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

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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What does AAA stand for?

It's not an abbreviation of anything. It just means the best of the best... 

"Well, now you know the truth: Apocalypso's Atomic Arcade!"

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