World destruction comes in small shrink-wrapped packages...

2009/12/31

NAG Magazine is out now in Cape Town

On the official website of NAG magazine, they stated that non-subscribers in Cape Town would only be able to pick up the latest January issue on 7th January 2010, when other people were able to obtain it on the 24th of December. But I happened to go down to my local 711 today and I found that the issue was in. It was delivered on the 30th of December - yesterday.

So, all that stuff about having to wait until next year is false. It was only about a few days to a week’s delay. So, if you’ve been waiting for it, go and get it!

There is one thing you can all look forward to on the 7th of January 2010 however: if you’re a student in school, that’s when your matric exam results come out. I hope my neighbour fails. Spoiled little brat. Then again if he passes, at least his daddy will send him off to college or varsity and I’ll be rid of him.

Anyway, I guess after the whole New Year’s weekend is over, I’ll have a post written up detailing my impressions of the magazine and the Cover DVD and so on.


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Original Gordon Freeman Model Unveiled

New Year’s Eve

I read this on Digg originally. Have a look at this character:

4219076033_4c3b279338

                              That’s one ugly son of a monkey!

Apparently this was the original model for Gordon Freeman in Half-Life. You can just see here that the game truly did use the Quake engine (yes, with elements of Quake II, yada yada). As you can see, the HEV suit is yellow with “Research” printed on the back. Of course in the final release of Half-Life the HEV suit was orange. Most of the design is the same though.

I don’t know whether they would actually hire someone with a beard like that. I’m sure this guy would be mistaken for the lab specimens all the time.

Comparisons have been made to other characters, including Beast from X-Men, a typical lumberjack, a Viking, and Zangief from Street Fighter.

Gordon Freeman as we now know him may be mute, but at least he’s a little good looking, besides having glasses.

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So Easy a Gordon Freeman Could Do It (Original Game Model)


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2009/12/30

End of the Year Deal on Direct2Drive

Okay, so it has been going on for the past few days, but the sale is still going until the 1st of January 2010, Friday.

Direct2Drive had their 24 days of Christmas sale where they put 24 (at least) games on sale for 24 days before Christmas day. Now they are offering one last sale for the year, where over 50 games are on sale, some at half-price or more, and others just a little slice off the price.

D2D End of the Year sale icon

These are the games and how much you can save if you buy them by Jan 1st, 2010.

  1. Dragon Age: Origins - $49.95 - now $39.95
  2. Torchlight: $19.95 - now $9.95
  3. Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim: $29.95 – now $7.50
  4. Mirror's Edge: $19.95 – now $4.95
  5. Command and Conquer Red Alert 3 Bundle: $49.95 – now $19.95
  6. Mercenaries 2 World in Flames: $9.95 – now $4.95
  7. Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor: $29.95 – now $7.50
  8. Section 8: $49.95 – now $12.50
  9. Need for Speed ProStreet: $19.95 – now $4.95
  10. Champions Online: $29.95 – now $14.95
  11. The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Director's Cut: $39.95 – now $19.95
  12. The Sims 3: $49.95 – now $39.95
  13. Need For Speed SHIFT: $49.95 – now $24.95
  14. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: $9.95 – now $4.95
  15. Prototype: $39.95 – now $19.95
  16. The Lord of the Rings: Conquest: $19.95 – now $9.95
  17. Resident Evil 5: $49.95 – now $24.95
  18. Trine: $19.95 – now $9.95
  19. Mount and Blade: $29.95 – now $7.50
  20. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II: $39.95 – now $19.95
  21. Street Fighter IV: $39.95 – now $19.95
  22. Machinarium: $19.95 – now $9.95
  23. Battlefield 2 Complete Collection: $29.95 – now $14.95
  24. SPORE: $39.95 – now $19.95
  25. Empire Earth 2 Platinum: $19.95 – now $4.95
  26. Empire Earth 2: The Art of Supremacy: $9.95 – now $2.50
  27. Empire Earth II: $14.95 – now $3.75
  28. Empire Earth III: $19.95 – now $4.95
  29. Eufloria (formerly known as Dyson): $19.95 – now $9.95
  30. Osmos: $9.95 – now $4.95
  31. Battlestations: Pacific: $49.95 – now $37.50
  32. Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition: $9.95 – now $7.50
  33. Deus Ex: Invisible War: $14.95 – now $11.25
  34. Hitman Bundle: $29.95 – now $22.50
  35. LucasArts Adventure Bundle: $9.95 – now $2.50
  36. Star Wars Republic Commando: $9.95 – now $4.95
  37. Thief: Deadly Shadows: $19.95 – now $14.95
  38. Tomb Raider Bundle: $44.95 – now $33.75
  39. Star Wars Jedi Knight II : Jedi Outcast: $9.95 – now $4.95
  40. Assault Heroes: $9.95 – now $4.95
  41. The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition: $9.95 – now $4.95
  42. Caesar IV: $14.95 – now $7.50
  43. Quantum of Solace: $19.95 – now $9.95
  44. GUN: $19.95 – now $9.95
  45. The Dig: $4.95 – now $2.50
  46. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: $4.95 – now $2.50
  47. Star Wars Starfighter: $4.95 – now $2.50
  48. SWAT 4: $14.95 – now $7.50
  49. Swat 4 Gold: $19.95 – now $9.95
  50. Lucidity: $9.95 – now $4.95
  51. Manhunt 2: $29.95 – now $14.95
  52. Singles - Flirt up your Life: $19.95 – now $14.95
  53. Aces of the Galaxy: $9.95 – now $4.95
  54. Ground Control Anthology $19.95 – now $9.95
  55. King's Quest Collection: $19.95 – now $9.95
  56. TimeShift: $19.95 – now $9.95
D2D End of the Year sale icon
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Random Madness: Wild Hogs: Level 12 of Doom

I saw that movie Wild Hogs the other day for about the tenth time. Some argued it was just a major cash-in attempt, with a bunch of funny guys involved in a crappy story, but I actually sort of liked it. You’ve got plenty of well known stars in there like John Travolta, Ray Liotta, William H. Macy, Tim Allen, and Martin Lawrence.

Anyway, I just laughed at two of the gaming-related lines in that film, said by Charley, the sheriff:
“Hey, I took my law enforcement course on the internet! For arms training they just told us to play Doom!”
“Man, that was like Level 12 of Doom!”
He said the second line after the standoff between Damien Blade and his son, Jack. In other words - it was really intense.

Now to get all nerdish, I looked up to see what the actual level was he was talking about. I presume he’s talking about Doom 1, seeing as he didn’t say Doom II or Doom 3, although it would make more sense that it would be Doom 3 seeing as it was released only a few years before this movie.

Anyway, in this case, if it’s the PC version of Doom, then it would probably be E2M3: Refinery in the Shores of Hell Episode.

Not a particularly hard level, but some nice scenery and a rocking soundtrack, inspired by “Regular People” by Pantera. If they wanted to talk about a hard level, they should have said the level with the ol’ Cyberdemon. Anyway, you know what Hollywood’s like: clueless.


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2009/12/29

Video Game Deals on Amazon

amadeal Promotions:

PC Gaming Gear from Microsoft at Great Prices
Video Game Accessories Promotion (December 25 to January 16, 2010)

10% off all top accessories and up to 25% off select accessories

Video Game Deals:

Band Hero Stand Alone Software - $39.99 - Save $10.00 (PS3)

Fossil Fighters - $19.99 - Save $9.50 (DS)

A Boy and His Blob - $19.99 - Save $10.00 (Wii)


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Working on Three Articles at the Moment

I took a break over Christmas, but I started working on three articles earlier on in the month, and my plan was to have them done by the end of December, but it doesn’t look like that’ll happen. I think I’ll have to aim for sometime next month.

The three articles include “Games I’m Most Looking Forward to in 2010”, “Top Games of the 2000s”, and “Top Games of 2009”. I think I’ll likely put them on my one HubPages profile seeing as they’re all long articles and there’ll be other stuff like pictures and so on. For it all to go in a blog post would make it look a bit cramped, but I will still put up some posts here on AAA and link to the articles when they are done.

I’ve got a number of unpublished articles that I should put up some time.


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2009/12/28

George Broussard’s Interesting Duke-Inspired Tweets

Just an interesting thing I came across. for the past day or so, George Broussard of 3D Realms has been getting creative on Twitter with some Duke talk in his tweets.

“Duke Nukem 3D code for XBOX 360. CPT4Y-J823X-J68HH-RCWXW-PT7BY Hail to the King, baby...”

“Duke Nukem 3D code for XBOX 360. W34VY-CWKQ9-FJF9C-9HTXR-3K6FG What are you? Some bottom-feeding scum sucking algae eater?”

“Duke Nukem 3D code for XBOX 360. TFXFY-DQXJ6-TRWC8-Q3TQ6-DHRH3 Your code, your ass, what's the difference?”

“Duke Nukem 3D code for XBOX 360. K8CQY-YX74M-J3YGH-MW73T-2H3MM Ho-Ho-Ho. Freakin' Come Get Some...”

“Duke Nukem 3D code for XBOX 360. P2MMV-KQ8W9-KYWV8-9G7QJ-X6V7W Nobody steals my codes....and lives...”

These tweets are related to Duke Nukem 3D codes for Xbox 360 as you can tell, and even though I’m not completely sure what it all means, the tweets were kind of funny.

Here are the dukeisms or Duke talk quotes they’re based on, with wavs too:

“Hail to the king, baby!”

“What are you? Some bottom-feeding scum sucking algae eater?”

“Your face, your ass, what's the difference?”

“Come get some!”

“Nobody steals our chicks....and lives!”

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georgeb3dr


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Video Games Coming out This Week – 12/27 – 01/2

Okay, so this week is the last week of 2009 and it includes the first couple of days of 2010 too. It seems to be another dry week, but what do you expect? The DLC for Borderlands, Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot (a title obviously inspired by Mad Max), is supposed to be coming out this week for the Xbox 360, and the only thing seemingly worthwhile for the PC is Divinity II: Ego Draconis, although some say it will be next week, so, not sure.

A dry week indeed.

Video Game Releases:

PC

Divinity II: Ego Draconis, Wildhollow

Mac

Wildhollow

Xbox 360

Borderlands: Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot, Divinity II: Ego Draconis, Four Player Tangerine Fight, London Taxi: Rush Hour

DS

Learn Chess, Learn Geography

Wii

My Fitness Coach 2: Workout & Nutrition, World Party Games

The Magic Obelisk

iPhone

Bebbled: The XMAS Challenge, CatTaTa, QuizQuizQuiz Xmas

Mobile

Halloween Nightmare, Skee-Ball

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Gspot


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2009/12/27

Tramell Isaac’s The Wild Ride: Part IV

…or Part Foe as he would say.

If you can stomach all the jive talk in the post, and if you aren’t a hater (towards DNF or 3DR), then you might like to read it. This is the fourth part in a series of posts on what it was like to work at 3D Realms, developing Duke Nukem Forever, written by Tramell Isaac, the former Art Director on the project.

“ENTER BRIAN HOOK (insert wu-tang sound effects). Ok for those that don't know Brian Hook, he had a reputation for being somewhat of a d-bag. I say that with the utmost respect because I love the guy. But that was then and this was now...BHook is not a d-bag. We couldn't have gotten as far as we did without him and 'that's my word son'. Bottom line, he has a strong personality, he's a get it done (right), no BS kind of dude. He was the perfect guy for the job. Brian knew what was broken and exactly how to fix it. Insert screw-driver and turn clockwise....DONE! Brian helped us shave the b-jive and focus on what needed to get done.”

The whole series:

The Wild Ride- part 1
The Wild Ride Part II
Wild Ride Part III
Wild Ride Part FOE

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http://talkinrealatyou.blogspot.com/2009/06/wild-ride-part-foe.html


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3D Realms’ Scott Miller Says There Will be More Duke Nukem

Scott Miller of 3DR in an interview in Gamesauce magazine (it’s new, I know – I haven’t heard of it before, has made some claims that Duke Nukem Forever’s future may be in question, but there will be more Duke games, some coming out within the next year.

Some outtakes from the interview on Shacknews:

"The next few years should see a strong resurgence in Duke,"

"There are numerous other Duke games in various stages of development, several due out this year. We are definitely looking to bring Duke into casual gaming spaces, plus there are other major Duke games in production."

"Almost all of these are unannounced,"

“Duke Nukem 3D was made for $300,000, and we made back 25 times our investment--not to mention all of the third-party Duke console games that sold well. Plus, we made a killing with Wolfenstein 3D. And we made the biggest killing on Max Payne! We made $30 million in royalties on that game (off of a $2.5 million investment), plus another $48 million selling the IP to our publisher. Oh, and we were also part owners of Gathering of Developers when that was sold to Take2. And finally, we have been pretty lucky with other investments, both in the stock market and in other studios.”

"I think I would have abandoned internal development six or seven years ago," he replied when asked what he would have done differently. "I much prefer to work with external studios to develop games, as we did with [Remedy Entertainment on] Max Payne and [Human Head Studios on] Prey. Radar [Group] is following this very model, with no internal development...it's much more cost effective for us, with lower risk."

So, to summarize, it looks like there will be new Duke Nukem games in 2010, some for casual audiences on mobile and handheld platforms, and maybe even some “major ones” too.

It’s interesting too to note how the fight with DNF is still going on, and that Scott says it’s not over, even though many others say it’s been cancelled or development has stopped, and even the Duke Nukem movie is still around. The last time I heard, they were thinking about getting Dwayne Johnson, the actor formerly known as The Rock, to play the part, but that may have been nothing but speculation. All we do know is it’s being produced by Scott Faye, who also produced the Max Payne movie.


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2009/12/24

AAA: Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve

Well, the year’s nearly through. It’s Christmas Eve, and I’ve spent some time with the family, and we had dinner just a few hours ago and we’ve been doing the usual stuff.

I usually take Fridays off, and that applies tomorrow as well. I won’t be doing any blogging or writing of articles or any writing of any sort hopefully, and whether or not I do any on the weekend will remain to be seen.

I’m taking a break, and after the weekend and particularly in the new year, I suppose I’ll be back to posting news, both local and international, stuff about movies, music and especially gaming, and the usual random magic, or nonsense, depending on how you see it. And I hope to further extend my presence on the web with more blogs and websites, and so on, some time.

So, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

P.S. I’ve recently added some new widgets to the blog. The games I’m currently playing, and the Christmas banner. The poll is still running as well, this time with a selection of games to choose from, indicating your favourite game you’ve played this year.


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2009/12/23

Ubisoft With Another Trademark - Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

This year it was revealed that there would be a Ghost Recon 4, in a financial report from the company, for release in 2010. Then more recently it was found out that a trademark had been registered, possibly for the upcoming game – “Ghost Recon: Predator”.

Now another trademark had been filed, and it’s “Ghost Recon: Future Soldier”. I only know of one future Ghost Recon game, but maybe these are names for more than one game in the series. I doubt it, but still.

So, we’ve had “Modern Warfare”, and now “Future Soldier”. Medal of Honor was rumoured at one stage to use the subtitle “Modern Combat”, but it isn’t. So, I guess soon we’ll be using synonyms for game titles and such, as this guy was going on about recently.

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http://supererogatory.tumblr.com/post/290121290


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The Death of Duke Nukem: An Article

image

It’s been the talk of the web lately: Wired wrote a piece the other day on the whole situation of 3D Realms and Duke Nukem Forever – an infamous topic that we’ve all talked about, got excited over, laughed at, forgotten, and eventually sneered at when the DNF team was let go this year in May.

Let’s be honest: there’s almost nothing we don’t know about this story, and although there might not be anything new here, as well as riddled with the words “fail” and “epic fail” – fanboy phrases which make me cringe, this article delves into the whole emotional side of it. And at one of those times of the year – Christmas, when we’re happy, and yet a little bit sad as we reflect on the past year. And let’s face it: it must have been a heart-breaking year for George Broussard of 3DR, because, as Wired put it, it might well have been the nail in the coffin for his greatest work. The greatest game never made. Duke Nukem Forever.

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Learn to Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem


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Apocalypse Then: Heretic

256px-Heretic

15 Years of Heretic

On this day in gaming, 23 December, in 1994, Heretic was released.

It’s a FPS shooter developed by Raven Software and published by id Software. It was one of the first games in the long lasting relationship between the two companies.

For years afterwards Raven would use id game engines for their own projects, and later on id would outsource their projects to Raven to develop, like Quake 4 and Wolfenstein, until recently when id was bought out by ZeniMax Media, for that very reason – publishers were hesitant about doing business with id because some games in their series were externally developed by Raven and published by Activision, the parent company.

While John Romero was still with id Software, he was the Executive Producer and Game Designer  on Heretic. The game used the id Tech 1 engine, used in the original Doom games, except with some added functionality, like being able to look up and down and featured “gibs” – a term that became well-known over the years.

Instead of the usual weapons associated with most FPSs of the time, the weapons were modelled more after a fantastical, magical arsenal, seeing as the main protagonist, the player’s character was a Sidhe elf, who possessed magical powers.

Like Doom, the original release of Heretic was available through mail order, in addition to the shareware version, and had three episodes. The retail edition that came out later on included another two episodes. This was the expansion, Shadow of the Serpent Riders, essentially an extended version of the mail-order one, although their was a patch that could be downloaded for people who all ready had the mail-order one to upgrade it free of charge.

The game was nowhere near as popular as the Doom series, although it did well enough to receive several sequels in the Hexen series, as well as Heretic II.

Nowadays you can run Heretic on modern systems, most simply by using the JDoom or Doomsday source port which supports Heretic and Hexen, as well as the Doom games.

You can pick Heretic up here, if you want to play a classic.


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2009/12/22

NAG Magazine January 2010 Issue on the way, Delayed in Cape Town


January will mark 11 years that I’ve been buying NAG magazine.
Unfortunately for those of us in Cape Town (including me), if you aren’t a subscriber, you’ll only be able to get the issue on the 7th of January, instead of the 24th of December like everyone else. That’s a whole 2 weeks delay! Damn!
So, if you were planning on wrapping it up for Christmas, guess you’ll have one less present on the morning, which has approached so fast. It’s on Friday – can you believe it?
“Update: Due to some unforeseen delays with the distribution of the DVD, the January issue will only be on shelves in Cape Town on the 7th of January. Subscribers will not be affected.”
It’s too bad, because this issue looks like it’s going to be a good one. Features include a Dead Space 2 interview, and reviews of all of 2009’s big hits: Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed II, Dragon Age: Origins, and Left 4 Dead 2!
The DVD will contain demos of Avatar and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, as well as the usual truckload of videos and trailers and lots of other stuff.
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http://nag.tidemedia.co.za/?p=5743
http://forums.tidemedia.co.za/nag/showthread.php?p=253220#post253220
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RIP Brittany Murphy: Actress, Voice Actress, Singer, Model, and More

Brittany Murphy
A couple of days ago, the actress, Brittany Anne Murphy, died of a heart attack while apparently in the bathroom. She was 32 years of age.

I will always remember Brittany for her role in 8 Mile, Alex Latourno, Rabbit’s cheating girlfriend, but besides that, she starred in many other films and television roles too, as well as video games, I’ve learned.

She did voice acting for the Happy Feet game, based on the movie, as well as Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, both released in 2006.

Such a shame – she could have possibly done more work in games, maybe something more for core gamers, but alas.

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Giantbomb.com
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Video Game Deals: Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords Expansion Pack

I noticed a price drop alert on one of my sources, and went on to Amazon to check it out, only to find that it’s indeed cheaper than was originally stated.

You can get Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords Expansion Pack for $10.74, taking off about two thirds of the full price apparently.

Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords Expansion Pack - $10.74 - Save $19.25

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http://www.nowinstock.net/


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2009/12/21

Video Game Deals: Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2

Saw this on Amazon just now. Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 for the PS3, where you can save $10 off the total price. Average reviews on the game are pretty good  - in the mid 80s on IGN, Game Informer, and Metacritic.

Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 - $44.99 (New) - Save $10.00, $39.99 (Best Price)

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http://www.nowinstock.net/


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Jagged Alliance 3 Still in Development Hell, Possibly Cancelled

ja3-screen3 It’s been ten years since the release of Jagged Alliance 2, and for about half that time we’ve been waiting for Jagged Alliance 3.

The developer most recently said to be in charge of developing the title, Akella, is said to have stopped working on the game, originally according to a German website.

It has one of the most complicated development histories of almost any game. MiST Land South was the developer for the game, as well as Jagged Alliance 3D, before Akella eventually took over. It was headed for a Q1 2010 release until just recently. Strategy First, the publisher still has the rights to the game.

To tell the truth, I’d given up on ever seeing playing this game anyway.

Other similar titles to Jagged Alliance have popped up over the years, with some questioning a possible relation to the canonical series. These include, in addition to Jagged Alliance 3D and 3: African Alliance (cancelled), Brigade E5: New Jagged Union, and Hired Huns: The Jagged Edge. It appears that this latter game might be the original Jagged Alliance 3D. Much of the content was changed seeing as GFI had lost the rights to the Jagged Alliance IP. Notice how most of these titles either have “Jagged” or “Alliance” or a synonym for this in their titles, and have been published by the same companies.

The original developers and publishers of the first two games, SirTech, Madlab Software, and TalonSoft, closed down years ago.

At the moment I still have Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire on my PC, and I have JA 2 Gold as well as the original Jagged Alliance.

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Jagged Alliance 3 Cancelled?


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Apocalypse Then: Marathon

15 Years of Marathon

MarathonOn this day in gaming, 21 December, in 1994, a perhaps lesser known game by the name of Marathon was released.

Why do I say it’s lesser known? Because firstly it was released at a time when Doom and Doom II were on the scene, and secondly it was only for Macintosh. Despite being technologically advanced over other games like the aforementioned Doom games, not everyone knows about these games.

It’s a FPS developed and published by Bungie Studios, best known for the Halo series, which many claim is a spiritual successor to this series of games, collectively called the Marathon Trilogy,  which also consists of two m1sequels in Marathon 2: Durandal and Marathon Infinity. The Marathon Trilogy is set in the same universe as Pathways Into Darkness, another Bungie title.

Marathon 2 was released for PC as well as Mac, unlike the other two games, and also made it onto XBLA. If anything it’s arguably the best known of the games because of appearances on these platforms.

About five years after the first game’s release, Marathon 2’s source code was released and after that a fan-made source port, Aleph One, was made, initially for Mac but later other platforms like Windows. More than ten years after the first game’s release, Bungie released the trilogy as freeware, and total conversions of the other two games in the series were made, so nowadays PC gamers can play all the games in the trilogy.


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2009/12/20

Video Games Coming Out This Week, December 20 – 26, 2009: Nothing

Another quiet week just before Christmas. All the major titles that were going to come out, came out last month, and all the titles that may have released last month jumped to next year’s now-crowded Q1 and Q2 to avoid Modern Warfare 2.

So, if you want any major titles, best to just wait.

Links go to the usual places – Amazon, D2D, Wiiware, Dsiware, etc.

PC

Twin Sector

Supreme Ruler 2020 Global Crisis (Digital)icon

Xbox 360

Guitar Hero: Van Halen - Guitar Hero: Van Halen Guitar Faceplate for X360 and PS3
0 Day Attack on Earth

PS2

Guitar Hero: Van Halen

PS3

Guitar Hero: Van Halen - Guitar Hero: Van Halen Guitar Faceplate for X360 and PS3

PSP

Savage Moon: The Hera Campaign

Wii

Pallurikio
Guitar Hero: Van Halen - Guitar Hero: Van Halen Guitar Faceplate for Wii
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers 

DS

myNotebook: Green
AiRace
AiRace: Tunnel

iPhone

RC Plane
Advent Annihilation: Westbang Xmas Special!
Retro Shoot
Skies of Glory

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Gamespot


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Sunday Times Picks the Top 20 Video Games of 2009

Over the past year or two I’ve noticed that the Sunday Times magazine has become more “with it” as regards video games and its culture, with initially one game or two game reviews making it in there. Now however, for the past two weeks running just before Christmas, video games have been featured on the cover – something that was rarely done before, unless it was something majorly hyped, like Halo 3 or perhaps Modern Warfare 2, more recently. The covers were a couple of rubbish collages of all different multimedia images, with no real recognizable faces, except for something out of Watchmen, but still.

So, for the past couple of weeks, the Sunday Times has listed their top 20 of each multimedia category – video games, movies, and music…and gadgets in case it wasn’t masculine enough. The first ten (20-11) were featured last weekend, and this weekend the rest (10-1) were featured. Yes, Modern Warfare 2 is on the list, but wait… it’s not number 1 - which means it’s more legitimate than you think!

Sunday Times Top 20 Video Games of 2009:

20. WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010
19. Metroid Prime Trilogy
18. The Beatles: Rockband
17.Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes from Liberty City
16. Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
15. Mad World
14. Tekken 6
13. Red Faction: Guerrilla
12. Overlord 2
11. Borderlands
10. Fifa 10
9. Wolfenstein
8. Tiger Woods Wii
7. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
6. Forza Motorsport 3
5. Assassin’s Creed 2
4. InFamous
3. DJ Hero
2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
1. Batman: Arkham Asylum

Quite a good list. I’m glad that Wolfenstein got on there somewhere in the top 10. It wasn’t that bad. I’m also glad about Fallout 3 GOTY, although I would have put it higher, seeing as I’m playing it right now and enjoying it. Red Faction Guerrilla, Borderlands, Modern Warfare 2, Assassin’s Creed 2, and of course the game everyone raved about: Batman Arkham Asylum, all featured on the list. I had a feeling that Arkham Asylum would be high on the list – Pippa on The Verge certainly talks fondly of it.

If you want to know who to thank, or crucify, for the list, it’s Yusuf Laher, Matthew Vice, and Walt Pretorius – they composed the video game list. If you’ve ever read NAG magazine, you should recognize these names – particularly the infamous Walt “Shryke” Pretorius that we’ve known of for years. And here I was thinking it was probably some bunch of mainstream casual gamers, but not a wholly terrible effort. At least they covered most consoles.

Games that you might like that didn’t make the list would be Left 4 Dead 2, Resident Evil 5, Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition (which some say sucked anyway), X-Men and Origins: Wolverine Uncaged Edition, Prototype (basically the main competitor for InFamous – which did make the list), F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, The Sims 3, and probably some more as well. I think the only real oversight for a lot of people would be Left 4 Dead 2, seeing as that was featured on almost every other “best of list” for 2009 out there, but it all comes down to opinion. If I made a list, it would be different, but I wouldn’t even know how to go about making one.


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2009/12/19

Fallout 3: Game of the Year Available on D2D

fallout3gotyeditiondatedFallout 3 GOTY edition has been out for a couple of months , and now the game is available on digital distribution sites like Direct2Drive.

I’ve just been playing this recently along with some other games. I started the Point Lookout DLC just yesterday. They say this is the best out of all of them. I’ve also played Operation Anchorage and The Pitt, but that was when I bought the first retail pack with both of them in. This is why I avoided buying the second retail pack, because I was waiting for the GOTY edition.

The Fallout 3 Game of the Year edition includes Fallout 3 as well as all the DLC packs - Operation Anchorage, The Pitt, Broken Steel, Point Outlook, and Mothership Zeta.

Ignore the average D2D reader score of 6.6 on the site. It’s a very good deal with practically 6 games in one. The only deal this good was likely the Orange Box years ago.

Each of the DLC packs were originally priced at $10, and with the GOTY edition priced at $49,95 on D2D (slightly cheaper than Steam - by a few cents, lol), you’re basically paying for the DLC packs and getting the original game, Fallout 3, free. The only way you can buy the individual DLC packs online is through Games for Windows Live.

You can still get the retail version of Fallout 3 GOTY edition though, and cheaper too – for the PC at least.

Note: I’m just giving some advice here as regards playing the GOTY edition. It works best with a clean install, and perhaps even with a saved game with an unmodified game if you all ready have Fallout 3 on your PC. You’ll need a patched version of F3 if you don’t use the GOTY edition. If you’ve played any of the DLC packs before, the save games may not work properly if at all, seeing as the DLC packs are essentially reinstalled. I found this out the hard way.

Buy Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition at D2Dicon

 

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Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition Hits Steam


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2009/12/18

The Simpsons and Worms #2: So It’s Come to This

sictt

At one point I posted about an observation I made while watching reruns of old seasons of The Simpsons. What I talked about was that the episode called “Stark Raving Dad” contained several quotes of speech that were used in the game called Worms.

Well, recently I saw another episode of The Simpsons called “So It’s Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show”, and upon listening to some of the quotes, I also recognised a few that were used in Worms, particularly the part where Homer is teaching Bart to shave, and after nicking himself with the razor several times, he applies aftershave, and afterwards Homer is in excruciating agony, as you can imagine (well, if you’re a man and ever put a whole handful of aftershave on an open cut or two or three). These sounds were split and used individually in the “Simpsons” theme in Worms for the sounds the worms made when falling or tumbling on the ground.

worms_plus

This was also the episode that contained the famous 32 D’ohs in a row clip. This was partially recreated by Jon St. John in a recording session for a Duke Nukem game. He managed about 11.


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2009/12/17

Twenty Years of The Simpsons Today

The Simpsons Logo 2009 On this day, 17 December 1989, the debut episode of The Simpsons aired on Fox. That’s twenty years ago; two decades.

The Simpsons is by far my favourite animated comedy series. Sure, there are others that I’ve seen, like South Park, and even a British series called 2DTV, which I only ever saw one series of – I’m not sure if they made any others, and of course Family Guy, which as far as I know doesn’t show here in S.A., but The Simpsons has been running longer, and most of the time, it’s been better.

I came across an article on Digg, originally from Yahoo news about the twentieth anniversary of the hilarious little program that started off as a Christmas special which grew into an ongoing series, and nowadays a cultural icon. There was a movie made in 2007, and there’ve been games based on The Simpsons and lots of other merchandise too, all featuring Bart (an anagram for brat), Lisa, the irritating feminist-wannabe, Maggie, the eternal baby, Marge, the gravelly-voiced mother with a curious hairdo, and Homer, the highlight of the show, as well as numerous other characters from the series. Marge even appeared in Playboy recently (that’s how hard up Playboy is right now, and has been for the last several years, because of the internet – it has to feed off of The Simpsons’ success). The Simpsons characters have even appeared on US postage stamps – madness.

 
It’s hard to believe it’s been so long. I’ve been watching the program since the early nineties, and right now on Vuzu, channel 123 on DSTV, they’ve been showing all the past episodes of The Simpsons, right from the very first one and then on to the first season and beyond, including one of the more infamous episodes, “Stark Raving Dad”, which featured the voice of the legendary late Michael Jackson.

Many stars have made appearances on the show, with their voices and likenesses, even including politicians and such. At the end of every episode, I usually wait until the end of the credits just to see if it really was Michael Jackson, only to see that it was “John Jay Smith”, which actually turned out to be a pseudonym for the man. I rarely do this with any other program.

To celebrate the twentieth anniversary, there will be a documentary called "The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special in 3D on Ice", to be directed by Morgan Spurlock, who made "Super Size Me", and it will air next year – a weird choice of director, but anyway.

Matt Groening, the show’s creator, has said that there may be the possibility of another Simpsons movie in the future.
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Doh! The Simpsons still young and yellow at 20

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20091213/ts_afp/entertainmenttelevisionussimpsons_20091213031833


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Rumour: F.E.A.R. 3: Project Hades Possibly Revealed

It seems there’s more on the trail of blood as concerns F.E.A.R.3.

It was initially spotted by Mountain Dew…whoops, I mean Superannuation, like a lot of things, on a CV belonging to one Joel Cueller, an ex-Monolith artist: the title of “Project Hades”.

People have immediately assumed that the name is the subtitle of F.E.A.R. 3. Seeing as it’s in development at Monolith, and that the previous title in the series, F.E.A.R.2 had the subtitle of “Project Origin”, which was originally the actual title (complicated stuff, don’t ask), it’s not hard to see why.

Cueller also worked on F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin and its DLC packs while still at Monolith.

In the F.E.A.R. universe, there are a lot of Projects: Project Origin, Project Icarus, Project Perseus, Project Harbinger, and Project Paragon. So Project Hades must be a new one then.

Add to this the rumours that have been going around about F.E.A.R. 3 over the past few months, and the ending up F.E.A.R.2, and it’s quite clear that even if Project Hades isn’t F.E.A.R.3, that title will most certainly be in the cards for the future.

F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin wasn’t a bad game, but it was different somehow, and arguably not as hard hitting as the original. F.E.A.R. was one of 2005’s most anticipated titles, and upon release was named GOTY by some publications and even spawned a series of machinimas in the  P.A.N.I.C.S. series. Project Origin was one 2009’s sleeper hits, and has since faded in to obscurity.

I think they should get someone like Clive Barker in to work on the F.E.A.R. series. He would make that game scary and weird as hell, maybe even more so than the first one. Remember Undying and Jericho?

That’s what it needs to be – scary. That’s what the title, even though it’s an acronym, is supposed to indicate. I seem to remember the replica soldiers, even the weakest ones, in the first game being a lot bigger and scarier than the ones in the sequel.


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2009/12/16

Video Game Deals: PSP and DS Deals at Amazon

PSP

Pinball Heroes: Uncharted [Online Game Code] - $3.99 - Save $36.00

Beaterator [Online Game Code] - $19.99 - Save $20.00

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars [Online Game Code] - $29.99 - Save $10.00

DS

Mario & Luigi Bowser's Inside Story - $25.00 - Save $8.99

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks - $25.00 - Save $8.99

Tony Hawk's Motion - $17.79 - Save $9.80

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http://www.nowinstock.net/


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News: ZeniMax Media Has The Rights to Rage

Day of Reconciliation (SA)

Although that headline may seem as though their planning some horrible sort of revenge on the world (which they might be), it’s actually related to the game Rage, by id Software, currently still in development.

Previously, EA was going to publish the game, but ZeniMax Media recently acquired the publishing rights to the title, and has said that Bethesda Softworks will publish the title when it’s released, hopefully next year.

Earlier this year, ZeniMax bought id Software to add to their stable which includes Fallout 3 developer Bethesda. This was a move that shocked most of the world, or at least the gaming population, seeing as id, up until then, had remained independent for 17 years.

As regards the publishing rights being shifted to Bethesda Softworks, some people have claimed that EA got shafted on the whole deal, and that it was coming for months, but EA claims there are no hard feelings, and wishes them all the best. It’s nothing personal; it’s business.

As Loot Ninja wrote though, why should ZeniMax pay EA, an outside, third party company to publish the title, when they can do it themselves? Initially after the buyout earlier this year, id’s next shooter, Doom 4, was going to be the first game by id published by BethSoft, but now that’s going to change, and Rage will be the first. It will also be the title to debut the id Tech 5 engine. That should mean it will be called the “Rage engine” for some time, and not something else, like the Doom, Quake, Quake II, Quake III, or Doom 3 engine. Damn, that’s also a first.

ZeniMax is going to handle all sales and marketing as regards Rage, and issued a press release with all this information, among it, saying that Rage’s development will be unaffected by this issue.

The game should be out in 2010 on PC, Mac, Xbox 360, and PS3.


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Got Some More Classic Games on the Weekend

I posted the other day about how I went Christmas shopping and ended up picking up something for myself: Operation Flashpoint GOTY Edition. Well, I went Christmas shopping on the last weekend as well, and went to Musica once again, where I picked up four classics: Thief II: The Metal Age, Deus Ex, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, and Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. All of these were between R50 and R70 each.

Right now I’m playing Deus Ex. It’s the first time I’ve played this game in years. Even though the AI, animation, and graphics aren’t that good (even when it was released), it’s still a good story and addictive gameplay that reminds me of System Shock 2.


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2009/12/15

Splinter Cell Conviction: Collector's Edition Available for Preorder

Splinter Cell Conviction has now received a Limited Collector’s Edition.

Ubisoft, the publisher, has confirmed this and the details of the contents of this pack have been revealed too.

The pack will include a Sam Fisher statue, a SteelBook case, a Shadow Armor multiplayer skin and early access to the SC300, SR2 and MP5 weapons.

It will also include access to the Infiltration game mode, and the soundtrack. The Collector’s Edition seems to be for the Xbox 360 only and retails at $69.99 on Amazon, but the standard edition of the game will be released on both Xbox 360 as well as PC.

Splinter Cell: Conviction will be available on February 20, 2010 in Oz, February 23 in the US, and February 26 in Europe.

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Splinter Cell Conviction: Collector's Edition detailed


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Duke Nukem 3D: McClane or McClain? That is the Question

If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know that I’m all for classic gaming, and right now I’m playing Duke Nukem 3D, complete with the EDuke32 source port, the HRP, and Duke Plus, an probably some other stuff too.

Anyhow, I was watching Die Hard the other night, and I made it my AAA’s choice on Sunday. What does this have to do with Duke Nukem 3D? Well, Die Hard and John McClane were some pretty heavy influences for the game, particularly in the fourth episode called “The Birth”, which came with Duke Nukem 3D Atomic Edition, where there’s a level called “Pig Sty”. In this level, you’ll come across a plaque with the name “J.McClain” printed on it:

4441_jmcclain

This is a sprite or texture taken from the HRP folder of my Duke 3D setup. J. McClain obviously refers to John McClane from Die Hard, right? But why is the spelling wrong? According to official sources, and wikipedia, it’s spelt “McClane”. I’m not sure whether this was an error by the team at 3DR who made the level and game years ago, or if it’s just a mistake by the HRP guys.

Ah, but I looked it up on 3D Realms’ website, on the walkthrough for this very level, “E4L5”, and it’s written right there:

“This time it's a "J. McClain", which prompts a famous Dukeism borrowed from the original "Die Hard" movie”

And the walkthrough uses the original, unmodified game (possibly a console, non-PC version though), with no high-res textures like the ones that come with the HRP. So the HRP guys - Parkar and Nightfright, last time I checked – were merely copying what had all ready been done except making it look all nice and high-resolutiony (not a real word).

That dukeism referred to is this, by the way. A famous line from Die Hard.

I mean, it crossed my mind that it could have been spelt this way intentionally to avoid a lawsuit or something, but there’s another plaque in the same level that reads “H. Callahan”:

4442_hcallahan

This obviously refers to Harry Callahan from Dirty Harry, but unlike the J. McClain one, this one is spelt properly.

It’s unlikely it was done intentionally seeing as if 3DR wanted to avoid a lawsuit, they wouldn’t have “borrowed” so many lines and ideas from films like the Evil Dead series. It’s quite amazing how much stuff was copied from this series. Bruce Campbell hates Duke Nukem for this very reason.

Just an interesting thing though. Has anyone else ever noticed this?


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Mass Effect 2’s Cast Revealed: Martin Sheen, Seth Green Returns

This is news from last week, but I thought I would post about it. The cast has been revealed for Mass Effect 2.

The cast features a return of Seth Green as the equally irritating Joker, the pilot of the Normandy form the original, as well as Keith David who played Captain Anderson in the original, eventually promoted to Admiral, except he refers to himself as “counsellor”, as he is on the Council.

Martin Sheen makes an appearance in the sequel as “The Illusive Man”, as well as Carrie Anne Moss from The Matrix, and Adam Baldwin – one of the lesser known brothers of Alec Baldwin (who says he’s going to quit acting).

Some other names you may or may not know include Shohreh Aghdashloo, Tricia Helfer, Michael Hogan, Michael Dorn, and Yvonne Strahovski (the only good thing about Chuck).

It seems that quite a lot of the cast, specifically the new recruits, have had experience in other sci-fi films and series, or perhaps even video games.

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Bioware Reveals Celebrity Cast for Mass Effect 2


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Today’s TV Schedule Highlights, and AAA’s Choice - 15/12/09: Top Gear

Tuesday, 15th of December, 2009

This is a new feature where I run through all the highlights on local TV and Satellite. Some series will make an appearance here everyday, particularly on weekdays. And out of all these highlights, I will feature one as the AAA’s choice of the day. All programs are set out chronologically – as in the order according to the time they appear on TV.

So hopefully for those reading this, there will be less paging through TV guides and so on, which have become increasingly erroneous over the last year or so – particularly the Dish magazine.

While compiling this list, I referred to The Good Weekend, which comes with the Weekend Argus on Saturdays. Only the things that appeal to me or get a rating of at least two or three stars make it on the list.

Note that this is all for local South African TV and DSTV, not international stuff, like what’s showing in the US.

Highlights

Eagle Eye (M-NET at 11:00 AM; stars Shia LeBouef, Billy Bob Thornton)

Ninja Warrior (Animax – Channel 126 on DSTV at 6:15 PM; reruns)

The Simpsons (Vuzu- Channel 123 on DSTV at 6:30 PM; reruns of old series)

AAA’s Choice

Top Gear (BBC Entertainment - Channel 120 on DSTV at 6:30 PM; reruns of old series)

Top Gear originally aired from the late 70s to the early 2000s. From there, a new show which was meant to be the show’s successor, Fifth Gear, started up and quite a few people from the original went over, including Tiff Needell.

But, a year or two later, and Top Gear was revived in what they call “the new format”, or “second coming”, and the legendary, obnoxious, brash, and funny-as-hell Jeremy Clarkson was brought back on as he had been on the original show for more than ten years. James May ended up replacing another person named Jason Dawes from season 1, since James had also been on Top Gear since the late 90s. Richard Hammond was initially the new guy in the series.

Top Gear was brought back to life in 2002 and has since then gone on to be a big thing on TV – so much so that BBC couldn’t make up their minds whether to run it on BBC Entertainment or BBC Knowledge. Entertainment ended up winning the show back although it was on Knowledge for quite some time. The show is very popular in SA. Top Gear even makes a trip here every year or so.

Anyhow, if you like cars and comedy, then don’t miss this. Unfortunately these are old episodes from previous seasons, and the new season finished recently, but there are still a few gems and even some you might not have seen before, if you’re lucky.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (BBC Entertainment - Channel 120 on DSTV at 7:30 PM)

Big Bang Theory (SABC 3 at 7:30 PM)

WWE Afterburn (E-TV at 8:00 PM)

Special Assignment (SABC 3 at 8:30 PM)

Heroes (SABC 3 at 9:00 PM)

The Verge (Vuzu- Channel 123 on DSTV at 9:30 PM)

South Park (Vuzu- Channel 123 on DSTV at 10:00 PM; reruns of old series)

Supernatural (SABC 3 at 10:15 PM)

Sherlock Holmes And The Secret Weapon (E-TV at 01:45 AM)


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2009/12/14

Video Game Deals at Amazon: Modern Warfare 2 for PS3 and Xbox 360

Modern Warfare 2 was one the top selling game of November, and it looks like it’s still at the top of the list. I’ve seen Modern Warfare 2’s price on console drop by a bit lately – by over $12 on PS3. The price for this version is the same as the Xbox 360 one, when you buy it brand new. The used price is a little lower for both. Note that this is the standard edition.


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John Romero Reminisces, Drops Some Doom Trivia

John Romero was the designer on Doom while he was still at id Software, the company he co-founded, back in the nineties.

John often tweets some interesting little titbits, and recently on John’s twitter account he left a few tweets related to Doom, seeing as it was Doom’s 16th birthday recently:

“instead of making Doom, we almost ended up making Aliens instead, after the movie. An hour later we decided not to.”

“It's DOOM's 16 birthday today - Happy Birthday DOOM!
Happy Birthday DOOM!”

“DOOM only cost id Software about $700k to produce in 1993”

There you are, some Doom trivia. I like video game trivia. Don’t you? Maybe John will leave some more Doom tweets this month.

I noticed how Tom Hall didn’t have anything to tweet about Doom. Perhaps he’s bitter, and understandably, seeing as he was fired from id by John Carmack during the development process of Doom. He was the one who made the infamous Doom Bible, the original design document for the game.

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John Romero on Twitter

Tom Hall on Twitter


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Aliens vs. Predator Release Date, Box Art, Collector’s Editions

It’s been confirmed that the latest Aliens vs. Predator title in the famed series will be released on February 19, 2010, in Europe.

In addition to this the box art has been unveiled for the game, and like Modern Warfare 2, the game comes in three different editions: Standard, Survivor, and Hunter. The good news is that these special editions are for all platforms- PC, PS3, and 360.

Aliens_vs._Predatorl Aliens_vs._Predator-PC

What’s in  these editions:

The Survivor Edition: comes in a steel case and features a code for downloadable multiplayer maps.

The Hunter Edition: everything the Survivor Edition has, as well as a posable facehugger model, a Weyland Yutani sleeve badge and a 3D lenticular postcard.

The box art is quite good – very green as D’toid mentioned, keeping with the theme of the game which in my experience features a lot of green. Green night vision, green acid blood from the Aliens, and bright green blood from the Predators.

In related news, the game was banned in Australia.

You can preorder the games here, here, and here.

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http://www.mcvuk.com/news/36822/Aliens-Vs-Predator-dated

http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/news/51952/Aliens-vs-Predator-PC-Box-Art


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2009/12/13

Duke Nukem Wishes you a Merry Christmas

On a Duke Nukem Facebook page, there was recently a Christmas card posted up that reads “There is always room for one more present under my tree”. As you can see, the picture has Duke holding a shotgun, standing in the middle of four chicks with Christmas gear on. Very erotic.

image

This doesn’t look like the Facebook page started by Scott Miller as the language on the page certainly isn’t English. The card isn’t related to the D-Day album, which so far consists of one photo, but Critical Mass, part of Duke Nukem Trilogy for PSP and DS.

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http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2980384&id=186028571601

http://www.duke4.net/comment.php?comment.news.324


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Video Games Coming Out This Week, 13/12/09 – 19/12/09: Not much

Well, this week continues the dry spell we’ve been having so far. Not many big titles or anything that I’ve been looking forward to this year.

Seeing as this is more of a downloadable game’s week, I’m not searching and linking to all the game pages. In fact, I’m considering only doing this for highlights or else just certain titles on the list in future, as it’s too time-consuming.

PC

Brukkon
EverQuest Underfoot
Europa Universalis III: Heir to the Throne Expansion (GamersGate)
Manga Fighter Season 2
Twin Sector

Mac

Brukkon

PlayStation 3

Blue Toad Murder Files: The Mysteries of Little Riddle - Episode 1 (PlayStation Network)

Xbox 360

Alien Breed Evolution: Episode 1 (Xbox Live Arcade)
Konami Classics Vol.1
Konami Classics Vol.2

Nintendo Wii

Blaster Master
Diatomic
Playmobil Circus
Rubik's Puzzle Galaxy: RUSH

Nintendo DS

Playmobil: Pirates
Reader Rabbit Kindergarten

iPhone

Split Worlds

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http://www.shacknews.com/

http://www.gamespot.com/


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Today’s TV Schedule Highlights, and AAA’s Choice: Die Hard

Sunday, 13th of December, 2009

Highlights:

WWE Pay-Per-View: Survivor Series  (E-TV at 12:45 PM)

WWE Raw (E-TV at 5:00 PM)

Carte Blanche: Christmas Special (M-NET at 7:00 PM)

Demolition Man (SABC 1 at (8:00 PM; Stars Sylvester Stallone, Sandra Bullock, Wesley Snipes)

Quantum of Solace (M-Net at 8:00 PM; Stars Daniel Craig)

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diehard Die Hard (E-TV at 8:00 PM; Stars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman)

( AAA’s Choice)

Locally, tonight on E-TV at 8:00 PM, they’re showing the first Die Hard. In my opinion this is the best in the series. I just watched Die Hard 4.0 (Live Free or Die Hard) the other night on DSTV, and although it’s not bad, I still like the first movie best.

Bruce Willis (when he still had a little hair) plays John McClane, an NYPD police officer who travels to Los Angeles, to the Nakatomi Plaza to visit his wife, who John finds has reverted to her maiden name, Genero, during their separation after marital difficulties.

While John is at the plaza, terrorists storm the building and take the employees ay a Christmas party hostage. The terrorists are led be Hans Gruber (brilliantly played by Alan Rickman). Cue John McClane who, without backup, takes on the terrorists.

It’s nail-biting, bloody fun, and the perfect holiday film, topped with a Christmas theme. But it’s not your typical Christmassy film, so if you’re tired of the usual slushy rubbish that shows at this time of year, then you’ll enjoy this for sure. Over twenty years later and this is still one of the best action films ever made.

Movie Rating: 4/5

2813281328132813 

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Pearl Harbor (SABC 1 at 10:00 PM; Stars: John Hartnett, Ben Affleck)

Bonnie And Clyde (SABC 3 at 10:00 PM; Stars: Warren Bearry, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman)

Sixteen Candles (E-TV at 10:40 PM; Stars John Cusack)

Death Defying Acts (M-Net at 10:55 PM; stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Guy Pierce)


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2009/12/12

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Release Date, New Screens

Stalker: Call of Pripyat has all ready been released in Russia and parts of Europe this year, but for the US, and the rest of the world, so far the answer has been, “Q1 2010”.

Well, now another updated release date has been given by GSC Game World, the developers, and bitComposer Games, the publisher, and that is February 2010 – perhaps a little less vague than before.

Along with this announcement, there have been some new screens of Call of Pripyat put up as well.

So far, the reviews that have come from people who have played some of the other versions are positive. As I’ve posted about before, if you happen to get your hands on one of these version from abroad, there are a  couple of translation projects going on.

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S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Coming in February


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2009/12/11

Thinking of What Games to get for Christmas

The other day I posted about getting the Operation Flashpoint: Game of the Year Edition for R50. But now I’m thinking about what I can get as far as new games go.

Seeing as I’ve seen headline after headline in my feeds about ‘Best of 2009’ lists, I thought this would be a good place to start. I also came across a thread over at the NAG forums which talked about people’s favourite games of the year. I find this to be more personal opinion than a lot of these lists which are made just to appeal to others.

I’ve narrowed it down, and I think I might run a poll on this too, to these games. These seem to be the best games of this year for PC, and I suppose I might pick up one or two:

Red Faction: Guerrilla – a good game but not brilliant apparently; good physics.

Fallout 3: GOTY (Fallout 3 with all 5 DLC packs: Operation Anchorage, The Pitt, Broken Steel, Point Lookout, Mothership Zeta) – this has been on my mind for quite a while. I haven’t played the last three DLC packs yet.

Star Wars The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition – some say it’s good, others say it isn’t. It’s been a while since I’ve played a SW game anyway.

Resident Evil 5 – I haven’t played a RE game in years either.

Batman: Arkham Asylum – This is surprisingly being referred to as one of the best of this year. I’ve never really been a fan of comics and superheroes (not for years anyway), but if they say it’s that damn good, maybe I’ll check it out.

L4D2 – more of a multiplayer fanatic’s game, but from what I’ve seen it might be a bit of fun. I still haven’t the original.

I’ve all ready got these games:

Borderlands – this is one of the breakout hits of this year, and I’ve all ready got it. It’s a bit buggy though, so I haven’t been able to finish it.

Modern Warfare 2 – I was somewhat disappointed with the rather short campaign, but I should expect this from a CoD game anyway.


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2009/12/10

Apocalypse Then: Doom

Dooma

So, November was certainly Valve Month, it seems as though December is id month, seeing as Quake III Arena and Quake II were both released in this month years ago. Another game that was released this month was Doom, on the 10th of December, 1993. The shareware version was available for free download on this day and featured the first episode of nine levels. The full version was available via mail order, as a retail version only became available in 1995 in The Ultimate Doom.

The first time I played Doom was when I got my first real computer back in 1996. The shareware versions of Doom and Wolfenstein 3D, two of id’s most legendary progenitors in their respective series, were installed along with all the other software and such that was part of the setup cost.

Doom is one of id Software’s most successful franchises and even though it wasn’t the first First-person shooter (the term hadn’t even been invented then), it paved the way for the genre we know by this name today, and for years afterwards, games of the same nature were referred to as “doom clones”.

Doom was no doubt controversial, featuring a lot of violence and satanic imagery in its plot involving a demonic invasion of various locations surrounding Mars, and eventually featuring a trip to hell, which seems somewhat tame when compared to Doom 3, another game in the franchise that would be released more then ten years later. It also popularized multiplayer and deathmatch, a term coined by the game’s designer and co-founder of id, John Romero. Another thing that Doom introduced to the world was the infamous BFG 9000, which has appeared in other id games. Tim Willits recently said that some classic weapons from past id games would feature in Rage, their new IP (somewhat similar to Fallout 3 or Borderlands, at least in setting), and many are likely holding thumbs that the BFG makes an appearance.

Recently the man who made the Doom box art, Don Ivan Punchatz, passed away. His son, Gregor Punchatz, did some of the modelling for Doom and Doom II, especially the monsters.

Doom was followed by Doom II: Hell on Earth, The Ultimate Doom (essentially Doom but the retail version with a fourth episode), as well as Master Levels for Doom II and Final Doom. There was also Doom 64, not considered a true part of the series by some, and Doom was ported to many systems and not to mention its received thousands of mods, TCs, and such over the years.

Doom 3 came out in 2004 and many people were too chicken to play it, and there was an expansion for this in Resurrection of Evil. Doom 3 inspired the Doom movie with The Rock (now calls himself Dwayne Johnson), which was…quite terrible really.

Doom 4 is currently in development at id Software, and will be published by its parent company, ZeniMax Media, which bought id this year.


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The Doom Comic: Rip and Tear

sm01 Since it’s Doom’s birthday today, I thought I would post about this.

Recently I read the infamous Doom comic book called “Knee Deep in the Dead” (after the first episode in the game), also known as “Rip and Tear”, or simply “The Doom Comic”, after I was searching for comics based on video games.

DoomWorld originally posted scans of this limited edition comic book back in 2003, on Doom’s 10 year anniversary. According to the date, it was published in 1996, and although it’s been around for a while, not many people know about it. I think according to the people who have read it, they tried to bury it, forget it, and completely deny its existence, or so they say.

I’ve seen part of it and heard of it before, but only got to see the full thing the other day.

The illustrations aren’t too bad, could be better, even at the time, but the “writing” was rubbish. Anyway, if you haven’t ever read it, here’s your chance.

This space marine is on a quest to get the big gun, which is obviously the BFG 9000, and on the way, he kills all sorts of things including zombies, imps, something which I think is supposed to be a Hell Knight or Baron of Hell, with weapons like his fists (berserker mode), chainsaw, double-barrelled shotgun, chaingun, plasma gun, and finally after obtaining the BFG, he goes after the Cyberdemon. The only weapons seemingly left out here are the regular pump-action shotgun, and the rocket launcher.

I will say a few things, and you might notice these yourself:

  • The face of the marine, like the one above, looks similar to the guy from the cover of the Playstation version of Doom.
  • The stance of the zombie guy on the cover is similar to the one of doomguy on the cover of Doom II: Hell on Earth.
  • Seeing as this was published in 1996, there’s a line in there that not only pays homage to Army of Darkness, but possibly parodies Duke Nukem 3D, released that year: “Groovy!”

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Finally Reached 50 Hubs on HubPages

This week I was digging through some articles that I’d written long ago, and decided to post a couple in order to get to my 50 hub mark. I got a medal for that!

It wasn’t only to reach 50 hubs though – I also just wanted to get rid of these old articles, have them online and getting views instead of just sitting there gathering dust on my HD. So once I publish a few more of these old ones, I can focus on new ones entirely.

I also keep seeing a lot of people on HP with hundred of hubs and I thought, damn, I’d better start upping my game a bit, so I can get more page views and maybe earn some more.


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2009/12/09

Apocalypse Then: Quake II

Quake2box

The other day we all celebrated the 10th anniversary of Quake III Arena. Today is the 12th anniversary of its prequel, Quake II. On this day in gaming, on December 9, 1997, Quake II was released.

The first time I played this game was when I got the demo off of a CD from a friend in 1998, and I later got the full version in 1999, nearly two years after its initial release. It was the one Quake game I’ve likely played the most over the years. I would go to the computer academy at school and instead of working, we would fire up a LAN game of Quake II. This was a trend that continued in high school. It’s funny how schools always seemed to have Quake II on hand, and rarely Quake III Arena.

I still have the CD and I’ve got it on my PC right now, playing it with Quake2Max, a source port, although I’m thinking of switching to another one, and downloading the HRP some time.

Quake II is an FPS title developed by id Software, originally published by Activision, and released on many different platforms over the years. The game used the id Tech 2 engine, which used to be known popularly as the Quake II engine. This engine has been used for many other titles and mods over the years.

Quake II, although a sequel in name to Quake, did not continue the story of the original. Quake II was meant to be the first game in a new series, but due to id not being able to secure a new name for the title, they went back to using their working title: Quake II.  .

quake2aThe story of Quake II sees you take the role of a space marine who starts off in Texas, USA, on earth (in the manual), and makes his way onto a massive starship codenamed “Mother Goose” (in the opening cutscene) which is accompanied by “The Adrianator”, some sort of scout ship. The mission is to fire drop pods from the main ship and land troops on the surface of Stroggos, home of the Strogg, an alien enemy who has committed atrocities against the human race in the past. This is the invasion of their planet, Operation Alien Overlord.

Once the player, known as Bitterman (who later appears in Quake III Arena), is launched in his pod, he is clipped by another marine, and his control over the pod is lost. He misses the LZ, and ends up crashing. Most if not all of the other pods, although supposedly invisible to detection by Strogg defences, were shot down by EMP blasts, and therefore, most of the other marines you encounter in the game are either dead, captured and tortured, or processed to make more Strogg soldiers at the factories.

enemy_groupshotThe gameplay was similar to most FPSs, although slower than Quake, and introduced some new weapons, like the Railgun, Hyperblaster, and a bigger, badder version of the BFG, the BFG 10k. The enemies you’ll use the weapons against are remorseless, relentless killing machines; cyborgs made of human parts and metal and machine.bfg

Quake II’s soundtrack was mainly composed by Sonic Mayhem, but with tracks also contributed by Bill Brown. This soundtrack was praised by some and hated by others. One thing is for sure, they don’t make video game soundtracks like this anymore.

Quake II has received a number of expansions, both official and unofficial, over the years, was succeeded by Quake III Arena in which Bitterman, the main protagonist from Q2, was a playable character (he was horribly mutated from undergoing Strogg experiments), the story of Quake II was continued in Quake 4, and a prequel took place in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, which told the story of how the Strogg initially invaded Earth.

There have been rumours of a some more Quake games coming in the future, and this is certain to take place seeing as it is one of id’s greatest franchises next to Doom. One thing seems certain: that it may well continue the story started by Quake II, and perhaps not Quake.

You can pick up Quake II here if you want to play a classic.


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