The Recycle Bin

@ calvertgames.com

Vita Unfiltered

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Let’s get this out of the way – some of the links in this post are not safe for work. When I say “unfiltered” in the title, I am really saying uncensored. As in, Konachan.com (in uncensored mode) has some potentially interesting PS Vita wallpapers.

In the last couple of weeks I have been giving my Vita a lot of attention, and naturally I decided to spruce up the backgrounds with some decent wallpaper.

First things first, outside of the various tips you can find, I learned a neat trick that may not be documented; at least it may not be all that obvious. When you create a new Vita page, you should set the color of your page first, and then apply your photo. If you plan accordingly, you can do some neat tricks. So for example, if you are planning to apply a Hyperdimension Neptunia photo wallpaper, you can provide your Vita with nice smooth transition as you navigate to your other open apps (their background colors will match what you just selected).

While the girls of Hyperdimension Neptunia are fun to look at, I’m in love (in a totally natural, virtual sort of way) with Erio Towa from Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko. I’ll have to post my figure collection one of these days …

960×544 – How to Make a Perfect Vita Wallpaper
I’m not much of a graphics artist, so after some searching, I found this great Vita Background Generator tool, which allows you to do sorts of magic with any image that you want to put on your Vita.

I have a great (and I might add not too inappropriate) Erio Towa theme going – a cool lock screen, along with several backgrounds, including a custom a custom split three ways image via the Vita Background Generator tool.

As stupid as it sounds, my Vita is 10x neater with my custom Erio Towa theme (thanks to 6 Erio screens). Maybe one of these days, Sony will actually offer up true Vita themes, but until them, you can get creative and all that jazz.

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UGA to Win SEC East?

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That is the prediction out of the SEC Media Days event. Of course last year SI picked the Falcons to win the Super Bowl, and you see where that prediction got this diehard Falcons fan.

In this case, hopefully the media got it half right; Dwags to take the East and claim the SEC Crown on their way to their first National Championship in 30-some-odd-years. One can dream, right?

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What a joke of a luck Trophy. I hate it when developers put in nonsense Trophies, and the NCAA guys are really doing a job on us in consecutive years.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the Read and React trophy is total garbage BS. Using some tips in this thread, I willfully did the needful a few minutes ago!

This is a great tip. I used it this morning to get this stupid f’ing Trophy. Had my INT within the first 5 plays, but it was a fluke. I missed the ball, but because of the various edits, the receiver dropped the pass, and I caught it before it hit the ground for a nice Pick-6.

I kept squeezing that L2 reaction button for all it was worth (20 seconds is a lot of time) and on my way to the House I received the coveted ding.

Only Trophies I have left are some of the Heisman ones … so well on my way to Platinum goodness thanks to this tip!

If it helps anyone else, I uploaded the edited roster to my locker. One or two other teams may be jacked up, but for this Trophy you are playing with Texas Tech, so you should be good to go if you download my file.

One thing I did that was not mentioned in the original tip thread, was to lower the minimum speed threshold setting to 0, to help showcase J Man’s amazing speed (99 rated, all the other DBs and WRs were edited to 0).

I’m posting this reference for anyone else needlessly struggling with this Read and React Trophy crap. If you decide to follow this tip, hopefully my contribution of the pre-edited Texas Tech in my PSN jcalvert EA Sports NCAA Football locker will help ease your pain and suffering.

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It has been forever and a day since I last posted RPG’ish type updates on consecutive days.

First, Namco has an interesting preorder for Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – something called the Wizard’s Edition.

The Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch – Wizard’s Edition will include:

300+ page hardback physical copy of the Wizard’s Companion, the spellbook Oliver uses throughout his journey in the game. The full-color Wizard’s Companion contains a bestiary of all the creatures found in the game along with in-depth item descriptions, spells and history of the other world.

The limited-run Wizard’s Edition will also contain a plush doll of Drippy, Oliver’s guide through his adventures, as well as exclusive “golden mite” and “golden drongo” DLC familiars.

I don’t care that much for the plush doll, but the Wizard’s Companion looks to be pretty special coming in at 300+ pages. $108.89 ($99.99 + shipping) is a pretty steep hill to climb, but the game does look very charming. Not sure if this limited edition will hold its value; really depends on if it is original print Demon’s Souls with mini strategy guide (the one that wore out with little use) limited, or more widely available.

Tales of Xillia
I really don’t know that much about Tales of Xillia, but I say the more JRPGs the better. Hopefully it does well enough for Namco Bandai to continue localization efforts for future JRPG goodness.

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Thanks to the fine folks at NIS America, I now have the Mugen Souls Limited Edition with Figure Set on preorder.

What do you get for $99.99 (or less if you have NIS America store coupons – price also includes free shipping and no sales tax)?

This Limited Edition plus Figure Set features Mugen Souls for PS3, a hardcover art book, a Mugen Souls OST, a Shampuru Bath Set (hand towel + sponge), and Nendoroid Petite Figures.

Why did I make this preorder sight unseen? Three reasons. First, I really enjoy JRPG style games. Second, in order to get more off the beaten path JRPG style games, I support the fine folks at NIS America. Third and final reason, these sort of collectable editions always hold their weight (and then some) for later resell, as supplies are limited and these games are super collectable. In fact, when funds allow, I normally buy two copies – one to keep, and one for future profits. This helps me and also awards NIS America with (hopefully) great profits.

Mugen Souls looks crazy fun. We should find out more info in the lead up to its September 18th release. Oh, and don’t ask me what do you do with the Shampuru body sponge and hand towel!

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Vita Japanese Sales

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The total numbers look ridiculously low. Hopefully as the comments speculate, these are just physical sales and do not include PSN digital sales.

It will be interesting to see some similar numbers for the US, and a sales comparison between the early days of the 3DS, which didn’t enjoy a boost in success until the heavy hitters (i.e. Mario, Zelda, etc.) were unleashed upon the system.

Is a price drop needed? Or is it just a matter of better software that captures the interest of Japanese (and US) Vita owners?

The system is expensive, but I’m not sure that a price drop is required. Instead, if I were making decisions for Sony, I would solve memory card price backlash by including a 4GB card with every Vita system. While 4GB is much too low, at least it allows gamers to get started with PSN purchases. A pack-in PSN voucher for a $15 PSN exclusive game along with a pick of a PSP title would also be an easy way for Sony to provide value, without breaking their budget.

Of course Sony can do some simple things to help spur on the Vita. Push Cross Play functionality, finally providing PSOne compatibility, and really see what they can do with Remote Play.

Getting quality games out the door would also help. Just saying.

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[Editor’s Note: My 13 year-old son takes a turn contributing to the Recycle Bin with his thoughts on the upcoming 2012 NFL Season. Sounds like he may put his season ticket to good use ... You can find Joshua online via his PSN account jscFALCONS.]

I’m excited about this NFL season for a lot of reasons, but here are the things I think will be the most exciting. The Falcons are my favorite team so, of course I’m excited about them. They also have an interesting schedule. I’m also excited to see how Peyton Manning will do on a new team after missing a season due to neck surgery. Finally, I think it will be exciting to see how Tim Tebow will do with the NY Jets.

I’m very excited for the Falcons this season. They have an interesting schedule. The most notable teams are: NY Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Manning- led Denver Broncos and of course, their division rivals, Saints, Panthers and Buccaneers. I’m excited about this schedule because the NY Giants won the Super bowl, the Dallas Cowboys are getting better, Peyton Manning is on the Denver Broncos and the divisional games are usually big games.

I think that it will be exciting to see how Peyton Manning will do on the Denver Broncos. He has never been on a team other than the Colts. He missed last season due to a neck surgery [he had 4 surgeries total] which he is still recovering from. Will he be just as good as he was before? Will he even be cleared to play? I think it will be exciting to see.

Tim Tebow is now on the NY Jets. I think it will be exciting to see how he does. Last year, he won 7 out of 11 games and even a playoff win. The Broncos lost to the Patriots in the divisional round of the playoffs. Now, he is competing with Mark Sanchez for the starting job on the Jets. Mark Sanchez will probably be the starter but, Tebow could always sneak up in there. Tebow can get the wins while Sanchez has been struggling lately. Tebow will most likely be used for wildcat plays. I think it will be exciting to see how he does.

So, I think it will be exciting to see how the Falcons, Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow will do this year.

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For RPG fans, the PSP was a godsend, with a huge variety of classics, lots of Final Fantasy (FF) options, and plenty of newer high quality RPG titles to explore. Not so much with the Vita, however at the 5+ month mark, it should be noted that the Vita is still in its early days.

Of course the Vita has the ability to play some PSP RPGs that are offered via PSN, but where do Vita owners that want new RPG experiences, and I might add Trophies, turn?

With the announcement that FF X HD is miles away, it looks like Xseed’s Ragnarok Odyssey, with an August 21 release, is the closest Vita RPG loving fans are going to get to RPG drought relief. I have had Ragnarok Odyssey on preorder for a while, so hopefully it is decent.

On the Japanese import front, Ys Celceta: Sea of Trees, is being release September 27. There is no word on this one receiving US localization support, but if it does, hopefully the name will be changed to something a little more Western’ish.

Despite the outcry from fans that Atlus is forcibly (via software) region locking Persona 4, it is still rapidly approaching an October release.

Of course RPG fans can always pick up fan-favorite Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention, which is a completely different than normal RPG fare. Disgaea is turn based, over the top, entertaining, and has layers of depth upon layers of depth. Something like that.

To be honest, I have only just touched the surface. While the game is entertaining, amusing may be a better description, I don’t usually have the time commitment required to go in deep for my Vita sessions. One of these days I will have to check out the GPS Mode and see what sort of trinkets the developers embedded for 3GS Vita Disgaea play on the go.

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First, Isaiah Crowell, formally of the University of Georgia Bulldogs football, decided to test Coach Mark Richt’s generosity, resulting in being kicked off the team.

Crowell, 19, was arrested June 29 and charged with a felony count of possessing a weapon in a school zone, a felony count of an altered identification mark and a misdemeanor count of possession/carrying a concealed weapon.

Let’s not forget innocent until proven guilty. Yeah, right … as Coach Dooley said, this guy is a bad apple. Google it.

Speaking of Columbus and Google, just try “Columbus GA little league fight” – this sucks. I grew up playing at Northern.

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My 4th of July celebration activities included some quality time with Kate, a family trip to Buffalo Wild Wings, plenty of beer and a final go at earning the NCAA Football 12 Platinum.

To be honest I had all, but given up. The final 3-4 trophies just seemed to be too much trouble, but I hated seeing the game at 92 (or whatever) percent complete. Just a little higher …

In between delicious pints of Sweetwater 420 (the nectar of the gods) I spent some quality time in the PS3Trophies.org NCAA Football 12 board looking for some advice, help, cheats; anything to get me over the hump.

I went with a 6 [my Platinum trophy difficulty rating]. For the most part, even with a Trophy guide, the game was fairly straight forward. In Your Crosshairs, Lock and Load, and Ironman (the one which requires you to score an offensive and defensive TD) were a total PITA to me.

I decided that I would finish off the game today. I sat it aside a while back because I was totally PO’ed over these trophies. Finally, decided to proclaim my Independence, and get the Platinum today. After trying to gimp the system with my 13 year old (Crosshairs and Lock and Load) I decided to do it own my own. Took a while, but finally pulled it off doing what others mentioned in various threads. Use a curl pattern and have your CB jump the route. Actually had to do it twice because I didn’t get a TD the first time.

Ironman actually came pretty easy today. I did the 7′ OLB/HB route, and got a defensive TD by stripping the ball on a punt. I gave up trying to block it, so started going for a strip, which actually worked. I thought I wasn’t going to get an offensive TD, but managed one with under a minute to play.

Ding – NCAA Football 12 Platinum goodness with less than a week to spare before I get to take on Herschel Walker’s records in NCAA Football 13. The demo was OK, and I know I will spend more time with Madden 13, but I can’t help myself …

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In the grand tradition of celebrating Independence Day, God, video games, Apple Pie, and all things eye candy, welcome to the Calvert Games second edition fireworks spectacular!

July 4th Kate Upton eyecandy ©GQ – just saying
Kate Upton is spectacular, whether she is making the rounds doing the Cat Daddy, losing her top, or just plain having a good time posing for GQ.

July 4th Kate Upton eyecandy ©GQ – just saying

The staff at Calvert Games, is happy to bring you July 4th firework crackling eye candy goodness. Have a happy and safe mid-week break celebrating the beautiful Kate, and Independence Day!

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A few weeks ago I wrote about my disappointment in EA not supporting Cross Play Madden franchise saves; I know take a number, and go to the back of the bus. The problem here is that we are in a classic chicken and egg dilemma. Without strong sales numbers, EA will not invest in the Madden Vita franchise, and without solid features, gamers may decide to take a pass on the Vita version.

While I’m still very much on the fence about purchasing Madden for the Vita, I have (as usual) taken the plunge on a PS3 Madden 13 preorder. When it comes to the Vita, articles like this one cause me pause:

But from my conversation with Baker this week, I got the sense that Electronic Arts may be unwilling at this point to extend that investment to the Vita. Tiburon is heavily focused on delivering innovation in Madden’s console versions, and “there’s just no way,” Baker told me, for the handheld game to “keep total lockstep” with them.

“Unless you’re gonna throw, like, a tremendous amount of resources at (the handheld version) and try to keep them in sync,” he said, “it’s just not a realistic possibility at this point.”

It is great that the Vita is receiving a Madden 12.5 release, which will be the best version of Madden 12, but in the end, the Vita release is still best version of last year’s game. EA’s Vita Madden maiden voyage could be so much more if only EA was willing to take a little financial risk (easy for me to say) and properly invest in the franchise.

I could understand some of the physics constraints, or maybe even some franchise mode limitations, but I have to believe that with a proper budget and willingness on the part of EA to push the Vita forward, Madden could be a potential system seller for Sony’s fledgling handheld wonder. I also understand the pressure to have a Madden on the Vita, but shouldn’t it be done the right way? Even if that means delaying the release, skipping a year, or Sony providing some sort of R&D assistance. If there has to be an August release, God forbid going the FIFA route and just titling the first Vita release with a simple Madden moniker.

I’ll probably end up with the Vita version to help get the point across to EA that a proper football title will be supported by the Vita user base, but more importantly, I want to play Madden on the go. Somehow I managed to show some restraint with FIFA; so maybe that will also happen with Madden. Probably not …

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A couple of weeks ago I picked up WipEout 2048 (Vita) after passing on the latest iteration of WipEout during the February Vita launch. It’s not as if I don’t like WipEout – the series has an awesome pedigree which originated on the PSOne (I still own the first two releases).

More recently, I played WipEout Pure extensively on my PSP; after trying several different flavors of portable racing, Pure ended up being my racing game in my PSP library and remains in my collection today.

With all that said, I had no intentions of picking up WipEout 2048. I figured that I already had too many games in my Vita library, albeit none of which were racing games. Then something crazy and unexpected happened. Sony provided some Cross Play action that pushed me over the edge.

Almost two years ago (June 28, 2010), initial PS+ subscribers were treated with WipEout HD (PS3) as part of their day one PS+ subscription. A year or so later, I picked up full digital ownership of the game as part of Sony’s “Welcome Back” package. WipEout HD + Fury DLC to be more precise.

To be perfectly honest, I haven’t spent more than 10 minutes with the WipEout HD. I just have too many other gaming distractions. So what happened?

As I said, Cross Play arrived.

To make this deal even sweeter, we’ve got a special promotion that will let you experience WipEout’s exhilarating crossplay action on both PS3 and PS Vita. For those of you who already own WipEout HD or WipEout HD Fury on your PS3, you can automatically download the PS Vita versions for free! And the same works vice-versa as well: Anyone who purchases these new WipEout HD expansion packs from PlayStation Store on their PS Vita can download the packs for free on their PS3.

I decided to pick up WipEout 2048 because it was discounted, and because of the added value of getting WipEout HD + Fury DLCs for “free” – Sony really needs to push this sort of Cross Play connectivity across more titles.

WipEout 2048 is great on the Vita; I’ve played a couple of rounds of online multiplayer, which was OK – no lag or the like. I have also finished up the 2048 single player campaign mode, although I haven’t earned Elite passes in everything. WipEout 2048 has a ton of replay value, and when you add in the bonus HD + Fury DLC, I can see 2048 carrying my Vita racing needs forward for a long time to come.

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I finally decided to get off my duff and setup a Japanese PSN account. Mostly because I was curious, partly because I wanted to download some specific demos, PSOne Classics, avatars and themes that are not available in the US, and finally just because I wanted to give it a go.

It was actually pretty straight forward, with my biggest questions being if I could re-use my current US PSN registered email account, and how the heck to navigate the Japanese store.

Now my biggest issue is that I need to spend $50 or so to buy a Japanese 3,000 YEN PSN card that is only worth about $35 (after the exchange rate). I did manage to pull down a couple of JP PSN themes that are unavailable in the US, so I guess that was worth the trivial effort involved to setup the Japanese PSN account.

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OK, not really, but the new E3 announced Instant Game Collection should help the credibility and perceived value of the PS+ program. I doubt that Sony will every offer up numbers, however I expect that the PS+ subscription numbers received a substantial boost after the Instant Game Collection was announced.

Speaking of PS+ and perceived value, thesixthaxis has an interesting article about the value going both ways. Not only do subscribers get “free” games and discounts, but companies with featured PS+ content are using the PS+ program as a marketing vehicle.

Mike Kebby, Digital Campaigns Manager at SEGA Europe, only has great things to say about the way PlayStation Plus-promoted games can reach a wider audience.
“With Virtua Fighter we know we have a franchise with an extremely hardcore following, but we really wanted to ensure that we introduced the latest iteration [VF5: Final Showdown] to as many new players as possible,” he told us.

“We’ve found that PlayStation Plus was a perfect way to do this, as well as ensure we made a big noise about the title’s release, it’s great to reach out to lots of potential new fans,” he continued.

“VF5: Final Showdown has done very well for us since launch, and we’re glad to have continued our strong relationship with SCE by offering it to PS Plus subscribers for free.”

While the VF5 Trophy whoring was great, I would have actually purchased some of the DLC if it as cheaper. Even with the PS+ discount, I thought it was way too much ($14.99 or something similar) just to see some of the characters in different outfits with some different items and maybe an extra trinket or two. I admit that I’m not a huge fighting game fan, and while Sarah Bryant is hot and all (in a virtual video game character sort of way), Sarah Bryant is just not $15 DLC hot.

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