Now Playing – The Random Trophy Stuff Edition

I continue on my no longer so torrid tour of Mel B, but with the kids’ soccer I am only hitting one or two workouts a week.

While Mel B may not be the best Move implementation (there are a handful of exercises that will not register correctly with the camera + Move), Sports Champions seems to be really solid. After putting this one aside for a long time, I returned to it in order to get more Move satisfaction. Pretty decent game, enjoyable by the whole family; Trophies are a complete grind.

I finished up Sam and Max (episodes 4 and 5) this week. Mostly because they were sitting on my HDD waiting to be played, partially because I may let my PS+ subscription expire in a few months, sort of because the series is less stress and semi-entertaining. And I would be lying to you if I did not say the Trophies were an easy bonus. Sam and Max episodes 1 – 5 were free earlier this year for PS+ subscribers.

Pixiljunk Shooter – First one; highly addicting, fun shooter + puzzle combo. In this case I have to say that the Trophies add to the overall ‘experience’ – I could just blow through the game, but how would that be fun? I had to get some help for the ‘Coin Collector Trophy’ – for me it was much more luck than skill.

Not to digress too much, but I think Trophies are kind of like those collection JRPG games. You either are into them or you are not. When Trophies were first introduced, I could care less; however now I am card carrying Trophy whore. To me they add a little extra excitement, as in the case of Pixiljunk Shooter; these are actually fun to try to unlock. For other games, some of the Trophies are just meat grinders. These types I can pass on, and typically do.

Just got the Platinum Trophy for Madden 2011 this morning. Yes, I’m still playing the current (old) one. I have become a certified Trophy whore. I decided to ‘finish’ up the game before the new version is release on Tuesday. Technically Madden 2012 is already out for those that spent the extra cash on the EA Season Ticket crap; obviously I did not.

Speaking of those Trophies, the ‘Pick Up 6’ Trophy, which requires you to win a ‘Fight for the Fumble’ in the end zone was a major PITA. It was not going to happen for me during the course of normal games, and while I attempted some ‘cheats’ to make it easier, I just could not close off this final Trophy until I stumbled across this video. Using this technique it only took me two attempts to close off my third Platinum Trophy.

Looking Forward …
Georgia takes on Boise St. September 3 in the Georgia Dome, so I really need to jump back into NCAA Football 2012. It has been years since I was successful at getting some decent value for my money out of two football titles. With three kids plus work, I bet I am screwed.

I have several games on pre-order including the before mentioned Madden 12, F1 2011, FIFA 12, and the ICO Collection. September is awfully full.

I am also considering looking at WKC II, although I have no earthly idea why because I never got very far into WKC:I. I guess I got distracted doing the needful.

We will wrap up with Kung Fu Rider. I think this one will suck, although I hope to get a few hours of family fun out of it for my efforts.

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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 …

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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.

FIFA 10
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.

Uno
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.

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

Happy Sunday!

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Final Fantasy XIII – And A Whole Heaping Helping of Incoming Games

Speaking of not having enough time to play games, I just pre-ordered FFXIII from amazon, which has a nice $10 off a future video game purchase promotion.

Get a $10 Video Games Credit
Order Final Fantasy XIII and get $10 off a future video game purchase. The promotional code will be placed directly into your Amazon.com account within 2 business days after the product ships. Offer valid when shipped and sold by Amazon.com. Promotion valid on all existing orders. Limit one per household. Amazon reserves the right to change or terminate this promotion at any time.

It is about to be a crazy-stupid time for videogames. Besides being loaded up on current games, an unbelievable amount of gaming goodness is headed my way over the next few weeks.

Upcoming – Preorder and “Watch List” Games:

  • White Knight Chronicles International (will arrive today)
  • MLB 10: The Show (March 2)
  • Heavy Rain (February 23) – Interesting title; will probably wait for a sale, price drop, or other buying incentive.
  • FFXIII (March 9)
  • God of War III (March 16) – I should really play God of War Collection before jumping on the GoW bandwagon.
  • 2010 FIFA World Cup (April 27) – Probably do not need this and FIFA 10.

Good grief! It looks like I am all set for gaming for a long time except for a new quality racer. Gran Turismo 5 Prologue just never did it for me. I guess F1: Championship Edition and Ferrari Challenge can hold me over until the next great racing title lands in my laps.

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FIFA 10 Ultimate Team Feb 25

I just opened my latest propaganda email from EA, which announced the upcoming release of FIFA 10 Ultimate Team (FIFA UT) on February 10.

Coming February 25th to Xbox® LIVE & PSN!
Choose from over 7,500 players from 29 different leagues and build your squad of soccer superstars in this exciting new game mode! Once assembled, compete in dynamically updated tournaments online!

FIFA UT looks much deeper than the recent offering from Madden 10 Ultimate Team (MUT), but perhaps that is to be expected since FIFA UT will be a second generation product. The only concern I have is that the various videos only talk about online tournaments. Longtime readers know that I am not a big fan of random online opponents, but maybe FIFA UT will give me a reason to suck it up.

An additional concern is that FIFA UT is “pay to play” feature. I am already struggling to overcome my loathing of throwing real dollars at MUT, much less throwing money at an add-on feature for FIFA 10, which is being release within striking distance of 2010 FIFA World Cup. We all knew EA would go crazy this year with FIFA releases, but that is another article.My concern with the timing of the release FIFA UT is twofold. First, how long will EA support this mode? Maybe 7-8 months before this fall’s seasonal release of FIFA 11? Second, will FIFA UT have an active and enthusiastic user base considering that 2010 FIFA World Cup will be available in April?

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FIFA 10 (comparing scores)

When the game was first released I mentioned that I was surprised at the metacritic scores; reviewers gave much higher rating than fan votes. After playing the game over the last few weeks, I think it is a real winner, which brings me to the point of this post.

I am surprised to see the metacritic reviewer (91% for 53 critic reviews) vs. user (7.7 user score based on 50 votes) discrepancy remain so high. I really thought they would trend towards each other, but for some reason that is not the case. If only a few of the reviews were high, and they were from mega sites, the cynic in me would say that EA paid off the reviewers. The reviewer sampling is much too high, so the only thing I can assume is that the user scores are full of bunk.

It just seems really strange to me that this game is universally acclaimed by most reviewers, but the users say it is average at best. I have not even begun to explore the depth of FIFA 10; most of my games are really just quick pick up and play games (Team U.S.A. vs. random opponents). I think the gameplay is beyond solid, and the game will have a ton of staying power (i.e. replay value).

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FIFA 10 – More First Thoughts

One of the things that surprised me about FIFA has nothing to do with the gameplay, but for me is a most welcome addition. After a game (I have only played quick matches) there are actually detailed statistics. Back when I was playing more, and reviewing games, one of my gripes about soccer games in general and in particular FIFA, was the lack any detailed statistics. Most game just had the standard possession percentage, shots on goal, maybe shot accuracy, fouls, cards, and who scored. This was always disappointed because I did not understand why developers could not make deeper statistical games along the lines of what you would see in your typical Madden, NBA Live, and MLB game.

Of course all of this could be old hat to some of you, but this is my first foray into a PS3 soccer game. Hopefully the end game summaries after the quick match mode foretell deeper statistical tracking in the other game modes. Seeing player ratings, man of the match, and a graphical representation of where shots were taken and by which player almost brought tears to my eyes. OK, not really on the tears part, but this type of statistical breakdown is a most welcome addition.

More to come over the next few days. Hopefully. God willing and if the creeks don’t rise.

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FIFA 10 – First Game

I got in a quick game of FIFA 10 earlier this evening. I have not played a FIFA game in a while, so I just ran with the default settings. I started a quick match against Mexico and promptly lost 2-0. Unfortunately I have no idea what I am doing yet. Besides probably sucking, I just looked lost on the pitch. I actually controlled time of possession and out shot Mexico 13-2. Of course the CPU landed its two shots, while I was all over the map with my shots.

So far I like what I saw. The graphics are nice, the presentation is top notch, and the commentary was entertaining without being too repetitive (only one match in so keeping my fingers crossed). The gameplay is what matters, but it is way too early for me to offer up any sort of impressions. I just hope with a little luck I will get better, master the controls, learn how to shoot with some accuracy, and actually beat the CPU on a regular basis.

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FIFA 2010 scores start off as a mixed bag

I did not get home in time to take FIFA 2010 for a spin last night; hopefully today will be a different story. Checking out the metacritic scores today I noticed some strange extremes between the reviewer scores (91% based on 40 critic reviews) and the user votes (7.2 based on 12 votes).

As the game gets circulated I am sure that the numbers will converge a little, but if the user votes remain 20 percentage points lower than the critic reviews something is amiss.

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Will FIFA 10 be the best ever soccer game?

Or put it another way, will FIFA 10 rule the soccer world? I was looking for some FIFA 10 news, and came across this IGN UK review (9.3 out of 10).

FIFA 10 is a culmination of the efforts poured into the franchise since it made the leap to the current generation, efforts that have helped it leapfrog Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer and become the premier football game these past couple of years. If FIFA 08 and 09 were statements of intent, then this is the killing blow, and it’s going to take something extraordinary for anything to come close to this for some time to come.

The review is very favorable. I have not played a PS3 version of FIFA, so I am looking forward to this game. I wish it was out before CONCACAF World Cup qualifying resumes Oct 10 and Oct 14. I pre-orderd FIFA 10 from Amazon for 56.99 + free release-date delivery, which is really a good deal.

I am sure we are going to see several versions of FIFA 10 over the next 12 months: Road to the Cup and a World Cup edition are strong possibilities. If FIFA 10 really has a solid engine, I wonder if EA will opt for some sort of DLC instead. Maybe $14.99 for a Tournament Edition or some such instead of money grubbing wholly new games based on FIFA 10.

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Understanding me gaming limits.

When Little Big Planet (LBP) was announced, I was immediately enthusiastic about the game, and put it on my “purchase” list. However, I was smart enough to recognize the true reality of my current gaming situation – I just do not have enough time to put this type of game in my library. It will end up collecting dust. Been there and done that.

Last week the PlayStation Blog announced the Little Big Planet: Game of the Year Edition. It looks like it is full of goodies and extras and whatnots, but I still face the same problem – not having enough time to add LBP to my gaming mix.

I have written about this more and more lately; these days I am a much more discerning gamer when making my gaming purchases. I not only consider price, current time available for gaming, and potential longevity of the game.

For price, there is a big difference between play $59.99 or $29.99 for a Greatest Hits title or a game that has been discounted. I am much more willing to try something different at a lower price point than I am at full MSRP. Recent examples include Ferrari Challenge ($17.99) and Ratchet and Clank TOD ($29.99). I wanted both of these games, but unlike Madden 10, I was not willing to pay full price. I would like a soccer game, but I am not willing to pay $49.99 for FIFA 09 when I know that a new version is only a couple of months away.

I also consider how much time I have available for gaming. At this point in my life my gaming time ebbs and flows with the seasons and various activities. Fall is upon us so Falcons games are coming up, the weather is better for shooting my Beeman R collection, and of course the kids have various sporting activities. In short, I will probably not pick up many games between now and Christmas because I know I just will not have time to play them to their fullest potential regardless of their purchase price.

Finally, when evaluating a game purchase I consider the longevity of a game. I do not mind paying $59.99 for a game if I know that I will play it for 18 (or more months). Take Oblivion for example; that game has so much replay value that I doubt I will ever find time to complete it fully. The exceptions to this rule are sports games – I usually try to sell them on eBay after 6-9 months to attempt to get $30 or so to “reinvest” in the next annual installment.

So back to LBP. It has longevity going for it, but I now deep down inside that I just do not have time to dedicate to this type of game, which is too bad because I am still interested in the game. Maybe one day.

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Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction

Earlier this week I picked up Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction for $29.99 from the local Best Buy. I had been waiting for this one to hit Greatest Hits status for a long time, and it is finally here. I actually scored the only copy in the store, sans the Greatest Hits label. Over the weekend I noticed that the local big box had several copies, also without the Greatest Hits label, but Toys R Us did not have any copies on the shelf. I guess that the Greatest Hits shipments have not started flowing in the Columbus market yet.

I had a blast with the R&C ToD demo; played it many times, but there is only so much you can do with a demo. I always knew that I would enjoy the game, but the discriminating gamer in me has turned into more or less a tight ass in my elder gaming years. These days I rarely throw down $60 on the table for a brand spanking new game. In the case of R&C ToD, I figured I could wait.

I looked at several stores for a discounted version of FIFA 2009 for the PS3, or maybe even the PSP, but the best I could find was $49.99 (PS3) and $29.99 (PSP). I want a soccer game, but unless I can find one discounted (maybe on eBay) I am just going to hold out for the October release of FIFA 10. I can see myself ending up with the PS3 version and maybe the digital version for the PSP Go (assuming I have a Go), but that brings me back to the “digital downloads will not allow me to sell on eBay” issue, so I need to consider this a littler further.

I found a surprise deal at Toys R Us – LEGO Batman (PS3) for $19.99, but I showed some restraint and did not pull the trigger on a purchase because I just picked up R&C ToD. Of course I keep thinking that I should get it for that price, and my wife agrees (have to love that lady!). I am going to spend some time checking out the reviews and then decide if I need to make a Sunday afternoon trip back to Toys R Us. The metacritic scores average 75%, which puts it squarely in that realm of “it is probably just Ok” so not really worth $20 unless I have nothing else to play, although it support PSP Remote Play, which may put it over the top. Toys R Us also had the PSP version for $19.99, but I will pass on that one for now.

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Saturday morning gaming update.

This morning as I was slurping down a couple of cups of the black stuff, what I like to call the nectar of the gods, I put together a few nuggets of gaming goodness for your reading pleasure. I am going to start prepping for a morning run before the heat manages to reach sunstroke levels. Lots of family activities, household chores, and some work are on the radar for today, but I should have some time for gaming this afternoon. After all, it is too damn hot to do anything else.

Search for cheap soccer.
Recent CONCACAF 2010 World Cup qualifying action, the miraculous Confederations Cup run into the finals, and upcoming Gold Cup play has me jonesing for a decent soccer title. Over the last few months of complete gaming inactivity, I sold off my PSP and PS2 soccer titles (I never bothered to pick one up for the PS3). I think I have some sort of PES for the PS2 (maybe), but I think I may actually be soccer less for the first time in recent memory. I am not sure how I arrived at this low point, but I digress.

I thought about picking up FIFA 2009, but it is still selling for close to $50 for the PS3 and $30 for the PSP. That is too steep a hill to climb when the annual update is only four months away. The next versions of PES are due in November, but much like the FIFA games, the “current” versions of Pro Evolution Soccer are just not what I would consider reasonable. It is hard for me to stomach throwing down $40 for a game when the new version is due in November.

Of course that is the way it is with sports games. They seldom hold value, and while there are bargains to be found on the used market, the retail price holds because the manufactures and retails assume some unsuspecting mother or grandparent will decide to go with the “cheaper” version of the game.

I guess there is always Worldwide Soccer Manager. I have not tried one of those in a couple of years, but I think for now I am going to have to sit on this one and decide if my jones is going to force me into what I consider an overpriced purchase.

XPlay G4TV
A couple of nights ago I caught the tail end of the God of War III demo (or preview, advertisement propaganda) on G4TV. I only saw the final 10 minutes, but the game looked extremely impressive. I have never played a GoW title, but I have the first one tucked away somewhere. All the button manipulations and combos and specialized moves in these types of games are just too damn trying for this older gamer. Still, when March 2010 rolls around, given prosperity and continued good health, I may be inclined to give this one a go.

Qore (November)
I finally got around to installing and watching the November Qore episode. I only have a couple of comments about the actual episode. First, the Japanese content was much too brief. Just when it started getting interesting, it closed too quickly. I think the Japanese gaming scene is something that could have been greatly expanded, and is the type of content that most gamers would enjoy watching. My other comment is that when you actually know what Veronica Belmont is talking about when she holds up a PS3 version of Aquanaut’ Holiday, you are probably a little over the top. Dare I say a complete gaming nerd or geek? I was going to say hardcore, but I always hated that term, and I have no idea what it has been replaced with in this current generation of gamers.

Trophy Whore
I have never read anything from The VFLHP Blog, but I came across this article via N4G, and decided it was worth a reference. The author talks about some of the good points brought about by the advent of trophies, and then goes into the bad points. All that is well and good, but the writer never gets off the fence; comes across as rather wishy-washy.

The anti-Trophy brigade sees them as the worst thing to happen to gaming since the Wii (Yeah I said it!!!). Excuse my French but the phrase “Trophy Whore” has now entered the vocabulary of most gamers. This is a person who has basically become addicted to collecting Trophies. This is the main problem most people have with Trophies. There is no denying the fact that there are now people who only buy games in order to get the Trophies in them. One look at www.ps3trophies.co.uk gives us a clear example of how big this “Trophy Hoarding” has become. Right at the top of the Trophy Leaderboard is Killerxx from (Yeah you guessed it!) the USA, who has collected no less than 2683 trophies, including 44 platinum ones, which means he/she has bought and played at least 44 games to death! I don’t mean to insult this person but a certain “World Of Warcraft” inspired episode of South Park springs to mind!

I see no downside to trophies. They add value to games, and they make playing some older long forgotten game a little worthwhile. I would hazard a bet that gamers addicted to trophies were already addicted to gaming.

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The day gaming died.

I think today is the day that I finally realized that gaming has died. Well, maybe not died, but it is truly on life support. As long as I was on a roll with some blog updates, I figured I would check out the latest videogame action to see what I wanted to write about. I cruised on over to n4g, and looked around. First I took a glance at the general news page, then the PS3 section, and finally the PSP section. Nothing of interest. Nothing to get excited about. Nothing to make me turn on my PS3.

It has been a while since I played anything. My PSP lives in a drawer waiting for me to recharge its batteries; hoping and praying for a business trip that will let it strut its stuff. My PS3 sits idle, waiting for me to put in something other than a Blu-ray movie. And so it goes.

At some point I have to ask myself WTF is wrong with me? Am I defective? OK, don’t answer that one, but right now I am not sure when I will get close to being enthusiastic about gaming. It has been months since I wanted to play anything. Come to think of it, Madden was the last game I purchased and played (and certainly not $90 collection edition enough to get value for my purchase). I wonder if playing Madden is the gaming equivalent of a cock block.

It may be time to switch gears and pick up something PC oriented. A return to text based simulations such as Football Manager or Out of the Park Baseball. Or maybe check out Spore, Civilization, or some other addictive simulation. Maybe even give World of Warcraft another go. As it stands right now, gaming is on life support. Hopefully sooner or later, it will come back alive and kicking.

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