Now Playing (Closing Out June Edition)

Or maybe we should have called this one the Trophy whore edition. Yes, while putting in a few hours of “fun” time, I have actually been doing a little Trophy chasing (i.e. being a total Trophy whore).

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet
I am all in on this one, which is great fun to play with the kids. Would I ever actively play this one on my own? Not with so many other great titles out there waiting for my attention. The AI can be kind of cheap and inconsistent. Some of the challenges are really a mess, and while nothing is overly difficult, some wore my patience to the nubs. Oh yeah, and the game will often crash, not saving your hard earned progress, which at times can make for a frustrating experience due to a clunky and slow menu/interface.

With all that said, my four and nine year olds love the game. They are enjoying the game, working to unlock all the characters, and of course earning Trophies. I have had to use a couple of “cheat” guides, mostly to find a few of the “ collectible” items; in most games, including this one, Trophies around collecting stuff are a total PITA. Thus the guides, as I really don’t have enough hours in the day to find overly complicated hidden crap, including BS Trophies. The joys of going after a “family” Platinum trophy, which we picked up tonight.

Ferrari Challenge
It is not the best racing game out there, but at this point I feel like I need to keep slowly pushing forward towards the Platinum. I have written about this one enough in the past to limit this entry to a single, decent racing experience description.

3 on 3 NHL Arcade
I picked this one on sale with a PlayStation Plus (PS+) price of $3.00 (compared to the way over inflated regular price of $9.99). If you are a complete Trophy whore, you probably already have this one. It is ridiculous easy to rack up the Trophies within a few games (2-3 hours tops).

As luck would have it, 3 on 3 is a fun arcade experience for playing with my kids. I can actually see this one sticking around for regular pick up and play sessions. I’m not a huge hockey fan or anything like that, but it is kind of disappointing that the game does not include some sort of team license. As it stands, there are a few ‘real’ players, but it would be nice to give the Thrashers a little glory.

Space Invaders Infinity Gene
This continues to be one of the better shooters around. You can just trip back and completely zone out on this one. I am not sure exactly what a “zen like quality is” but Infinity Gene must be what people mean when they throw out this description.

I’ll have 100% complete if I can manage to complete the game without continuing. Of course I doubt that  will happen anytime soon; not enough skill in these old gaming bones. No regrets; well worth the purchase (I got it a while back for a tick under $5).

Little Big Planet: Game of the Year Edition
Everyone loves LBP, right? Right now I am just kind of playing the game here and there, exploring the different levels, and having a good time experiencing this one with the kids. I am trying to get my oldest kid interested in designing games or programming, so I am kind of keeping my fingers crossed that this perks up his interest.

Up Next …
As we turn towards July, and the long Independence Day weekend, I have several games lined up for my three day weekend rotation.

Dungeon Hunter (PS+ price $10.39, regular price $12.99); looks like some decent co-op gaming action. Notice the theme? I am really turning my rotation towards games I can play with the kids, without have to go 100% in the direction of Marvel Super Hero Squad type games.

Dragon’s Lair (picked it up for $4.99); really just got it for nostalgic purposes. Probably paid $1-2 too much, but it should be enjoyable, and will also give my kids a little history and perspective on the industry and what use to pass as a serious quarter muncher.

Sly Collection; re-mastered HD versions (improved with the addition of Trophies) of all three Sly Cooper classics.
Sly Cooper and The Thievius Raccoonus, Sly 2: Band of Thieves and Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves. I am sure the boys and I will have a blast with this one.

Wizardy; I keep thinking about picking this one up. Maybe a sale will tip me over the edge, but as it stands, I think my backlog is too great to justify this one. But I am so tempted!

Good gaming!


Now Playing (The Week in Review)

Last week I spent my limited game time playing a hodgepodge assortment of games.

Ferrari Challenge
Not a great racing game, but it is fun. After watching some Le Mans Saturday and early Sunday morning, I am reminded that the PS3 would really use an updated version of Le Mans racing. At any rate, I’ll probably tool around with Ferrari Challenge some this week as well to decide if I should keep it and maybe grind a few Trophies, or if I should see if I can flip it for a few bucks on eBay for my future gaming fund.

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet
Typical beat ‘em up, easy puzzles, and very lame dialogue, but what would you expect from a title targeted at kids? I play this one with my four-year old son; great way for him to learn the ins and outs of gaming. My eight-year old is also helping out with the Story mode. I think we are almost at the end; however there are a ton of other modes to complete, items to unlock, and the Trophy list is 60 or so deep, which should keep us coming back for a while.

Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse – Episode 2 and 3
I have two confessions to make. First, I am not really a fan of this type of game. Second, I just kind of went through the motions, and finally looked to a couple of Trophy walkthroughs to complete each game. Yes, color me a whore. The only reason I had these in the first place was because I received them with my PS+ subscription. At some point down the road I will probably attempt to knock off Episode 4 and 5.

Shatter is another ‘free’ PS+ game from last November. One of my many backlog games ‘collecting dust’ … as much dust as a digital PSN distributed title can gather. This one is a typical revamp of breakout, with a fresh coat of paint, interesting physics, and a decent techno soundtrack. Fun game, but one I would probably never buy, so it was nice to get it as part of my PS+ subscription. I pretty much already played this one out. While there are a couple of Trophies left, for the most part I doubt I will put in the time (and may not have the necessary skill) to try to get 100% complete on this one.

I have written plenty about FIFA 10 and 11; great sports games. FIFA 11 is fantastic, but it is perfect for short bursts of gaming, which is pretty much what my schedule allows right now. I can knock out a couple of games with my virtual pro and feel like I have actually accomplished something in a short gaming session. Not to mention the satisfaction of playing a well rounded sports title.


Christmas Gaming Treats

As a kid I always looked forward to getting new videogames in December (birthday and Christmas). I always held out hope that I was going to get a few new games, and they just had to be better than decent because I knew that my gaming library was not going to increase during the upcoming year.

These days I just buy what I want, usually via pre-order, or I watch a game, waiting for the inevitable price drop before finally indulging myself. Either way, my gaming comes to me when I want, and if I happen to get a dud, I can flip it on eBay. No worries, no fuss.

This year, thanks to Santa (and of course my family), I have enough games to keep me occupied until December 2011, or until I decide to pick up the next great, have to play it now spectacular, super special gaming extravaganza. Something along those lines; call me a sucker for pre-release build up hype.

The Gaming Treasure Trove:

  • Batman Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Greatest Hits. I have always wanted to give this game a go, but for whatever reason, I never did.
  • FIFA 11 (Under $30 during Amazon Thanksgiving sales). I wrote a few weeks ago that I have been playing the shit out of FIFA 10. I love the FIFA 10 experience; the virtual pro is a very immersive experience. I am going to stay with FIFA 10 for the rest of 2010 to see how many Trophies I can pick up before flipping FIFA 10 on eBay, and then I will start my FIFA 11 journey. I can only hope that FIFA 11 is as fun and entertaining as FIFA 10 has been over the last six weeks.
  • God of War 3 (Under $35 during Amazon Thanksgiving sales). Because one cannot have enough God of War.
  • God of War Collection Greatest Hits ($10 during Amazon Thanksgiving sales). Are you kidding me? $10 for high-def updates of two highly rated PS2 game? Complete with a gaggle of Trophies for my gaming pleasure. I never played the PS2 versions, but thanks to the PSP God of War games, I am a converted fan.
  • Gran Turismo 5 Prima Essential Track Guide*
  • Rapala Pro Bass Fishing 2010. Some different. Something for the Move.


* OK, so this little spiral bound book is not game, but I figured I would include it in the overall haul. It is getting a lot of flack in the Amazon review listings, however it is exactly what it states – a track guide. If you are looking for a traditional cheat (er, strategy guide) book, then the Prima guide is not your cup of tea.

Maybe all these new games will have an added bonus; getting my PlayStation Rewards status to nudge a little for the first time since the week after Thanksgiving!

Looking Forward To …
With all these new gaming Christmas experiences, plus the current backlog of goodies, is there anything left on my radar?

  • Little Big Planet 2. Of course I never played the first one, but everyone says LBP is a must have experience, which is fun for the whole family.
  • MLB 11: The Show. See FIFA 10 + FIFA 11; I have until March to get my money’s worth from MLB 10.
  • Need for Speed Hot Pursuit. I want to try the newest NFS title, but I am going to wait for a lower price. Plus I still have GT5 to keep me occupied, and F1 2010 is not getting any love.
  • Madden and NCAA Football. Yeah, I know, let’s don’t go there yet.

There are probably other gems lurking out there, but right now I actually do not have anything on pre-order or a “watch list.” OK, just kidding. I have the HD update of the ICO and Shadow of the Colossus Collection on pre-order. But other than that one …


Gaming News and Notes

Over the last three weeks, starting right before the Thanksgiving break, I have been on a torrid (for me) gaming rampage. I think I have logged more hours on my PS3 (and even a few on the oft forgotten PSP – Ghost of Sparta) than I did in total January through October.

I have to say it has been fun. Almost like a kid in a candy store. Gaming nirvana if you please. I have found this latest zone has helped me decompress and even get in some quality time with the kids. These days I don’t question how long this ride will last; I just keep on plugging, enjoying it until I put down the controllers.

Crazy Taxi
After pickup up my PS3 Slim for Father’s Day, I flipped Crazy Taxi on eBay. Not because I no longer enjoyed the game; I consider it one of the ultimate pick and play titles. It is just a damn good arcade gaming experience, which blends the perfect elements of short bursts of gaming excitement and the pursuit of high scores.

Besides, the PS3 Slim more or less forced my hand, since it is not PS2 backwards compatible. Of course in my back pocket I knew Crazy Taxi would be headed towards the PSN.

The PSN edition seems to be the same game, minus the licenses (Levi’s, KFC, music, etc), with slightly harder controls compared to the PS2 and Dreamcast versions. Crazy Taxi is still a fun arcade experience; one that the boys enjoy playing with dad. As an added bonus, the PSN version also provides the pleasure (or frustration – take your pick) of pursuing Trophies.

Shame on me for not playing this one more over the past year. FIFA 10 is a fantastic sports game, and the virtual pro feature being balls out fun. In my dotage, I have a hard time pulling off decent skill moves, so my pro still seems a little stiff and rough around the edges. As a striker, I am all offense, with almost no defensive skills. I think my rating is currently 72 and climbing.

Rumor has it Santa is bringing me FIFA 11 ($29.99 during one of the Thanksgiving deals), so I figured I better maximize my FIFA 10 experience before Christmas so I will not feel so guilty when I trade in or eBay FIFA 10. And maximize I have; in fact I have probably spent more time with FIFA 10 than any other game in this article. Fun and highly addicting!

Gran Turismo 5
After waiting an eternity (at least it seemed that way), we finally have a proper Gran Turismo on the PS3. I picked up the Gran Turismo 5 Collector’s Edition – I love the series, even if it is not the best pure “racing” experience around.

After starting off with one of the 25+ versions (or whatever) of a Toyota Corolla, I have been slowly making my way through the game. Due to so many other games in my rotation (or call it my gaming backlog) I have not started the long slow GT grind. I have picked up my B and A licenses, and while I could keep on trying to progress, I have been working on locking up all B and A license Gold trophies, which seems damn near impossible for some.  I actually find this pursuit more relaxing than frustrating; I get in a zone and keep plugging away, slowly decreasing my times until I strike Gold.

The only GT game that I managed to “complete” at 100% was the first release – Gran Turismo for the PSOne.  It has been a long time since those days!  I doubt I have that much spare time to really go after that mark with GT5; however I am sure I will maximize my value (gaming dollar).

I think the game has already been patched 3 times, so the developers did end up rushing the game, which is a bit of a surprise considering the long delay. Over ambitious? Probably.  At least the developers are supporting the game and trying to make things right by the fans.

Sports Champions
My family has discovered the joy of playing Bocce. At least we are enjoying Sports Champions version of Bocce, and we are having a blast learning the rules and associated skills.  My mother is giving my oldest son a Bocce set for the backyard. I love it when videogames cross pollinate real life!

I think my kids’ favorite is volley ball, closely followed by disc golf. My favorites are archery and disc golf, and I also find gladiator duel an interesting diversion. Ping pong is the favorite of my 3.11 year old, but I find it damn near impossible.

On a side note, I need to get two more Move controllers for some serious volley ball and archery dual Move head-to-head action. What would that investment be? Almost $325? I have already “invested” $100 camera + Move controller, $50 second move controller, $35 Navigation controller, $30 Move charge station. Ouch. Archery is a blast with two controllers, so I can only imagine how much fun it would be to have a two-player archery duel with 4 Move controllers!

On more side note. The Navigation controller seems poorly supported. I think the only Move game I have that takes advantage of it is Heavy Rain. Need to come back to Heavy Rain in a future article.

My Aquarium
Did I really buy this one? Just for the hell of it I downloaded My Aquarium. It is a great concept, with extremely poor execution. The graphics are not acceptable; in fact I was not even sure this was an HD title, but from what I have read, My Aquarium is in fact presented in HD … just without the normal eye popping graphical glory. It really is a damn shame that this virtual screensaver does not look nicer, and to make matters worse, the interface is unbelievable clunky, complete with unresponsive controls.

If a “game” begged for updated graphics with Move support, this is the one. To the good, Trophy whores will find a few almost freebies on offer; apparently you can cheat to get them quickly, however I am earning my Trophies the old fashion way. It will probably be a year before all the fish unlock, giving me a cheap Gold Trophy.

I dismissed this one out of hand when it was previously released, however I did pick it up on sale for $0.99. It is OK at best … I mean it is Uno. I have played a few games online, but I disappointed that a couple of disconnects in the “lobby” counted as game discounts. That or someone figured out a way to hack a couple of wins against me; I am not enough of a junkie at this game to try to follow my statistics to see why the game thinks I have abandon a couple of gaming sessions.

I think you have to really love Uno in order to pick this one up. Not bad for $0.99, but not worth a whole lot more than a single ducket. Then again, this could be a nice diversion if someone wants to get their wife into videogames.

Hustle Kings!
Plus continues to deliver interesting content and discounts. I picked up Hustle Kings! a couple of weeks ago when it was discounted to just under $6. I have only played a few times, but the game seems to offer a really nice pool experience. The bar locations have great aesthetics – music, presentation, and graphics.

I’ll comment more on this one in the future. I picked it up mainly because I suck at pool in real life, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that playing a virtual game will actually help me in real life. To a certain degree it already has, at least when it comes to adding some backspin on pocket shots. In real life I would scratch, following the ball into the pocket, but I am getting the hang of how to avoid this mistake. Hope it carries over!

Hustle Kings! also supports the Move. I am not sure how it compares to playing with a DS controller because I have only used the Move. The game appears to do a good job of supporting the Move, however I have to admit that my poor old fingers and hand gets a little cramped trying to line up fine precession shots. As I said, more on this one later.

Did I just do that? Good grief; that is a lot of gaming playing!

Happy Sunday!


Black Friday Gaming

I am not a huge shopper, except for the stay at home and click on Amazon kind of shopping. This year (at least so far today) I did not see a whole lot of deals that I just had to get.

The tally today is FIFA 11 (DS) and Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii) for the kids, while dear old dad took advantage of a couple of Lightning Deals for God of War Collection (PS3) for a mere $10 and God of War 3 (PS3) for a click under $35. Thanks to the PSP and God of War: Chains of Olympus, I have become somewhat of a Kratos fan. Good stuff.

I am thinking about taking advantage of some of the PSN titles on sale. Joe Danger looks better than decent. I am pretty sure I am going to pull the trigger on Destruction Derby (PSOne); long time readers will remember that seeing the demo of this game made me fall in love with the PlayStation. I have not picked up very many of the 15th Anniversary sale items, but this is one that I will not pass up. Then again … backlog list of games is growing deep. To the good, Destruction Derby will get some use on the PSP.

Gaming today has mostly consisted of Sports Champions, which is a great family title, and of course some Gran Turismo 5 action.

Happy gaming weekend to everyone!


Gran Turismo 5 Collector’s Edition Arrives

Racing nirvana?  Probably not based on past Gran Turismo titles, however I hope it is a damn good driving experience.

It has been a while since I have actually been around the house on a major “release” day.  Thanks to having several days off, I should get in plenty of time with the game.

Upon firing it up, I was prompted to install version 1.01 of the game, which took a couple of minutes.  The game is currently installing 8GB of data on my PS3 Slim HDD.  According to the progress meter, this should take 20 minutes.

Happy me!


Ending Credits

Yesterday I threw up an article congratulating myself for completing Afrika, in the process achieving my first Platinum trophy. This is a great segue into a recent IGN article titled “Why Don’t We Finish More Video Games?

It is a damn good question, and the article brings out a few interesting points that I shall proceed to quote for your reading amusement.

The irregularity of getting a new video game can also blunt your temptation of pulling the rip cord before it’s over. When I was younger, I felt damn lucky to get four or five new video games over the course of a year for my Master System. But now I have the ability to buy more than one video game a month.

Back in my ill spent youth, I too was lucky to receive 3-4 Intellivision games a year. Of course having a December birthday always meant getting shafted – “Christmas will be here in a few days.” Joy. That always sucked.

At any rate, new games were special. These days new games are not exactly special; a dime a dozen. Of course Gran Turismo 5 releases today, however it is not as if I am in dire need of a new game. As the article said, I still have a ton of unfinished games, including F1 2010.

Do you remember game-ending glitches fifteen years ago? Personally, I can’t recall a single game found on a cartridge that suffered from a crippling bugaboo. (PC games have long endured a reputation for shipping before being completely stable.)

There’s now an over-reliance on the ability to patch a console game after it ships via the console’s Internet connection.

I really abhor this aspect of today’s generation of consoles. I remember having arguments with friends and colleagues that PC gaming was a waste of time and effort. Console gaming was the way to go because games were in one nice tidy package, without relying upon patches to “finish” a game. Boy have times changed!

My issue with completing games is one of time; really lack of time. I want to move on to new experiences, and my available free time is limited. I typically end up in a trap of starting a game, playing for a little while, and moving on to the next thing. Moving day occurs because I want to experience the new game, not because the first game sucked.

In theory I am getting better. In the last few months I have “completed” a few PSN titles, God of War Chains of Olympus (on the easier levels at any rate – but I did see the ending!), and of course the lead in for this article, Afrika.


F1 2010: Mmmm … Racing Goodness

You can tell by the title of this post that I am impressed. I spent some time with the game last night in the career mode and running some Time Trials.

For career, I started out by picking STR-Ferrari. For my first race I was tasked with qualifying 15th and finishing the race 12th. Of course underneath the covers my primary goal is to be the race suit off of teammate Sebastien Buemi.

I really appreciate that the developers went to lengths to make the game approachable. You can pick 3-4 difficulty settings, or tweak any of the default settings to customize your gaming experience. Likewise, in the garage, you can select several quick car setups. It all makes for a quick, jump in and play experience.

I am not ashamed to say I started off on the beginner mode, with a few custom handling settings, and went with a 3-year career. I went with 20% race distance, which looks to be the shortest stint that can be selected.

The season begins in Bahrain, so that is where I started practice, playing around with the various race settings. One night with the game is hardly enough to form any final conclusions, but I was seriously impressed with how the various car setups effect on track performance. Lap times were noticeable different after making changes, and there is a readily apparent difference between tire types.

I cannot remember where I finished on the timesheets in practice, but I was in front of Buemi, so that was good enough for me. In between Practice and Qualifying I met the media, and was a team player, which my agent said was very much appreciated by the rest of the team. I jumped back into qualifying and ended up 16th, which was a little disappointing, however Buemi end up in 19th, so my first race weekend was going in my favor. Maybe next time I can make it out of Q1.

At the start of the race I decided to go with the Prime tires; I figured everyone else may start on the Options. If I could leg out a long stint until the bottom part of the race, and maintain a decent position, I could get some flying laps at the end. I think this turned out to be a poor decision.

I got off to a decent start, but spun on my first lap. Ouch. One thing I immediately noticed was that the sky was overcast; looks like rain. In the desert? It was apparent that my car was not handling the same as it did in practice and qualifying. That is a nice touch.

I recovered well enough, and managed to pass a few cars. My race engineer called my in on lap four. Things were really going in my favor as the race seemed to come to me. I found myself running in 8th when I saw a rule warning reminding me that I must use a set of the Option tires. What? I assumed that my race engineer would be smart enough to have switched out my tires when he called me in for a pit.

I asked for a pit, and started pressing all the buttons on my Dual Shock trying to find something with pit instructions. Cross Hair D-Pad did the trick. Unfortunately I selected Intermediate tires. Oops. My race was screwed because of the extra stop, and then was beyond repair because I could not select the right tire types.

So I did a restart; putted around a little bit, but finally turned off the PS3 instead of finishing out the race.

Now that I know a little bit about what is what, I will probably start a new career and select Virgin or Lotus.

I am very impressed with the ease and accessibility of the game; I am sure it is tough as nails on the hardest settings with no driving aids or assists enabled. Fun factor in spades; everything you do with the setup and tires makes a difference. The track also seems to have periods of running faster (so said my race engineer).

In that first race, after the panic of spinning, I got into a serious zone. Too bad I did not select the right tire setup. I assume that even if I managed to switch to Options during the first stop, the tires would have degraded rapidly before the end of the race, forcing me into a second stop.

So it is easy to say that I am disappointed in the pit stops; if the race engineer is going to call me in, he damn well better have things sort out. Maybe there is a race strategy setting that I missed? It looks like it was all down to the driver (and my skills with a controller) instead of the race engineer, which seems strange because I think the race engineer should call the race, with the driver having the option to overrule. Now that I know, I will be better sorted for my next race.

Color me please. F1 console action has never been so fun!

As a quick update, earlier this afternoon I gave Bahrain. This time I started on the Prime tires, was in first place after seven laps, pitted on lap eight, this time successfully putting on the Option tires, and running some decent end of race lap. I landed a podium (3rd place) and was really tickled with my progress. I probably need to step up the difficulty level a notch, but man what a fun racing experience!

Toro Rosso in third in the Constructors race after Round 1. Nice. Calvert in third in the drivers Championship. Good stuff!


F1 2010 Ships

Finally! This sweet puppy should be in my PS3 later today. Based on the various reviews, I do not expect this one to be a cakewalk, but I am so looking forward to a fresh new F1 experience. I sold my copy of Formula One Championship Edition over the summer to raise funds for upcoming purchases, so I have had to weather a “no current F1 experience” storm.

To tide me over, I have been following the reviews (entertainment value) and any articles I could find; the best of which is Eurogamer’s “F1 2010: The Final Lap” developer interview. The article is really compelling because it goes into what the team did not have time to include, and the FIA approval process. Apparently multiplayer with 12 Ferraris on the track was a no go; same for AI drivers changing teams in career mode. Maybe in 2011?

I really need to figure out how to pony up for one of those G27 wheels, but after throwing $200 bones at a Move setup, a purchase wheel is not going to be in my immediate future.

Time permitting I will be back later tonight to post some impressions.


Grumpy Old Gamer Returns

First things first, after contacting Amazon to ask them WTF was up with my F1: 2010 pre-order, I received the following response:

Looking into your order, I see that “F1: 2010″ is back-ordered. I’m sorry about this delay–we certainly didn’t expect that this would happen.

Therefore, this item was delayed. Unfortunately the supply for some items will be limited and they sellout quickly. Sometimes, unexpected fluctuations in supply can add time to our original availability estimate. Though the item is out of stock, we do list the item and receive the order. Once we receive the order we will immediately contact the supplier to obtain the item. Sometimes as the case like yours the supplier failed to obtain the item.

We need to order your copy of item from a different supplier, and it will take us slightly longer than we anticipated to ship this item to you. I apologize that you were not notified sooner of this change in availability.

However, I can confirm that we still expect to ship your order by September 23. It should be delivered to you by September 24.

They are shitting me, right? Not only did I pre-order from the get-go, as soon as the game showed up on Amazon (that would be July 10), I never received any sort of notification that (A) game was on backorder (B) game was not shipping on release day (C) that Amazon had an epic fail.

Color me grumpy. The initial reviews are very promising.

Heavy Rain: Seriously Large Move Patch
After a heck of a long download (took three attempts to get the 1.1GB 2.0 patch to download) I am not that impressed with Move support, however I think it is really just a user error getting the Move controller to calibrate correctly. No matter what I do, when I calibrate, the control area (rectangle on the screen) always seems to “float” to the right – not sure how else to describe this behavior.

I have not attempted to use my second Move controller or replace the Move Navigation controller with a standard Dual Shock. I did not have any calibration issues with Sports Champions, so I am really holding out hope that this is 100% user error.

I have spent some time scouring the various PlayStation boards looking for clues to a fix. Scouring forums with immature posters sometimes offers up good, clean, fun; however when I am looking for help with an issue it just makes me a bitter, grumpy, old gamer.


What’s not in a game? F1 2010

I thought this PlayStation Future preview of F1 2010 was entertaining. Nothing really new or remarkable was presented, however it got me to thinking that when the game is released, the boards will light up because of what is not in the game.

Now, before I go on any further, it’s worth mentioning some things that may not please some people, but you must remember this is Codemasters’ first Formula 1 game and these features can be expected in future F1 titles by the studio. There is no Safety Car, no formation and cool-down lap, and no mechanical failures, although AI can suffer it. The race will never be red flagged (in other words: stopped) although all the other flags are present in the game and have the according meaning.

But to be honest, with what F1 2010 is offering, who cares? There’s so much here you can’t cope!

I agree; there is always F1 2010 Championship Edition, F1 2011 Winter Testing, F1 2011 Rise and Fall of a Champion: Will Schume win again?, and of course the actual F1 2011 Formation Lap Edition. Expect Codemasters to capitalize on their license, recoup their investment in F1 2010, and of course improve the game.

Of course I am getting in front of myself, but this sort of reminded me of the “good old days” which were probably not as great as I remember. Oh well, I still cannot wait for late September when F1 2010 arrives, even if the Safety Car is missing!


Cannot wait for F1 2010 to arrive!

I ran across this great F1 2010 commentary [via N4G], which is an excellent developer write-up and depiction of the racing action found in F1 2010 [360 version] complete with bugs and such. Seriously, if you are a fan of F1 videogames, this is worth a read.

I recently sold my F1: Formula One Championship Edition, which looks to be somewhat collectable (well over the original list price on Amazon). I also sold GT5 Prologue, which in my opinion was a very disappointing game; cannot think of the last time I played it. I enjoyed GT4 for the PS2 much better, but alas it will not work on my new Slim; besides, my youngest son broke the game.

I decided that with F1 2010 (September’ish – hopefully) and GT5 Collector’s Edition (November 2) on the way, it was time to dump some racing games. At one point in time I would have kept both games. After all, F1 CE is “collectable” and I own all the other Gran Turismo game, but times are different. I am getting much better at rotating out games instead of sitting on them. Some value for a dust collector is better than … well, dust.


Codemasters Brings F1 Home

I was over at PlayStation LifeStyle checking out the latest news, and catching up on some older stuff after being out of pocket for a week, and noticed this F1 2010 article.

Are you kidding me? F1 is finally returning to the big boy consoles? In September? With Codemasters behind the development effort of F1 2010? Color me happy!

I’ll preorder this one as soon as it goes up on Amazon, but for now I will hold on to the 2007 release of F1: Formula One Championship Edition for three reasons. First, it is still a fantastic F1 hybrid racing game; fabulous fun running fast laps in the Time Trail mode. Second, it has the US Grand Prix at Indy. Third, the Codemasters’ F1 2010 is an unknown commodity, however their previous hybrid racing track record is solid.


Gran Turismo 5? What to play while waiting?

I know that this is somewhat older news, but I figured I would touch on GT5 for a minute after reading the Nürburgring news at the Official-ish PS Blog.

Nürburgring is definitely a favorite among GT fans, and I’m excited to share with you that Gran Turismo 5 will feature its three courses: the Grand Prix course, the Nordschleife, and the Nürburgring 24 Hours course.

Who doesn’t want to do some GT style racing at Nürburgring? The problem is more along the lines of who is waiting for GT5? I guess most of the PS3 user base, but good grief, what a wait. GT5 better be something special or I have a feeling that it will get killed in the mass market gaming site reviews.

Some good news for simulation style racing fans is that GT5 should have a nice damage model since a NASCAR license is included. Then again, it’s the GT series we are talking about, so I have my doubts. I am sure I will jump in like I always do … I just think the GT series has lost some luster.

GT1 was ahead of its time. GT2 was a great sequel; more of the same, only better. GT3 was a nice PS2 graphical upgrade over its PlayStation counter parts; however it was really nothing special. I enjoyed GT4 and spent countless hours with it, including a boatload of playing time in my PS3. In my opinion, GT4 is the best game in the GT series. Too bad my youngest son cracked the game disk. GT HD Concept? What was the point? It was just a throw away demo to let us know that GT5 was in the works. I have gotten almost no value from Gran Turismo 5 Prologue; I cannot think of the last time I have given it a go. Maybe I will in the next few weeks just to remind myself why it goes unplayed.

More than anything else, I would like to see a GT/Daytona Prototype type game similar to Le Mans 24 Hours – great sense of speed, extremely long races (seriously, you could go 24 real life hours), and a grid of 18-24 cars (do not remember the specific number). I bet that is too much to ask, and is something better left for PC simulation racing. If it could be done on the Dreamcast and PS2 … well, it would seem like some publisher would be able to pick up a license on the cheap.

Before my PS3 died, I was getting some quality time with Ferrari Challenge. I know it is not a great game, but it provides me with a decent simulation experience and a decent racing challenge.

Over the last couple of days I spent some time with F1 Championship Edition. The Turkish GP inspired me, so I ran some Time Trail hot laps at Istanbul, and then Montreal in anticipation of next week’s Canadian GP. This game is great fun for me running hot laps.  It is hard for me that this 2007 release is still the only US F1 release. What a waste of a great license.


Monday Random Gaming Notes

Today I will be brief. First, I am not sold on the new PlayStation Move or Social Gaming. It’s probably an unfair comparison, however if I wanted motion control in my games the kids’ Wii would be in the living-room. I have never been a huge fan of online gaming, so I doubt that I will just dive into new social gaming communities.

Over the weekend I spent some time with MLB10; what a fantastic game of baseball! I am very much still on the back half of the learning curve; cannot hit a lick … mostly because on timed hitting I swing way too early or chase too many pitches. It was a satisfying feeling when I won my first game after dropping the first six!

A huge plus with the game for me is that the CPU batters actually strike out; including getting called out looking. As much as I like all the real time broadcast angles, clips, and whatnots that help MLB10 provide an immersive experience, I equally appreciate the fast play options.

I decided to jump back into Ferrari Challenge to go trophy whoring. I had a great time running hot laps, but it took my something like 25+ times to get the Hot Shot trophy (Bronze – Tutorial mode). I kept missing on apex accuracy, or racing line; I guess after all these years of racing games I still do not know how to corner!

Happy Monday!