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Inside the Square – Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Behind the Scenes Series January 24, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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To help set the proper mood for when we release the Let’s Play of the Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Demo later this weekend, take a look at this three part behind the scenes documentary, dubbed “Inside the Square”, which details the history of the company behind the series and the game’s development.  It is very well produced and I highly recommend giving it a watch for anyone waiting for the demo to finish downloading.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is coming February 11th, 2014 to the PS3 and Xbox 360.

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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Demo Released January 24, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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The Demo for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the third and final part of the Final Fantasy XIII saga is up for release nearly a month before the game’s official launch.  Xbox Live Gold and Playstation Network users should be able to download the demo right now free of charge to their respective console.  Free Xbox Live members will have to wait until January 28th, 2014 to download the demo.

Ready for the best part?  Anyone who plays through the demo, activates the Outworld game feature and submits a player score will be eligible for some exclusive DLC.  On top of that, anyone who downloads the PS3 version of the demo prior to the game’s launch will immediately unlock an exclusive costume.  That costume will download to your PS3 automatically.

For those of you unable to download the demo, we are planning to record a Let’s Play of it for release some time this weekend.  In the meantime, enjoy this opening cinematic.

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII is coming February 11th, 2014 to the PS3 and Xbox 360.  PS3 users should download the demo prior to the game’s launch to ensure access to the exclusive costume.

 

Mind of Maniac – Playstation Now January 23, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Mind of Maniac, Site Videos.
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Mind of Maniac is an unscripted series where the site’s Lead Writer talks about a wide array of gaming topics not related to specific game properties, and following CES he has a lot to talk about.  This month, Sony announced Playstation Now, a game streaming service offering PS1, PS2 and PS3 games for Tablets, SmartPhones, consoles, and HDTVs.  Can they pull it off, and what would the service need to do to succeed?  Joined by the advice of his father, Maniac tells all.

The Last of Us: Left Behind Complete Opening and Interview January 23, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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The floodgates of coverage on The Last of Us‘s first single player DLC continues.  I know I showed a part of the Left Behind opening cinematic last week, but Sony has released the entire opening cinematic for the highly anticipated expansion.  Check it out.

Sony has also released a new video interview with the game’s developers and the DLC’s main actors.  With Ellie now the main character of the expansion, the role of the expansion’s supporting character has been shifted to a new character, Riley, the protagonist of the game’s official graphic novel series, The Last of Us: American Dreams.  Enjoy.

The Last of Us: Left Behind is coming February 14th, 2014.  A full version of The Last of Us is required to play.  The DLC will be free to anyone who has already purchased the game’s Season Pass.

Dead Rising 3: Operation Broken Eagle Launch Trailer January 20, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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The first single-player DLC expansion for the Xbox One exclusive title Dead Rising 3 is launching tomorrow.  In the new DLC, dubbed Operation Broken Eagle, you take control of a new character, use new weapons, and get your hands on an entirely new vehicle all for a new story.

In order to play, you will need to download the game’s latest patch which launched earlier today.  Ironically, clocking in at over 13GB, many believe Dead Rising 3’s newest patch could very well be the largest patch in the history of video games.  The new patch adds stability and gameplay fixes, as well as brings compatibility across all Dead Rising 3 players, regardless of the DLC they have purchased.

The full version of Dead Rising 3, out now exclusive to the Xbox One, is required to play.  Capcom has confirmed that more DLC missions are coming.

The Fall of G4TV, Part 4 January 17, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Histories, The Fall of G4.
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After discovering that Hearst was no longer interested with turning G4 into the Esquire Network, I seriously thought I would never have to revisit this article and create further parts of this series.  I figured this meant that Hearst was interested in breathing new life into a station that they had shut down, and was optimistic about the future for the station.  Today I just noticed that my cable provider has dropped the G4 channel from my channel lineup without informing me of it.  To quote Doc Brown, “What kind of a future do you call that?”  Given the fact that I’m paying hundreds of dollars a month for HD Cable TV, my provider terminating access to the G4 channel without informing me about it ahead of time was a pretty underhanded trick.  They severed my connection to a channel that had meant so much to me just as I was hoping things would be getting better with it.

If you look in your digital channel lineup you can find a little station on the list somewhere between MTV2 and Encore called G4 or G4TV. You’ll also note that the schedule for that station will likely only include reruns of Cops and Cheaters.  If I told you, and you didn’t know any better, you probably wouldn’t believe that station used to be the premiere station for gaming coverage.  You’ll probably also wonder if they were a station for gaming coverage why do they only show reruns of Cops and Cheaters, as well as a few other international shows nobody cares about.  Well, it’s a story that goes back a long time, but I have no problem telling you it.  It’s a sad story with a very sad ending, but just like with Halo Reach, even though you know how it ends from the beginning, it’s still a story you want to hear.

You can read the previous parts of this article here.

No matter how bad G4 got over the years, if there was one reason to watch the station it was for their E3 coverage.  G4 would not only air the official E3 Press Events, they would get their teams together to analyze all of the major announcements after they were made.  Even when the station was bad, you could always rely on their E3 coverage to be consistent.  By broadcasting E3 press events and doing a decent analysis of all the new content, it gave people who was unable to attend gaming’s Super Bowl in person a virtual seat at the events and saved them from the inconvenience of having to stream the broadcasts online.  For at least one week a year, I was watching G4 non stop.

By 2012, G4 was improving. A great show, G4’s Proving Ground, hit the air. Featuring the late Ryan Dunn and former IGN hottie Jessica Chobot, the two hosts spent each episode trying to replicate the gadgets and technology seen in famous movies or video games. That’s right, Proving Ground actually covered video games, and the chemistry between the hosts made for a great show! Heck, even the writing staff for X Play and Attack of the Show would be better by 2012, and I found myself watching the station again.

But then something weird happened. All of a sudden, G4 was losing its primary talent.  Both Kevin Perrara and Adam Sessler would leave their respective shows.  While they were quickly replaced by other G4 talent, it seemed curious that they would leave the shows they had been on for so long.  It wouldn’t take us long to find out why.  It turned out that G4 was now owned by the Hearst Corporation and as G4 had been underperforming for years they were planning to end it.  That’s right, they actually took the advice I gave them years earlier, when I told them to either bring back their old shows or they may as well just shut down. Well, sadly, they chose the latter. The channel was going to be completely replaced by a new channel, the Esquire Network, and an entirely new lineup of shows started production. A lot of people online completely failed to understand Hearst’s reason to do this. While G4 was indeed underperforming, it was because they were not offering a consistent lineup of quality gaming programs. Had they decided to use the resources that went into creating the Esquire Network lineup and instead focused on making a new lineup of G4 shows, likely the dedicated fans of the show who hadn’t watched the station since the Tech TV merger would have returned. It’s not like any other gaming focused stations like G4 existed. Did they honestly think the channel’s target demographic would have been more interested in watching Esquire’s content?

The final episodes of X Play and Attack of the Show aired in January 2013. The staff was let go, and no further production was put into place as an entire station’s worth of new content was being created for the Esquire Network for when it was planned to launch. By February 2013, G4 was only broadcasting reruns of X Play on top of their syndicated content like Heroes and Quantum Leap.  The station was practically on automatic play mode.  However, this wasn’t exactly a bad thing. The last few months of X Play included some of the finest episodes they had ever produced, and while they were being replayed on a regular basis, I found myself watching them all I could. On top of that, G4 was reairing all of the content they had experimented with since the Tech TV merger, like Proving Ground, It’s ‘Effin Science, and Web Soup. While none of these shows saw new episodes past their initial run, airing all these programs again on a regular basis made for an interesting offering of consistent content, something G4 hadn’t offered in nearly ten years.

The Esquire Network was coming, but it was sure taking its time getting here. At first the station was expected to launch some time in spring. Then it was pushed back to the summer. American Ninja Warrior, a show which intended to broadcast its latest season after G4 had become Esquire Network, instead was broadcast as the station was still G4 branded and G4’s ratings reaped the benefits.

By the end of the summer, after being pushed back many times, the Esquire Network had finally set launch date.  However, a few days before the station was expected to launch, an odd mention of the network made its way into the tabloids.  The article read that Hearst was no longer interested in replacing G4 with the Esquire Network, and even though they still planned to launch Esquire, it would be on top of another more fitting station, the Style Network, which as far as I knew only served to rebroadcast old E! Network shows.  When Esquire did launch, the Style Network became no more, and G4 stayed in my channel lineup.  Even though the station was still only broadcasting the same content they had been for nearly a year, now I had a little hope left in my heart that G4 would return better than ever.

Apparently, all Hearst did was prolong the channel’s demise, the Television Providers became the ones to end it.  Last week, very quietly and without ever notifying me of their plans, my cable provider, Comcast Xfinity, terminated the station from my channel lineup.  Quite a dirty trick, as my bill hasn’t gotten any lighter.  The most ironic part of this is the fact that it was Comcast’s meddling with the station back in 2005 that would nearly destroy the network, and now that they no longer owned it the fact that they chose to discontinue broadcasting it was a fitting way for them to finally end it completely, something they were unable to do themselves.

While Comcast and a few other providers are no longer carrying G4, the station still exists and is still continuing to broadcast their syndicated content, I am just no longer able to watch it.  According to the research I’ve been doing, the only Television Provider still carrying it is AT&T U-Verse, I have no idea if this fact will get them new customers, but if this fact alone is making you want to change your provider to AT&T, please post a comment about it.  G4 during its heyday was THE reason I made my family upgrade their cable package to digital channels.

As there has been no word that there are any plans to bring new content to G4, and with all the providers dropping the station there is no reason for me to hope the station will return to its former glory any more.  Other than Spike’s terrible awards show and fantastic GameTrailers.TV show (inconveniently aired super late at night), there is really nothing else out there like G4.  Hopefully some day soon some other content provider will see the need to bring a major gaming network back to television.  Just do it well and we will watch.

I would be more than happy to tell you how.

How to Install the Xbox One January 16, 2014

Posted by Maniac in How To, Site Videos.
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Maniac shows how to install Microsoft’s newest console, the Xbox One, to a HDMI capable Home Theater System.  Just remember, you will need an HDMI equipped HDTV and High Speed Internet connection to install the Xbox One.

The Xbox One is out now for $499 US.

The Last of Us: Left Behind Opening Cinematic January 15, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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As promised, the latest video of the highly anticipated DLC expansion for 2013’s PS3 exclusive hit The Last of Us has been released.  Take a look for yourselves.

The Last of Us: Left Behind is a prequel story to the events of the original game where you will take control of Ellie, as she explores an unfamiliar area with an old friend of hers.  For those of you who have played the final version of the game all the way through, you may already know how this is going to end.

The Last of Us: Left Behind will be released exclusively through the Playstation Network and will require a full version of The Last of Us to play.  The Last of Us Season Pass holders will be able to download it free of charge, other players will need to pay $14.99 US.

The Last of Us: Left Behind releases February 14th, 2014.

Club Nintendo Finally Offers 3DS Game Travel Case January 15, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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Club Nintendo is Nintendo’s official rewards program.  By redeeming the multi-digit key codes included with their consoles, handhelds, first-party published games, or downloading titles through the Nintendo eShop, you can earn points that can later be redeemed for exclusive rewards, like T-shirts, posters, or a Pikmin Canvas Bag,

Let’s face it, the Nintendo 3DS is a handheld system, and you’re going to want to be able to take the system and all your DS and 3DS games with you on the go.  While the game carts may be small, I would never consider it a good idea to keep them loose in a travel bag, as there’s a concern they could get damaged by other items during travel.  They travel fine in their original game cases, but those were made for shelves, not bags, and can take up a lot of unnecessary space.  Club Nintendo actually does offer a solution in the form of an official travel case which can hold multiple game carts safely for travel.  However, while the Nintendo 3DS has been out since 2011, up until the last couple of weeks, Club Nintendo’s website only offered game travel cases that fit DS games, 3DS games were not compatible.  I believe that Nintendo actually did at one point offer a 3DS game travel case, but they were scooped up almost immediately and for some reason their stock was never replenished.  Well, earlier this week, that changed.

Club Nintendo is now offering a new travel case which can fit up to 18 3DS and DS game carts.  The 3DS game case is 400 coins and can be ordered in either a Legend of Zelda or Animal Crossing style.  In case you’re curious, a new console is usually worth about 160 coins in value, and new games can range from 40 coins for a 3DS game to 60 coins for a Wii U game.  So if you have a ton of 3DS games you plan on packing up for your next major trip you might want to give that a look.

The Last of Us: Left Behind Ashley Johnson Interview January 13, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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The Playstation Blog has a great interview with Ashley Johnson, the actress who portrayed Ellie in 2013’s PS3 hit, The Last of Us.  In this new interview, Ashley talks about the game’s upcoming single-player DLC expansion, Left Behind.  The expansion’s story looks like it takes place before the events of the main game, and Ellie, who was only briefly playable in the original game’s main story, will be the main playable character.

It’s great to hear her thoughts about working on the new game.  In fact, she does let a few tidbits about the DLC slip that I won’t reprint here in case you’re concerned about prerelease spoilers.  You can read the full interview here.

The Last of Us: Left Behind is coming in early 2014 exclusive to the Playstation 3.  The Last of Us will be required to play.  It will be available to purchase separately from the game’s other downloadable content, but anyone who purchased the game’s Season Pass will be able to freely download it upon release at no extra cost.  From what I’ve been told, a new trailer for this DLC expansion will be posted up soon, and you can expect it will be posted up here as soon as that happens.