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by Ethos

Tingle! Tingle! Kooloo-Limpah! #013 – It’s My Birthday, Bitches!

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Well folks, it is now officially my birthday. And so far, my wonderful and beautiful girlfriend has wished me happy birthday, and so has Nate Liles.

THAT’S IT! Nope, Riddles texted about something completely different then made a silly claim about “time zones”, and Constipated Cow called to say “oh fuck, did I miss your birthday? It was the other day, right? I’m a bad friend”. Damn straight you’re a bad friend! I know your birthday is May 15, and that’s without consulting Facebook. Idiot.

I’m actually horrible with birthdays, so I shouldn’t talk. I’ve forgotten my mother’s birthday on 3 of the past 4 years. Still, on this joyous occasion I will still bring you all belated news. I went to Microsoft’s X10 event today, and although a bunch of great games were playable, I spent 2 hours in 8 different interviews instead. Oh well, at least it was an open bar. The point is that I’m tired, so let’s talk about semi-new Gamescom news!

There’s a lot, so just find the headlines or pictures you like, and pick and choose your stories if you’re in a tl;dr mood, I won’t get offended.

No longer just a mock-up

The Normandy Lands on a New Space (Play)Station

This is the oldest news, but still some of the biggest. Ray Muzyka, the CEO of Bioware, made the announcement on Tuesday that Mass Effect 2 would be coming to PS3 with “hours of bonus content”. The port is planned to be released in January 2011 with “no plans” to bring the original over as well. In fact, Microsoft made sure to pee all over this announcement to mark their territory on the franchise. Here is a statement they gave to IGN.

With both Mass Effect titles launching first on Xbox 360 combined with the wealth of available paid downloadable content on Xbox Live today, Xbox 360 remains the best place to experience the Mass Effect franchise…and the original Mass Effect is absolutely an Xbox 360 exclusive, making Xbox 360 the only place to get the full Mass Effect experience

You can feel the panic in their text. Still, I have no interest in replaying the series on another console unless I get to play through all of my choices, so they have a point. And seeing how Microsoft published the original game, it will be a while – if ever – before it sees the light of day on another console. (IGN)

Microsoft’s Copout Handheld System

Microsoft is trying really hard to fight off Apple. Windows 7 is their obvious attempt to combat (see: emulate) Mac OS, and their Windows Phone 7 is their newest attempt at an iPhone killer. Not just as a powerful smartphone, but apparently as a gaming platform like the iPhone has become. In fact, Kevin Unangst – some exec at Microsoft – even went as far to say the following,

We’re looking at this like: Call it like a console launch. It’s really like our portable console launch in that there’s a constant hardware set, we’re specifically choosing the content we want, and it’s about bringing all of those service features over.

Sure, the hardware is made by a third party, but why not try to throw it into the portable console race as well? To their credit, the phone is shaping up to pretty slick and pretty powerful with a lot of thought going into the gaming side of things. I won’t have any real interest, however, until I hear about things more interesting than Peggle. Because I can get Peggle on PSN, thank you. Not that Peggle has been announced, it was just an example. (IGN)

Everything Cole is New Again

I truly outdo myself. What a great headline.

But onto the story, I haven’t seen a backtrack this quick since Sony’s doomed boomerang controller. Anybody remember that thing? Was I the only fan? Anyhoo, while people were hyped for all the new Infamous 2 stuff, the new design and voice of Cole made it a bittersweet unveiling. While the voice appears to be unchanged, Cole’s newest design – while still different – is far more akin to the original. Which do you prefer?

Old New Cole:

New Old Cole:

I have to say that the New Old Cole does seem less douchey, what with the lack of necklaces. Although as much as I loved Infamous, it wasn’t for the story and characters, sorry. (IGN)

Resistance 3?!?! What a Surprise!!!

That’s the whole story, really. It’s finally been officially confirmed beyond that movie set still grabbed in October 2009. I liked the original a lot more than the sequel, but I’m willing to give this third installment a chance. That is, of course, after we get some more details. We currently have none. Maybe this should belong in the “quickie” section, but that’s swiftly becoming the “impressions and not actually news” section. (IGN)

HD soon!

No More Wii Exclusive

I never played either No More Heroes games for the Wii although they seem to have a cult following. But it looks like now I’ll have a chance to try it the series on a real system. A HD remake of the original title that will be released as “No More Heroes: Heroes’ Paradise”, was announced today during a Konami press conference at Gamescom. No release date was mentioned beyond 2011, but more importantly it was confirmed that the game can be played with traditional controls despite supporting Playstation Move. (IGN)

Portal 2 in February 2011

Hey, not all my headlines have to be clever. Valve confirmed that Portal 2 – the full follow-up to the unexpected and superb mini-title – will be released on February 9th for PS3, 360, and PC. No timed exclusives. Simple and beautiful news.

As a little piece of supplementary news, Game Informer tells us that Stephen Merchant will voice the character of Wheatley, who is apparently a British robot. I haven’t been following the game as to not spoil too much. Anyhoo, you might know Stephen Merchant from the British version of The Office, or – as I know him – The Ricky Gervais show. (IGN)

QUICKIES/PREVIEWS:

Mortal Kombat First Look- Damn it! This is a game I could have played today, but didn’t have time to. It sounds like it’ll be the first good Mortal Kombat game in a very long time.

Killzone 3 Multiplayer- If you care. He also goes into the Move controls a little bit at the bottom. He’s diplomatic, but he you can tell he didn’t really care for them.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One- Enh, I just got into this franchise! I don’t want something this drastically new, more of the same please! The editor is optimistic, but I’m apathetic.

More Zelda Impressions- I’m sorry, but talk of the game occasionally misreading movements and a 95% accuracy rate being presented as a positive thing doesn’t get me excited for the game. But I expected this.

WHAT A BEAST!!! I’m done. It’s my birthday.

Hey! Look! Listen!

Friday, April 9th, 2010

HeyLookListenLogo1

OLIVER MOTOK IS WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING, ALWAYS.

Didn’t we just agree on the last award? Yes. Yes we did. I just wanted to start this off the same way he did. So Riddles and I are thinking about starting to officially split this feature. What do you guys think? Don’t worry, he’ll never get control of Scatter Storming again.

Anyhoo, a decent splooge of news on this fine Friday, and I’m pretty busy, so let’s get to it.

Heavy Rain Sells Over a Million

Woo.

I don’t really care, to be honest. I know Riddles and a bunch of people loved this game, but that “gameplay” really didn’t do it for me. Cool, intense, well-directed stuff, but I’m lukewarm on the – probably soon to be – series. Quantic Dream seemed surprised at the numbers, though. Founder David Cage admitted that he expected the Playstation exclusive to sell closer to 300 000 units at best, so all those Quantic Dream people are probably having a bunch o’ parties right about now.
(IGN)

Portal 2 on the PS3?

Now here’s some surprise PS3 news I can sink my teeth into.

It’s a surprise, of course, because Valve isn’t really known for giving the consoles – and Sony in particular – much love. The Orange Box was the worst on the PS3 and Valve didn’t really seem to care. But more importantly, when Portal 2 was announced in early March, only Xbox 360 and PC versions were mentioned. Now, this is still just a rumour because Valve still hasn’t commented, but UK Playstation gaming magazine, PSM3 has a cover story that reads “36 Must-Play PS3 Game” and as you can see below, Portal 2 is listed. This would be fantastic news as Portal – short as it may be – is easily one of my favourite games this generation, and Valve hasn’t been secretive in mentioning that they are loving the way the sequel is shaping up.
portal2
(IGN)

Pokémon Generation V Named. RACIST?!?!

Bah-ha ha ha.
Obviously not racist, but the newest games have been revealed to be titled “Black” and “White”, so I thought I’d try to stir up some controversy. No other details out yet, but the official site says that the wait won’t be long. Until April 15th to be exact.

I’m not sure if Nintendo was running out of ridiculous ways to name their games, or if Black and White are trying to indicate some sort of “back to the basics” mentality. Which wouldn’t make any sense because other than expected upgrades alongside handheld progression, the games haven’t changed at all. Oh well, we’ll see.
(IGN)

Gears of War 3 Announced. Oops.

Good ol’ 360 Dashboard. I don’t think this is the first time details about a major game have shown up there before they were supposed to. Anyway, while it’s down now, there was an announcement up for a time on the 360 Dashboard revealing an April 2011 release for Gears of War 3.

Now, I’m a mild fan of these games, but the timing of that date in conjunction with Natal’s holiday release, and the weird comments about RPG elements entering the gameplay that have drifted from Microsoft have turned me off a bit since polishing off Gears 2. Also, the match-making really sucked. So much for Gold subscription costs going to a unified, stable, and reliable online service. Anyway, now that the cover is blown, I’m sure we’ll hear more about this game very soon.
(IGN)

Hells yes

Hells yes

Because I Can – Green Day: Rock Band Track Listing Revealed.

I fucking love Green Day. Another one of those rare things that unifies Riddles and I is our shared love for this band that seems to split audiences into being a rabid fan or an extreme hater.

Whatever the case, I like the direction they’re taking with Green Day: Rock Band by including (almost) three full albums right off the bat. I say almost because all of Dookie and American Idiot will be available right from the get-go, whereas a third of 21st Century Breakdown will be day one DLC. Which actually makes a bit of sense because most of those tracks are already available for download, and knowing the way Rock Band works, you’ll likely be able to carry those tracks over to play with the new disc seamlessly if you already own them.

There’s more DLC planned, and a few other tracks from other albums so head over to IGN if you’re interested in perusing the entire track listing. I’m excited, I haven’t played music games in ages, and I kinda miss them.

Well! There you go! Do I do the job well enough? I have a billion other things to do today, so there won’t be much of an outro.

Out!

Hey! Look! Listen!

Saturday, March 6th, 2010

HLLfinal

1:32 a.m. on a Friday night, and what am I doing?

Nothing FUN, that’s for sure. I’m at my desk, surrounded by empty bottles of cheap lager, writing an article for you fucks. I hope you enjoy it.

Actually, I hope you don’t, because that would SHOW you.

Yeah.

Anyway. Let me grab another Yuengling, and we’ll get started.

Bobby NodickActivision Vs. Zampella/West: Things are Getting Heated

You guys should pay attention to this, because it’s one of the juicier, more scandalous stories to emerge from the game industry since Jack Thompson was disbarred.

In the previous edition of HLL, I reported on the unceremonious canning of Infinity Ward’s two main men, Jason West and Vince Zampella. I also reported that Activision had filed an SEC suite against both of them, citing “insubordination” and “breaches of contract.”

Well, the (seemingly) dynamic duo of West and Zampella aren’t taking this one lying down. They’re counter-suing Activision, claiming that the company owes them royalties for work on the massively popular Modern Warfare 2, and that they were fired without proper cause. They’re not playing small-time here either: their suit demands 36 million USD in damages, as well as the rights to the Modern Warfare brand. (Not Call of Duty, mind you; but Modern Warfare.)

Said West: “We were shocked by Activision’s decision to terminate our contract. We poured our heart and soul into that company, building not only a world class development studio, but assembling a team we’ve been proud to work with for nearly a decade. We think the work we’ve done speaks for itself.”

Said Zampella: “After all we have given to Activision, we shouldn’t have to sue to get paid.”

Said Activision: (full commented blockquoted for douchery)

“Activision is disappointed that Mr. Zampella and Mr. West have chosen to file a lawsuit, and believes their claims are meritless,” the company said in a statement e-mailed to Kotaku by a spokesperson. “Over eight years, Activision shareholders provided these executives with the capital they needed to start Infinity Ward, as well as the financial support, resources and creative independence that helped them flourish and achieve enormous professional success and personal wealth.

“In return, Activision legitimately expected them to honor their obligations to Activision, just like any other executives who hold positions of trust in the company. While the company showed enormous patience, it firmly believes that its decision was justified based on their course of conduct and actions. Activision remains committed to the Call of Duty franchise, which it owns, and will continue to produce exciting and innovative games for its millions of fans.”

Well. If anything’s clear at this point, it’s the question of appearances. West and Zampella look like two creative geniuses who’ve been thrown under the bus, while Activision continues to look like a grand, huge, massive, gargantuan, money-grubbing bag of douche.

And, frankly, I wouldn’t be too surprised if that turned out to be exactly the case. I have no proof, of course, but the pieces fit. Why the hell would Activision fire their two golden boys? Either they were doing something awful, like, say, money laundering – or Activision just wants them out of the way. Creative differences, perhaps? Arguments over what direction the Modern Warfare brand should take? Understand, as the heads of Infinity Ward, West and Zampella had complete control over the Modern Warfare subseries.

There are countless rumors and nuances to this story, and I’m not going to try to sum them all up here. It’s honestly deserving of a site feature in and of itself. I’ve given you the basic facts. Choose your side, place your bets, and we’ll see where this goes.

portal 2 - GIPortal 2 Unceremoniously Announced

I don’t care about Portal. I’ve never played it. I actually have it sitting on my PC’s hard drive somewhere if I’m not mistaken, but I’ve yet to give it a go. Regardless, a lot of people like Portal. So. All of those people can now officially get excited.

I say “unceremoniously” because rumors have been flying around for a while, and it was revealed the next month’s Game Informer would feature a Portal 2 cover story. After all of this happened, Valve confirmed it through steam.

So yeah, that’s pretty much it. Maybe we’ll see a reveal trailer at GDC? It is next week, after all – and Valve’s very own Gabe Newell will be receiving a “pioneer award” (whatever the fuck that is) at the show. (VG247)

dsi-xlOh Snap: DSi XL and iPad to Hit Retail Within Days of Eachother

C’mon, isn’t this at least kinda interesting? The DSi XL and the Apple iPad, two devices that a) are catered to people who like… uh… large things, and b) don’t need to exist for any reason are both hitting North American retailers within the same week. You can grab a DSi XL on March 28, and then an iPad on April 3.

All of you “size matters” people should be in heaven. Me? I’ll be sitting back and laughing at anyone dumb enough to purchase either device. Unless they’re really old and have problems seeing things properly. I’ll still be laughing then, but for different reasons.

Thanks to GamerLimit

Thanks to GamerLimit

Here, I’ll Up the Ante: Michael Atkinson is a Stupid, Melodramatic, Misguided, Fame-Seeking Fuck.

Note: I did NOT call him a crook.

Everyone other than SiliconNoob is probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about. Well, it goes like this: there’s this little island nation called Australia. Australia likes to ban a lot of games. They’re sensitive like that. Left 4 Dead 2 is one of the most recent examples. One of the reasons for this is that Australia’s most “mature” rating for games is MA15+. After L4D2′a banning in Australia, a bunch of sensible people decided that it might be time to introduce an R18+ rating for Australia, so we could end this nonsense of banning and/or altering games once and for all.

For the hell of it, South Australia’s Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, decided he didn’t like the idea. He’s opposing it tooth and nail. He just doesn’t understand WHY Australians crave more sex and violence in their interactive media! From a letter he wrote to… uh… someone:

“It does not follow that a game is more interesting to an adult simply because it contains extreme violence, explicit sexual material, or highly offensive language. Indeed, with all the effort and money that goes into game development, coupled with the effects and graphics now available, there is no need to introduce these extreme elements. I am baffled and worried about why proponents of R.18+ games are putting up their hands and saying ‘Give us more cruel sex and extreme violence!’”

Cruel sex…?

Anyway. The above was just a crash-course in Michael Atkinson, seeing that I’ve never mentioned him on the site before. In a nutshell: he’s an idiot. The real story is this: sometime last year, a dude named Dean McQuillan submitted a comment on an Adelaide-based website. Somewhere in the comment, he called Atkinson a “crook.”

Because the comment was “highly defamatory,” Atkinson is now suing McQuillan for $20,000.

Yes, you read that correctly. An Australian attorney general is suing a civilian for calling him a “crook” online. And that’s, quite literally, all there is to it.

Atkinson’s head must be one hell of a place to be. Obviously the guy has some serious issues of self-worth, because he seems to be doing his very best to simply be noticed – to  hell with what he’s being noticed for. But hey, I suppose we should thank him. It’s been too long since we gamers have had a public figure outside the industry than we can love to hate. (Kotaku)

shimomuraNERD ALERT: Yoko Shimomura to Score Xenoblade

What? You don’t know who Yoko Shimomura is?! Where is your nerd card, sir?

Anyway. Yoko Shimomura wrote all the pretty music for Kingdom Hearts. She’s damn good at what she does, and if Famitsu via Destructoid is to be believed, she’ll be providing the music for the upcoming Wii RPG, Xenoblade.

I’ve actually been fairly interested in Xenoblade for some time now, if only because I’m the world’s biggest Xeno-fanboy. (Xenoblade is, for the record, written and directed by Tetsuya Takahashi, the mastermind behind the Xenogears/Xenosaga games.)  Shimomura’s musical presence only sweetens the deal. I was actually just listening to the final boss themes from Kingdom Hearts II. Absolutely fantastic stuff. Xenoblade is set for release in North America sometime this spring.

FFXIII logoLook at All the Final Fantasy XIII Reviews

That pesty embargo for Final Fantasy XIII reviews has been lifted, so now the internet is practically swelling with verdicts on Square Enix’s first current-gen entry in the beloved series. Go to GameRankings. You might be a little surprised at what you see.

Having said that, I haven’t actually read any of the individual reviews, and I have good reason for it: I don’t want to go into Final Fantasy XIII with any more negativity than I’ve already acquired. I know for a fact that I’m going to be disappointed with some of the decisions they’ve made. I know that it’s not going to be the same as it was all those years ago, when I was young and Final Fantasy was the greatest thing in the world. But, regardless, I want to give Final Fantasy XIII a fair shake. I want to try to re-capture some of that magic that I felt as a kid, when I didn’t read or care about reviews. Impossible? Maybe. But I’ll give it my best.

As a closing thought, I leave you with indisputable proof that the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII is superior to the PS3 version.

Thank god for Destructoid. And to think, I was about to go buy it for the PS3! Silly, silly me.

Well. It’s now 3:19 a.m. on a Friday night. Or… Saturday morning. Whatever. Point is, I’m still not doing anything fun. I’m at this same desk, with the same empty lager bottles. Plus a few new ones.

‘Till next time!