Iron Man Lessons Learned, DS Piracy, and EA Tramp Stamping? – Welcome to the column that would tattoo their logo on their body but it would just end up being the butt of the jokes every other week known as Dare to Play the Game.
Well, one positive thing to come out of this week and that is I’m done with Warcraft for a little while. I finished my rep grind with Timbermaw and got my epic trinket for completing the task. In the midst of that, I received my copy of Rock Band Country Track Pack for the Xbox 360 from NewEgg.com with free 3-day shipping (it actually worked out to only two days). I am working on the review and it should be done by the end of the week, time permitting.
As mentioned last week, I had my first Blu-Ray disc to review for this site and I sure got a winner. Feel free to go look for my review on Green Lantern: First Flight. It’s honestly one of my better reviews in a while. So expect to see a few more reviews in the next few weeks. There will be a few No Huddle Reviews for some screener discs (Smithsonian documentaries) I received and there will be some Live Arcade reviews in the next few weeks. BTW, this column is going to end a bit differently this week. It will be kinda personal but I didn’t want to use the upfront space to talk about it. It’s rather somber, and I apologize in advance.
Comic-Con booth babes. Pictures like this really make me think, what would possess somebody to dress up in latex and walk around for 8 to 10 hours while a bunch of nerds stare at your assets? The cash isn’t incredible. Maybe they like to be ogled? Or just maybe they secretly like geeks like you and me and wish for just one of you guys to come up and ask her out back to your place to watch a marathon of Star Trek Episodes. Come on, you know you want to, just be sure to send me photos or the youtube video of what happens, ok?
Sega is quite aware that the first Iron Man video game it published wasn’t too warmly received by critics, something the developers of the second game based on the Jon Favreau films are trying to address.
“The good news is that everyone in the known universe told us what was wrong with the first game,” said Kyle Brink, creative director at Sega Studios San Francisco, the team working on Iron Man 2: The Video Game. Sega Studios San Francisco is the re-branded Secret Level, the team that worked on the original Iron Man and Golden Axe: Beast Rider for Sega.
Yeah, I know.
But Brink says that there has been some personnel turnover at the studio, plus new faces-including his own hiring as the studio’s creative director. The Iron Man team is listening to complaints, things like having to half-pull a trigger on the Xbox 360 or PS3 to make Iron Man hover.
“The controls were a big issue in the first one, so we completely revised the controls here,” told us during an interview at Comic-Con. “They’re based on the top 20 games out there, so they should be immediately familiar to people and they’re consistent across all movement modes out there.”
“We also brought the range in tighter, because in the first you were hunting pixels,” he adds, addressing one of our own gripes about the original.
Brink says that adding in diverse enemies, diverse environments-both indoors and outdoors-will alleviate some of the repetition that plagued the first Iron Man.
T.Q. Jefferson, director of games at Marvel, touched on some of the changes that have been implemented on the Marvel side to make the company’s games stay “suck free.” That includes the recently established Marvel Creative Committee, which is focusing on using in-house Marvel talent-like Invincible Iron Man comic book writer Matt Fraction-on games based on the comic book publisher’s properties.
Jefferson says that one of the new Marvel games tenets is that “movie games don’t have to be movie games,” abandoning the strict limitations of a movie’s plot, characters and set pieces. Instead, Marvel games will be “original stories set in the movie universe” making it more feasible to release a game alongside the film, with input from folks like Fraction.
Even though Iron Man 2: The Video Game isn’t due out until April 2010, Marvel and Sega were showing off a playable (by Sega staff only) demo of the game at Comic-Con. It looked impressively polished for a game still 8 or more months out, hopefully a good example of Marvel’s change in strategy for games.
We’ll have more from our interview with Kyle Brink and Matt Fraction shortly.
Wow, the team that brought us Golden Axe: Beast Rider is the one responsible for Iron Man. That sure makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. From what I’ve heard Iron Man wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t that good either. It was a lot of repetition and the controls were okay at best. I honestly wanted to try it but felt that it was like most movie games, halfing their way to the finish line cause they know it will sell copies regardless of how it actually plays. Something to keep the children quiet while the adults watch Law & Order.
Thankfully, somebody at Marvel started realizing that just because it is a “movie” game doesn’t mean it has to suck. Sure, there are time constraints to worry about (which is why a lot of these get rushed anyway), but with some planning they can turn around a decent product. A great sign is that they had a playable demo at Comic-Con with the final product still almost a year away. A great movie game would add to this super-hot movie and would make for a situation where the game and the movie deeply benefit each other. A perfect combination.
One of the worst ideas I’ve ever heard. They drop two of three (well the dwarf had a cameo) characters from Golden Axe that everybody knows and tries to convince people that it will be a decent game. I like the chick too, but this isn’t Heavenly Sword kiddoes.
Can the Dante’s Inferno marketers do anything right? At E3, they had that phony religious wingnut protest. Now they’ve apologized for their Comic-Con contest that painted them as booth babe objectifiers.
Which, you know, most of us are guilty as charged. But Electronic Arts being the big corp it is, had to cover its ass and (likely) kick that of a marketing team that promised horny gamers “a sinful night with two hot girls, a limo service, paparazzi and a chest full of booty.” This was also illustrated by a tramp-stamp logo atop some kind of crack, be it butt or boobs.
So, the predictable furor arose, and now we get the following apology from the Dante Team, definitely vetted by corporate PR, probably examined by the legal division, and apparently written from another dimension in which exhibitor booths are staffed by a species known as the “costumed rep.”
We understand there’s a lot of debate right now around our “Sin to Win” promotion at Comic-Con and wanted to clarify a few things. We created this promotion as part of our marketing efforts around the circle of Lust (one of the nine sins/circles of Hell). Each month we will be focusing on a new Circle of Hell. This month is Lust. Costumed reps are a tradition at Comic-Con. In the spirit of both the Circle of Lust and Comic-Con, we are encouraging attendees to Tweet photos of themselves with any of the costumed reps at Comic-Con here, find us on Facebook or via e-mail. “Commit acts of lust” is simply a tongue-in-cheek way to say take pictures with costumed reps. Also, a “Night of Lust” means only that the winner will receive a chaperoned VIP night on the town with the Dante’s Inferno reps, all expenses paid, as well as other prizes.
We apologize for any confusion and offense that resulted from our choice of wording, and want to assure you that we take your concerns and sentiments seriously. We’ll continue to follow your comments and please let us know if you have any other thoughts or concerns. Keep watching as the event unfolds and we hope you’ll agree that it was all done in the spirit of the good natured fun of Comic-Con.
To be honest, I have zero problem with hot women showing off products at Comic-Con, E3, or in the middle of an EB Games in a revealing t-shirt. I’m not one of those religious zealots who is going to even go as far to say that what EA did was totally wrong here. Nah, I just find it really hilarious and would have loved to sit in on that board meeting.
Think about it, they have a game and for a contest they want to give away a sinful night with two hot girls, a limo service, paparazzi and a chest full of booty. Does anybody think this doesn’t sound like EA is offering a night with a couple of prostitutes in a limo with some liquor and just maybe there will be press who will record a video to take home with you?
Heck ya, sign me up! Oh wait, a Night of Lust means a chaperoned VIP night with the reps and you get to take some pictures with booth babes in costumes. I feel cheated, where are my hookers and heroin? Below I have included the tramp stamp that they used to promote the contest. I have a feeling some heads will roll from this one.
I think the worst thing about this stamp is that darn EA logo, it almost looks like the person was branded and then throw out on the floor like cattle. Well at least it gives you something to read later.
Piracy has taken a hefty toll on Ubisoft, according to company head Yves Guillemot, but the developer and publisher say they are hard at work on a tool that should help reduce the negative impact.
“Altogether on console, the piracy is low,” Guillemot said. “On the PC the piracy is quite a lot. We are working on a tool that would allow us to decrease that on the PC starting next year and probably one game this year.”
Guillemot didn’t say what that solution would be, but it since he talked about it as if it were a new tool and not an existing form of digital rights management, like SecuRom, it stands to reason that it may be an internal solution.
The topic of piracy came up during Ubisoft’s quarterly earnings call after Guillemot pointed to it as part of the reason that their DS games haven’t been selling well.
He said that piracy on Nintendo’s DS is strong, though oddly not as bad on the DSi, and that the company has learned that they can reduce the impact of illegal copies of the game by including physical extras like figurines, with their titles.
The increase in piracy on the DS started in Spain, Guillemot said, where they say “sales going down at a very strong level” last year. That then seemed to move to other countries this year, increasing the most after the month of March with continued impact this summer.
“We see it coming country by country.” he said. “We see when we put other things with the product (people) go and buy the game. We need to make sure that the value is better when they buy the box then when they download (the game) from the Internet.”
Guillemot said that Ubisoft is working on the problem both internally and with Nintendo’s help.
“Nintendo has been able to slow down piracy a lot in Japan,” he said. “They are now putting pressure to make sure it decreases in many other countries. We think we will be able to solve this matter.”
Ubiosoft was so concerned with piracy on the Playstation Portable they started to retreat from that platform, Guillemot said. But there are now “new ways to control piracy” on the PSP, he said, and the company is reinvesting in the platform.
My concern with piracy has always been this, as long as there is some effort to control it and your titles are good for a particular platform, you should not use it as a focus of blame. Let’s see, 2008-2009….Ubisoft. We’ll pick on the DS first. *consults Wikipedia & Amazon*, 2008 saw a lot of My Coach games (For Japanese, Chinese, Life, etc), a Prince of Persia game, an adaptation of End War, and don’t forget about Hell’s Kitchen. Now Prince of Persia aside, that is a lot of crap. Not to mention, that was the start of the recession. Recession + crappy games = low, pitiful sales.
Now, PC is a different animal, we know that Ubisoft brings quality games to PC and the high-end consoles. I don’t question that one bit. However, it still seems to be a question of punishing the many for the sins of a few. I simply don’t buy the piracy argument. If you have a game that isn’t up to par released in a terrible economic environment and then blame it on something that’s always been there, who is the real criminal here? Is piracy wrong? Sure is. Is lieing about why sales figures are so low just to save your hide also wrong? Yep, better believe it. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
The time has come, I have waited a long while to play Marvel vs Capcom 2 on my 360. For months, heck a couple of years I’ve actually contemplated buying the Xbox (or PS2 disc) just so I could try it out at home (not at some friend’s house). There are a staggering 56 characters and all are playable from the start. For those who have never played a versus game, the button configuration has 4 main buttons and 2 assist buttons, making it very easy for anybody to pick up (but it is hard to master at the same time). The code is actually based off the Dreamcast code which was hailed as many to be the best of the console versions. I will be downloading this today and will try to work on a review for you folks. I’ll be very ready to kick some tail with Gambit, oh yes I will.
This is set several years after Escape from Monkey Island. Guybrush has been spending the last few years looking for artifacts to complete his Voodoo sword and vanquish LeChuck once and for all. However, as expected LeChuck has kidnapped his lovely wife, Elaine. He soon finds himself marooned on a strange island and voodoo pox is spreading through the isles. He must use his wits to save the day and rescue his wife. This is the first part of a 5 part series and after the success with Sam n Max, Telltale Games is almost certainly going to have a winner here.
This is actually an older game released on the PC back in 2006. It was developed by some Swedes and has the whole 2d characters working in a 3d world look. It is loosely based on the Dumas novel and you control Porthos trying to save his kidnapped companions. There is fencing, puzzles and collectibles to discover and conquer. The art style is reminiscent of Asterix comics and it won a Swedish Family Game award as well. This looks to be a pretty solid little adventure game for any age.
A simple collection of card games which is always good to have. They throw in Rummy, Hearts, Euchre (what is that anyway?), Canasta, Cribbage and of course Solitaire. You can even grab a computer partner to help you play Euchre and Cribbage. All of the games will use your Mii character or you can create your own. There are tutorials for people like me who have never played some of these games before and a wealth of fun connected to each game. For 500 points, it’s hard to say it isn’t worth it.
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Standard Edition
The King of Fighters XII
BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger Standard Edition
The King of Fighters XII
50 Classic Games
My Secret Diary
Chances are those who really wanted Blazblue already secured a copy a few weeks ago when they did their limited edition release. In fact, if you have a 360, you should still be able to get that release instead of the plain standard one and at the same price. King of Fighters is the only really strong release this week and features some fancies for those loyal to the 3 on 3 team fighting format. There are twenty-two hand drawn characters, 2 of which are specific to the console release. New elements such as critical counter attacks, air guarding, deadlock counters, clash timing and guard attacks are included. For online play, there are clans to form and you can even have your own emblem and upload your own matches for other people to see. Outside of that, there are a bunch of DS titles and that’s about it until next week.
As mentioned above, I wanted to leave you with something that saddened me this week. I am the proud owner of a tabby cat named Burns. She is roughly fourteen years old and I found her as a kitten working on my Bachelor’s degree up in North Texas. She’s been with me everywhere from Denton to Dallas to Manvel to Alvin (a couple of different places) to West Columbia. Lately, she’s been having a lot of problems. Mostly, we attribute it to age. She’s getting old, etc, etc. The problem now is that she isn’t eating at all for the last couple of days and her mouth honestly looks pretty bad. I don’t think she has much time left and by the time you read this, she might no longer be with us.
I’m thirty-three years old, about to be 34 and I’m having the hardest time with this. I’ve never had to put an animal to sleep and even though I’m trying to do the right thing with taking her to a vet, I don’t know if I have the heart to go through with it. I don’t want to see her suffer but who am I to decide when her time is up? As I wrestle with this decision, please spend sometime with your pets this week and give them a little bit extra. They deserve it. They do so much and ask for so little. Take care kiddoes and no matter what happens to Burns today, I want the world to know that she was the best cat I could ever ask for. Thank you for this gift, I will treasure her memory always.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)