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The Gunstringer Unboxing December 31, 2011

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I’ve been a huge fan of Twisted Pixel after the release of Comic Jumper, and their most recent release has been a straight to retail Kinect game.  While this is unlike any release they’ve done previously (they usually release games for download either through Steam or Xbox Live Arcade), The Gunstringer still provides all of Twisted Pixel’s signature humor, and was a game I found myself playing all night.

Here’s an unboxing of the game.

And for those of you who have copies of the game already (or plan to pick it up), there are currently two DLC campaigns for it.  The first is free to all players and is a wonderful shout out to the classic FMV games of the arcade, The Wavy Tube Man Chronicles.  Just so you know how stylized it is, this is the original introduction for it.

The other has just been released for 240 Microsoft Points, and is called Reel Big Shootin’.

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My Date With the Calendar Man – Day 3: Christmas December 28, 2011

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Merry Christmas Everyone.  Apologies for not getting this uploaded Christmas Day as I should have, but I barely had enough free time to record and edit it, let alone upload it, and when I finally did have the chance to upload it, YouTube gave me problems.

Santa Claus hat on, I decide to pay a visit to Julian Day, better known as the Calendar Man, in his cell in Arkham City, to see if he’ll talk to me today.  Let’s see what he has to say.  I got the Batman: Arkham City graphic novel as a gift this year.  It’s a pretty good, albeit short read if you want to see some backstory about just what happened between Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.

The next time we can visit him will be on January 1st, New Year’s Day.

Resistance 3 Unboxing December 26, 2011

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I make it no secret that the Resistance series of games is probably my favorite Playstation exclusive property.  I finally was able to pick up the final game of the Resistance series, Resistance 3, and I must admit for a game that didn’t have a CE release, it has some really nice packaging.

Unlike Resistance 2, there was no major Collector’s Edition for this game release.  The closest thing they had to one was a copy of the game, bundled with the Playstation Move’s sharpshooter, which having demoed it at E3, I don’t recommend using the play the game.

RAGE: Anarchy Edition (Xbox 360) Unboxing December 26, 2011

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This is the RAGE: Anarchy Edition for the Xbox 360, made by id Software.  Following a recent trend, the Anarchy Edition of RAGE is the same price as the normal edition of the game, and offers players free access to some downloadable weapons.

This is also out for PC, and Playstation 3.

EPIX for Xbox 360 Review December 26, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Reviews.
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While I was at the New York Comic Con I was fortunate enough to sit in on a panel for the upcoming documentary A Liar’s Autobiography, about the life of the late Monty Python alumni Graham Chapman. The panel was moderated by Lloyd Kauffman, the guy in charge of Troma Studios and director of The Toxic Avenger (and a really nice guy to boot). It turns out that this documentary is going to be released exclusively through the channel and on-demand service EPIX, and this was how I first found out about the program. When I saw it was available on the Xbox 360 app marketplace, I decided to give it a download.

As per usual I must make this disclaimer. This is ONLY a review of the Xbox 360 EPIX program and not a review of the channel or any other platforms the EPIX program may be on. However the reason why this is that way is because I do not own any other devices EPIX support, like Android Phones and Google TV. Oddly, there’s no iPhone/iPad app (That is listed as coming soon on their website). Also, even though I am paying a small fortune for a full HDTV cable service in my house, my cable provider (*cough* Comcast) does not offer the EPIX Channel.

You can download the EPIX program in the apps section of the new Xbox 360 dashboard. In order to watch any EPIX content you will have to link your gamertag to an EPIX account, which you can do on their official website through your computer and phone device. Setting up an account is free, but if your cable or sat provider does not support EPIX (which Comcast still doesn’t, regardless of the small fortune I’m paying them a month for full HD service on many tvs) you will be restricted to a free 14 day access to the service. Like with Hulu, tell the site you want Xbox 360 access and it will give you a simple 6-digit code to redeem on your 360, and you’ll be immediately granted access.

First off, I was tremendously impressed by the unique content offered. Sure you can watch movies on it like Iron Man 2, Star Trek, and Jackass 3D, but what I found myself watching most was its unique featured content, like William Shatner’s documentary The Captains, and Lewis Black’s newest stand up. They also had Kevin Smith’s Too Fat for 40 show. People have been talking about all these features for quite a while and only now have I been able to see them for myself.

Full Xbox 360 Kinect support is in this program. As par to the course you can control the menus with a wave of your hand. Pause, stop and all the other voice commands can be given as well. It’s still faster than picking up a controller or 360 media remote. If I had one complaint about the interface it’s that in order to play the content, you have to select the picture of it in the movie statistics menu, there’s no option that clearly says PLAY MOVIE, and if you didn’t know clicking the picture starts the video you may be at a loss.

As per the course for most of the other video services the Xbox 360 provides, the content is completely uncensored, exactly as it should be. A nice difference between this and other services is there is no advertising at all in any of the content I watched, be it movies or exclusives. This is exactly as it should be, and it further begs the question as to what is Hulu’s excuse for advertising in what is clearly a paid premium program.

How do you know you have a good service? Well, my account access will expire soon and I don’t want to give it up!

Top 10 Things to do Until Christmas December 24, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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Hey everybody! It’s Christmas Eve. I know a some of you can’t wait for the day to pass and get to the main event tomorrow. Video games, consoles, handhelds and gift cards may find their way between friends tomorrow and I’m sure the anticipation is quite high.

For those of you with time off from work or school and before you go to spending all that time with friends and family at parties and events, you may have a small lapse in things to do and have some time to kill before tomorrow. Worry not, because Maniac has you covered with some things to do to kill time. Some regular readers will remember a lot of the stuff I mention here has been things I covered in the past. This is not designed to be a list of groundbreaking surprises, but a nostalgic take through the site’s history on the eve of the holiday.

10. Watch Game Boys. It’s free to watch and is pretty good. I know I reviewed it over a year ago, but everything from the characters to the soundtrack make the movie merit a second watching. Since Game Boys was released, Jones has also released another movie, Midnight Heat, which while not gaming related, is also great.

9. Watch Captain S team up with The Angry Video Game Nerd to save Christmas. First released back in Summer of 07, this is a yearly tradition for me to watch. A lot of the AVGN’s fans didn’t like this because it was not a vulgarfest like his usual videos are, but I enjoyed it a lot. Captain S reminded me of the superhero shows I enjoyed a lot growing up and seeing two unlikely heroes forced to join forces to save Santa Claus was just great.

8. Read the PVP Christmas Special. Written by Scott Kurtz for gamespy.com, the Christmas Special details a timeless story. All the employees have the rest of Christmas Eve off and with company gift certificates in hand spend the afternoon at the local mall. Of course the good hearted office troll accidentally gets confused for Santa Claus and flashbacks start happening of a certain movie about a miracle. It’s a lengthy read I will go through page to page every Christmas.

7. Do your LAST last minute Christmas shopping.

6. Download the free Batman Inc skin for Batman: Arkham City for your Xbox 360 or Playstation 3.

5. Pull one of your favorite games off the shelf and try to get some achievements in it you haven’t gotten yet. If you already got all the achievements, why not just do a victory lap through it?

4. For those of you expecting iPod, iPhone or iPad tomorrow, it would be a good idea to install iTunes in advance and migrate over your music library to it. You can even download apps from the iTunes store in advance. They’ll be installed automatically the first time you sync your device to the computer. Just make sure to create an iTunes account.

3. Check out some of my recent How-To videos. I have a lot of guides in there for various things you may need to know tomorrow. If you need to transfer your data to a new Xbox 360, connect your console to a new HDTV or install a new hard drive to your 360, you’ll find all the information you need here.

2. Check out some great gaming documentaries.  While G4 no longer airs any, they actually used to make some of the best, with their series Icons.  If you want to go looking for making-of documentaries for games through other means, most of the time game developers will produce them them for release online.  You could probably rewatch some documentaries included in game Collector’s Editions you already own, or you could go searching to watch some of them online, through various sites like GameTrailers.com.  Heck, their retrospectives alone are worth a watch.

1. Have a good time spending your day with friends and family.

How To Connect a Nintendo Wii to a HDTV December 23, 2011

Posted by Maniac in How To, Site Videos.
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In the second how to video I’m doing for this holiday season, I’m going to show you how to properly hook up a Nintendo Wii to a High-Definition Television.  This is a lot easier than it is for the Xbox 360 because the Wii has fewer options, but there will still be a few things you will need to do in order to have it working properly.

How to Connect the Xbox 360 to Your HDTV December 22, 2011

Posted by Maniac in How To, Site Videos.
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So you got a brand new HDTV for Christmas and you want to show off just how great your Xbox 360 or other consoles will look on it?  Never hooked up something in your life that supported HDTV before?  Don’t worry, Maniac’s got your back.

This is a step by step video on how to properly install the Xbox 360 to a High Definition Television.  Included is an installation guide, specific instructions on how to set the 360 and troubleshooting tips if you make a mistake.

Enjoy the new TV!

My Disappointment of 2011 December 21, 2011

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I don’t really have my own disappointment list of 2011, but if I did have something to say about the year is that I have been so disappointed that SO MANY major titles had to come out within the span of just three months. This has been bad for everyone, including the consumers and the retailers. Because so many titles from major franchises came out at pretty much the same time, there were a good half-dozen or so games that came out I just have not been able to play, including RAGE and Resistance 3.

This same thing happened in 2008, but the problem was made much worse. In 2008 the winter season got dominated by a SINGLE platform exclusive major release for each platform. Resistance 2 came out for the Playstation 3, Gears of War 2 came out for the Xbox 360, and there were premium boxed editions of the major music franchises with all the instruments. Games that came from (then) unknown IPs like Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge saw very little in sales, and wouldn’t get a second wind until the next year following a price drop.

This year, there has just been an OVERFLOW of major platform exclusives and multiplatforms. Forget about small releases, they have been largely ignored. In some cases you have major platform exclusives coming out for the same platform. This isn’t a console launch year!  It isn’t a good idea to compete with your own products.  Sure you may incite some consumers who were on the fence to buy your consoles with the new library of exclusives you have, but a console purchase is a BIG one.  Buying a new console (and everything that goes along with it) can easily take up an entire paycheck.  With new games being $60US a pop, a new console adopter could pay the same amount he did for the game console just by buying four new games before Christmas.

GameStop had mentioned they were expecting a major holiday season based upon the initial preorders they were getting for the strong lineup that was coming out. Then they posted less than optimistic returns because (gasp) people weren’t redeeming their preorders because there were just so many games coming out they just couldn’t afford to do it.  Didn’t anyone at GameStop’s management see the enormous volume of major releases coming out in such a small timeframe and ponder this may happen?

So with so many games having already released, 2012 with its so far pretty evenly spaced out release schedule, is looking like a much kinder year on gamer’s wallets, and the games lined up for next year are looking to be pretty free of major competition and will probably get decent launches.

Really looking forward to 2012, well, at least my wallet is.

Most Disappointing Games of 2011 December 21, 2011

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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I would consider Wired fantastic at making up some pretty good end of the year lists.  They have been doing it for over ten years.

Well, the Vaporware Awards aren’t out yet for 2011, but they have posted up their list of the 9 Most Disappointing Games of 2011.  While they may have included some games on the list that I personally enjoyed, I would agree with Wired that I certainly had higher hopes for them, and from the sounds of it, so did they.  It’s an interesting nostalgic read for the year, and I recommend giving it a look.