as compared to 4:3 in this thread here.
You will see more in widescreen. We use a different projection matrix; there is no squashing or stretching of the image involved.
So what happened? So far no one officially has commented in the 2K forum post. Just a lot of angry people canceling their preorders until the issue is addressed and fixed. While it may seem like a piddling issue to some, cutting off the top and bottom of the screen not only produces less picture, but also has the effect of blowing up the textures and making the camera view tighter than it was before due to cramping.
Boys and girls, this is called letterboxing. This is the reason I curse at my copy of Escape from LA on a weekly basis. (do not mess with me when I watch Snake Pliskin) It’s not widescreen, its cheap and distressing. This is also the same reason my parents complain at their tv when watching an non-hd channel that wants to be “fancy”. Bioshock was supposed to be one of the big hits of the year, but I have to think people want their screen correctly filled. Then again when they did surveys that suggest 1/3 of people arent aware of HD capabilities on their 360 or the 2/3rds that don’t use it; I guess it really doesn’t matter. Except to me, and my 42 inch plasma. Of course I don’t even have a working 360 currently, but I digress.
Some people will love this game and some people will utterly hate it. I’m not sure which group I will fall into but for 400 points (not confirmed, could be 800); I’ll consider giving it a try. It’s the spiritual successor to Tempest which I spent a good amount of time on in my much younger days. The 3-d extruded surface looks to be much improved and should be a clever distraction for those willing to pursue it. One noticeably cool thing about the game is the names for the achievements and bonuses. Many reference old video game sayings including Super Mario and Commodore 64.
I was thinking just the other day, what was XBLA missing, oh yes a Hoverboard racing game. Okay, I wasn’t really; but apparently somebody was. Gaia Industries brings us this one in what should appease little race heads world wide. It is cell-shaded and does look pretty for a XBLA game as shown above. Single and multi-player modes are available and actually should take a long while to complete and play well. There is split screen for 2-4 players on local machine as well. So grab your board, and hover…I really don’t have any catchy sayings this week.
Last week we had Metroid, a must have and now we get the sequel which is equally as good if not better. Better graphics, more great gameplay and a fascinating world that everybody should explore. These two games along with the original Gameboy incantation stand as some of the greatest 2d games of all time. Too bad Metroid Prime had to come in and smash those hopes and dreams. (Sees Metroid Prime start to picket his front lawn). Okay Metroid Prime is a good game, but somethings should just stay 2d.
It’s the return of the Ninja Master! This time around Joe Musashi finds out that Neo Zeed is still around (never would have guessed), so he goes out and tries to vanquish them. This was another great Shinobi title that always played in the shadows of Ninja Gaiden. However, this had brilliant graphics and interesting gameplay that made you use all of your combat skills to finally vanquish the Shadow Master at the end.
Like Golden Axe Warrior for Sega Master system, Neutopia was another good Zelda clone for the Turbo Graphix system. I played this a good long while on my Duo and actually upon hearing this annoucement might venture off into that direction again. (especially due to recent events) Basically you are a boy who sets off on a journey to rescue a princess and retrieve the 8 pieces of the triforce, I mean 8 medallions that were taken by the evil demon Dirth. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. It is a good game, seriously and if you have played Zelda you will be right at home. Actually you could make cases for all three VC titles this week. Super Metroid would come first easily, but I do hope some of you try Neutopia.
Jeanne D’ Arc
Brunswick Pro Bowling
Brain Age 2: More Training in Minutes A Day
High School Musical: Makin’ The Cut
I Spy Funhouse
Turn it Around
Who woulda thunk that a bowling title was the most widely circulated title of the week? Didn’t Wii get bowling already? (Yes but does it use Brunswick balls?). The draws this week would be BioShock which tries to grab all of the FPS fire before Halo 3 and Two Worlds, the game that was delayed about a million times in what hopefully is a fine role playing outing. GRAW 2 finally makes its way to the Sony side of the map, so PS3 fans catch up a little bit this week. Finally we get Brain Age 2 for the DS where we can scream “Blue” into our DS while people watching look nervously at us.
Outside of my 360 going boom, I turned 32 this weekend. Actually the 360 thing happened on my birthday, nice present, huh? Truth be told, I wasn’t that upset about it actually happening (cause somethings you know are coming), I got more frustarted with Microcenter and Microsoft personnel. A few people did send me birthday greetings including “the girl” which made me smile a lot. I do care for that girl a ton, and want to ask everybody that reads this to say a silent word of wish and hope for her this friday. I don’t want to discuss details, but she is going in for a procedure on friday. Kinda worried about it even though I know she is a trooper and will make it through it just fine. Sometimes though you wish you could swap spaces with somebody because they have gone through too much already. Anyhow, have fun kiddoes and always be sure to tip your waiter on your way out.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)