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Club Nintendo, Another Example of a Rewards Program Done Right May 30, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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I have been a loyal member of the Nintendo Fun Club…ahem, sorry, Club Nintendo, since the inception of the program in the US last year.  GameStop, pay attention, this is another example of a rewards program done right.

What makes a rewards program good is if it offers achievable prizes of value by buying something the consumer was probably going to get anyway..  By doing that it offers further value for your purchase, and can be the deciding factor between buying something now or later on when it may be cheaper, and can get the customer to continue to buy your products and not go to your competitors.

For each new game purchased for the Nintendo Wii or DS, you receive a certain amount of points (50 for wii games) that can be amplified by filling out surveys, or telling the club what you intend to buy and then actually buying it.  You also get points for filling out occasional surveys.  Like at a carnival, you can trade in these points for exclusive goodies you can redeem for no further charge, and if you make a certain point total in a year you can get another free gift automatically.

The good part is the majority of the exclusive goodies are not that high in points to redeem, with most of them requiring about 5 game purchases to redeem if you don’t catch any surveys (trust me, Nintendo easily makes five good games a year, and games like Wii Fit have a much higher value than something like Mario Kart).  Filling out surveys can lessen the amount of points required by as much as a whole game.  On top of that they’re expanding, and offering more exclusive goodies.  This year they are offering beautiful posters of the evolution of the art of Mario or Link, for free.

When I picked up Super Mario Galaxy 2 today, something I was going to buy anyway, I went over my point total for the year, and I was able to order that Link poster set.  Disney also offers something similar for buying their Blu-Ray and DVDs, recently I purchased a rare Oswald the Rabbit D23 pin from it (Can’t wait to play Epic Mickey).

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There are Codes in Beatles: Rock Band Manuals, Why? May 30, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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I picked up a copy of Beatles: Rock Band today, bit belated I admit, but I noticed something when going through the packaging.  After discarding all the leaflets about the newly re-re-remastered CD albums of The Beatles looking for the Code for the Avatar T-Shirt, I noticed a string of numbers on the back of the game manual.  What purpose this string of numbers serves eludes me.  The code is too short to be a Xbox Live download code (those are 25-key) and they didn’t fit the required pattern.

Currently, you cannot import your copy of Beatles: Rock Band to any other Rock Band game, could this string of numbers be a loophole just in case they change their mind later on?

Small Town Geek Bar May 28, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos.
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Where I come from there are no venues for people like me to go where I can just be myself.  I have no hang out.

After watching Malcolm Ingram’s documentary “Small Town Gay Bar”, and seeing the people of that movie people finding a place where they could just be themselves, I asked myself, where could people like me, the geeks, go to be ourselves? We don’t have such a place.

But back in 2003, I did, for a few months. And this is that story.

I had tried filming this well over a year ago on a much older camera, I’m sure you’ll notice on my YouTube channel some of the original test shots for the documentary are still up.  I know I had promised that all the new video content for the site would be shot on my new 1080p camera.  However, this video was made before I had the new camera, forgive me.

Mark Hamill Will Return to Voice The Joker in Arkham Asylum 2 May 27, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Mark Hamill, known as the voice of The Joker since 1993, and who voiced The Joker in Batman: Arkham Asylum, had officially retired (or so I thought) the character’s voice after the conclusion of that game.  Now it’s been announced that he will return one last time to do the voice of The Joker in Batman: Arkham Asylum 2!

This is suprising to me.  I know The Joker was incredibly important to the plotline of the first game, and Hamill did an amazing performance as expected (Hamill’s Joker ALWAYS has been amazing, if you don’t believe me, watch the uncut version of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker), but Hamill had announced after the game’s release that he was retiring the character, because he felt he couldn’t outdo the performance he had previously done.

When you watch the Batman: Arkham Asylum 2 teaser trailer, you’ll notice that The Joker is on resperators and machines, unable to speak (or laugh) without coughing and wheezing.  I theorized at the time that they designed him this way because Hamill wasn’t returning.  I guess Mark changed his mind.  Should be another fantastic performance.

Batman: Arkham Asylum 2 has no release date or officially announced platforms.  The first game was released for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.

gameXcess is now in HD May 27, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Site News.
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The high definition camera I was expecting for the site has arrived today. I’m still in the process of testing it and making sure it runs well and can easily edit, but I will be using it for all further site videos.

The camera’s visual quality is nothing special to write home about but it does shoot 1080p video, and should be a major improvement over our current site videos.

Day One Purchases of Halo Reach Grant Recon Armor Helmet May 26, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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There is no greater holy grail for Halo 3 fans than the coveted Recon Armor.  Originally only avalible to Bungie and rare canadates, with the release of ODST, Recon armor became unlockable to people who could complete seven unbearably difficult achievements, and unlocked it in their bungie.net profiles.

Well, I cannot for the life of me get four players together who have copies of Halo 3 or ODST for any length of time, so achieving Recon in Halo 3 has been slow and probably impossible.  Well, looks like it’s not going to be a problem in Halo Reach.

Bungie has announced that owners of Halo Reach on release day will recieve unlock codes for an exclusive Recon Helmet to use in Reach.  As far as I can tell, this will be a day-one preorder incentive regardless of which version of the game you buy.

GameStop is Starting a New Rewards Program, It Sucks May 24, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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GameStop has announced today that they’re replacing their overpriced Edge Card (they charged $14.99 a year for 10 percent off on used only games, you’d need to buy over a hundred used games to justify the price) with a free and paid reward program.

I have absolutely nothing against free reward programs.  Many retailers and supermarkets offer their customers free rewards simply for shopping where they would shop normally.  Coupons, discounts, and gift certificates are issued for free to program members, just for regular shopping at a store.  But this program looks like a pretty twisted version of much better programs just to exploit customers.

This sounds like a pretty terrible idea, since the point system is far too high and the rewards are far too cheap to justify so high a point value for the goods offered.  You get ten points per dollar spent on new games, and twenty points spent on used games.  There are a few bonuses offered, like points for signing up and points for your birthday.

The rewards range from coupons for $5-$10 off purchases ranging from 4000 to 8000 points to even free Xbox 360 controllers or Turtle Beach X11 headsets for 40,000 points.  So you get five dollars off for every 400 dollars spent?  You get a free 360 controller for spending 4000 dollars there?  That’s rediculious!

Now, if you want to know a much better program, Best Buy offers a program that gives consumers gift certificates good for anything in the store just for spending money there.  If you become a member of their Reward Zone, you get one point for every dollar spent, and if you have a premium account or credit account you get an extra percentage on top of that.  250 points equals a free five dollar gift certificate, and they do add up, you can use them on anything you buy.  They also will send you free coupons, usually once a month in the mail, and while those do have restrictions (like 10% off only on games, movies or music), they’re free coupons!

New Piece of the 3D HDTV Puzzle is on Shelves! May 24, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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I was in Target yesterday while my friend was getting a coffee just looking for a deal on any games, I didn’t find any, but what I did find was a lot more valuable.

I had mentioned previously for you earlier technology adopters who visit the site, 3D HDTV will only be possible if you had a 3D HDTV, a 3D Blu-Ray (or game) player, a 3D HDMI cable, and 3D Glasses.

Well some manufacterers have released TVs, but everything else on the list has not seen release yet, now another piece has come out.

Vizio has done something pretty impressive.  They’re selling a next-generation HDMI cable that is not outrageously priced!  Previously unheard of, a manufacterer of cables is not overcharging for them.  The new cables are HDMI 1.4, support 120hz and 240hz (depending on model), ethernet, and 3D.  I’ve seen bitrates listed on those cables as high as 10.2Gbps.

I wanted to buy a pack of these from the manufacterer, but I guess everyone universally thought this was a good price, because they’ve sold out online.

The final piece of the puzzle, the 3D Blu-Ray (and game) support, will be released by Sony along with their 3D Sony Bravias which will be coming out next month.  The PS3 will be fully 3D Blu-Ray compliant with a recently released firmware update, so if you want a player now, buy a PS3 (if you don’t already own one).

Remember, you will still need to buy 3D glasses from your TV manufacterer.

Halo Reach Coming September 14th! May 24, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Now that the Halo Reach multiplayer beta has ended (I didn’t consider it anything special, I’d play Reach for the single player), Bungie announced today that the full version of the game will be released September 14th, 2010 in the US and Europe, September 15th in Japan.

There are going to be three editions of the game, as mentioned earlier.

Halo Reach will be exclusive to the Xbox 360.

Alan Wake DLC Episode 2 Announced! May 23, 2010

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Alan Wake’s downloadable content page updated yesterday with further information about the upcoming downloadable content, and announced a whole new episode to boot.

The first DLC, redeemable by the download codes in all new copies of the game, is actually going to be a two part story, concluded in the recently announced second episode.

The new episode, dubbed “The Writer” will conclude the new storyline started in the first episode, “The Signal”.

The episodes will retail for 800 MS points each ($10US), however that cost is waved for the first episode if you redeem your game’s included DLC code (shipped in all new copies of the game) when it’s released.  No release date has been announced for Episode 2, Episode 1 is still expected to be released July 27th, 2010.