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History of Duke Nukem Forever Director’s Cut January 31, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos.
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After seeing the popularity of my History of Duke Nukem Forever video last week, I noticed that there were some various odds and ends in the final product of the video that I was unhappy about and couldn’t really tell until after the video premered online.

It was tough to make out some of the headlines of a few of the webpages due to font size visiblity in a HD video.  Also, I thought the video’s organization was a bit difficult to follow by using the headlines to bookend each segment, as they were going ahead of and following what I was talking about at the moment.  So I altered the location of some of the headlines (but kept all of them, don’t worry), made them easier to read, and split the difference with chapter headings on each segment.  There also was a minor omission of a few redundant words for time.

So please enjoy this Director’s Cut of the History of Duke Nukem Forever.  To make it a worthwhile rewatch, I released the video in it’s NATIVE 1080p HD format, so please, enjoy.  Hail to the King, baby!

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The New Trend With Guide Books January 30, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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For as long as there have been games, there have been guide books.  In the early Nintendo days, they would be a part of each issue of Nintendo Power.  In 1993, I was seeing trade paperbacks full of tips in my school library for many popular games bundled together.  By 1997, in the golden age of PC CD-ROM gaming, official and unofficial guide books would be posted for all the latest games.  In fact, there were so many of them, a lot of bookstores would have their own little section on the shelves devoted to them.

Guide Books can offer a lot more than what an online cheats site can aside from the fact that you can read them on The John.  Now I will be the first person to admit I’ll just look up an FAQ for a simple answer I need when I’m playing through an older game, but I’ll also admit that a Guide Book has a lot of advantages.  They’re out on day one of a game’s release, well before some of the more in depth FAQs can be written.  They also have more of a visual and artistically appealing look to them then an HTML loaded TXT file.  They are printed on glossy paper with quality inks and will include every secret, code, hint, biography, and storyline explanation a curious gamer requires.

About a year ago I did a piece on the cousin of the Guide Book, the Video Game Art book.  Artwork, developer interviews, and a beautiful (usually hardcover) book to read it out of. And the really nice ones are bound just like coffee table books.  If a gamer was really lucky back in the old days, and the game was big enough, a seperate art book would be released for a game, it happened with Halo 1 and 2, Doom 3, Half-Life 2 and The Force Unleashed.

Here’s a video so you can have a good idea what I’m talking about.

As time progressed, the Guides started to get more elaboriate, and then (as you could see in some of the examples I showed in the video) they started getting bound seprately with the guide book, like for Mass Effect 1 and Alan Wake.

Over the past two years, a new trend has started with these books.  Now, instead of releasing a guide book and art book seperate, they seem to be going for creating a single big book of everything and releasing it at a premium price.  A lot of the newer releases (Halo Reach, Dead Space 2) have some FANTASTIC looking Collector’s Guides that as a game collector and coffee table enthusiast I couldn’t ignore.

Now, the downside of this is that these guides can cost almost twice as much as a regular guide can.  A traditional guide book can cost about $19.99 US, a price that a lot of people believe is far too high.  These new Collector’s Books can cost anywhere from $29.99 to $39.99.  Also, the art portions are integrated with the guides themselves, preventing seperate resale (and making them much bigger on a shelf).

Time will tell what will happen to these monoliths of a physical era in a digital age.  Will they continue to be published, or will the popularity of free information on the Internet finally overcome them?  Until then I’ll still be taking that guide book of this year’s E3, thank you very much.

Maniac and diskreader117 Try Bawls January 29, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos.
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Many websites offer a video series where the host tries some rare or exotic food or beverage item.  Regardless of my many requests from some of these people, I have not seen a single online personality try this paticular item.

Maniac, diskreader117 and the Unknown Cameraman try Bawls, the high caffinated gamer’s soda.  The amount of sugar and caffiene has historically made it the essential soda for LAN parties.  Bawls has filled this niche in gamer culture by sponsoring tons of LAN parties, BMX events, and Paintball events.  It’s also been featured in a few games like Run Like Hell by Interplay.

It’s become very difficult to get since the closing of CompUSA in the Northeast.  I think that store was the primary distributer of the soda in my area, as none of the local stores or supermarkets will sell the stuff.  Target used to sell the soda in 4 pack cans (similar to Red Bull) but they stopped for no reason.  Since all these retail stores have stopped selling it or shut down, the only place I’ve been able to get the stuff is online, through ThinkGeek (where it’s their biggest seller).

So sit back, relax and enjoy while diskreader117, the cameraman and I enjoy some Bawls.

Earthbound: A History January 28, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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The guys over at Clan of the Gray Wolf have done something incredibly impressive.  They have made the definitive documentary on the history of EarthBound (Mother).

EarthBound (Mother 2) is one of the most classic JRPGs of the SNES era, which included such classics as Crono Trigger and Final Fantasy III(VI).  However, EarthBound really succeeded in breaking all the rules of the traditional RPG, by deciding to set it in a modern setting and exchanging magic spells with sci-fi PSY(onic) powers.  They also revolutionized turn-based RPG battle mechanics by taking away random encounters and having your position near visible enemies affect who gets the first attack.

I remember watching a good friend of mine demo it for me on his SNES back in 1995 and was really impressed by it.  Like many who missed out on earlier Nintendo consoles, I’ve been waiting for a lot of the best games on the platforms (like this one) to be made available on the Wii Virtual Console, but alas that has not yet happened.

So how did this quirky game that stands the test of time happen, and why is it that it’s sequels and prequels have never left Japan?  Roo from Clan of the Gray Wolf presents the most detailed game history I have ever seen on a series and tries to answer some of these questions, as well as ask a few more of his own.

Here’s to hoping that Earthbound does see a release in the US Virtual Console, and Nintendo decides to wise up and release its sequels officially in the US in some form.

Sony Has Announced their Next Handheld January 27, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Rumors have abounded for the past year that Sony was secretly working on their successor to the Playstation Portable.  The rumors ranged from the possiblity of a Playstation Phone or a PSP2, even a PSP Go successor which would be download only was a possiblity.

Well, in a press event, Sony has finally come clean with what they’re working on, and it is indeed a new handheld.  Armed with a powerful mobile CPU, an OLED screen which is larger than the current PSP’s, and a fantastic library of well known Playstation franchise games, this is one heck of a next generation handheld.

This new handheld is pulling out all the stops in providing everything gamers have requested since the release of the original Playstation Portable.  There will be a built in SIXAXIS control which will provide tilt-sensor options, two analog sticks, GPS, 3G data access, and touch pads.  WiFi support of course will return.

The UMD drive is gone.  New games will ship on a new flash memory format cards.  This new flash memory will have write access for savegames and DLC, and this promises to have faster read times than UMD did. 

You will be able to transfer your downloaded content from your old PSP to the new handheld.

The unit is currently unnamed, but it is not currently being called a Playstation Phone or PSP2.  Currently the codename is NGP for Next Generation Portable, pretty generic name.  It has a ship date of Holiday 2011.

PS3 Firmware 3.56 Released January 27, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Firmware 3.56 for the Playstation 3 has been released to download through the PS3’s update program.  According to the patch notes released prior to the update, this update addresses “security issues”, none specifically designated in the notes.

Firmware 3.56 is required for Playstation Network access.

About YouTube Embeds January 27, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Site News.
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This is just a small bit of information to anyone visiting the site.  For the past few weeks, WordPress has updated its YouTube embed client to a newer version, but it seems that performance on my videos when viewed through the embed is pretty poor, even when the resolution is cranked up to full.

I don’t know what is causing this problem, but I’m sure it’ll likely resolve itself when WordPress or YouTube again updates its YouTube embed software.  If the performance of the video is just that distracting, feel free to just watch the video on YouTube directly at my YouTube profile.  There will not be a performance problem there, and I can assure you that you won’t offend or upset me.

Halo Wars: So What Happened? January 27, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos, So What Happened?.
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So What Happened? is a continuing series at gameXcess.net where we take the most complex video game stories and break them down for easier digestion.

Maniac breaks down the story of Halo Wars, the first Halo game not to be told from a first person perspective.

The story was much more complex than other Halo games had been up to that point, and relied heavily on knowledge of the Halo Expanded Universe. Because of that, a lot of things were not explained in the game, and may have left players puzzled as to just what happened.

Maniac also wraps up the video with some background on the Halo Wars developers and community.

Dead Space is out for iPhone/iPad January 25, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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At midnight in my time zone, Dead Space found it’s way into the Apple iPhone App Store.  The game takes place shortly before the adventures of Isaac Clarke begin on the sprawl, and they follow an entirely new character, a sprawl engineer known only as Vandal.

All of the Dead Space gameplay has remained in this version.  The game is not a rail shooter, and is a fully controlable 3rd Person Action Game.  All the things that you could do as Isaac Clarke in Dead Space can be done here, including a few new things.  You can cut off limbs with weapons, telekenisis objects, stomp on enemies, freeze enemies with stasis, and a whole range of weapons are avalible.  Also, just like in the normal game, you can also upgrade weapons and your rig with power nodes.

The game also has it’s own achievements you can unlock, which unlock exclusive wallpapers, similar to the iPhone/iPad version of Mirror’s Edge.

Dead Space for iPhone is $6.99US.  An HD version of the game is avalible for iPad owners.

Dead Space 2 Collector’s Edition Unboxing January 25, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Site Videos.
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Dead Space 2 released today, and I picked up the PS3 version of the Collector’s Edition.  The PS3 versions of dead space has a full HD copy of Dead Space Extraction for the Playstation Move, which will not be included in any other console’s version.

But that’s not what you wanted to hear about.  You want to see how that replica Plasma Cutter works!

Dead Space 2 is out now for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.