“He’s Making A List And Checking It Twice…”


Image courtesy atarimania.com (thanks!)

Yeah, yeah. I’m in the middle of a little (but not little at all) listing project for the fine folks over at Digital Press where I’m one of a few staff wroters who still works on the print ‘zine that gets published whenever we have time to get an issue out.

Everyone contributing to the next issue is going to be submitting a list of 30 “best” console or PC titles from each era 1971-2004 (for a total of up to 90 games from each writer) and those lists will get tallied up and then blurbed for readers to debate about later and perhaps get into unnecessary fisticuffs over.

Okay, that’s NOT the goal at all, but you know how the internet reacts to the most humble stuff these days. Then again, the DP readership is generally more mellow and reserved (well, usually). So I’m gathering whatever pops up from the staff collision at the end of the month will be quite a read. My own list is made up of mostly common games with a few oddball entries added in because they were and still are games that made quite an impression on me back in the day.

Anyway, let me get back to my compiling. I’m having a big brain battle over the final era thanks to so many systems to choose from, way too many PC games being too good and me trying to squeeze a mere 30 games out of thousands that also deserve to be included. Ah well -small world problem, right? If I don’t post anything again today, have a Happy Thanksgiving passed out in front of your TV or wherever else you’ll crawl for a nap after your turkey overdose.

The Angry Birds Movie: A Good Egg Is Getting Cooked Up For 2016

Angry Birds MPWhile The Angry Birds Movie trailer met with the usual internet mix of smiles and grimaces (and the even more usual whines and moans from the haters), it really didn’t do much in the way of telling exactly what the film would be about. Cue Columbia Pictures and Sony sending out invites to assorted media folk to roll on by and see selected scenes from the still in production film presented by producer John Cohen in a fun behind the scenes “featurette” style like something you’d see on a Blu-Ray or DVD.

Invite in hand, this little piggy went for a stroll down to Sony’s midtown screening room for a spell and came up for air quite pleased and impressed by what was shown. I can’t reveal anything about the clips, but Cohen’s presentation was perfect and answered the big fat question many have had since the film was announced. That being how the heck a game with no story to speak of is getting a full on feature film. In short, a story was written specifically for the characters in the game and how they first meet. It’s the three-act structure in full effect and as Cohen showed off artwork, character models and completed to in progress clips from the film, any skepticism I may have felt about the project was a distant memory long before his presentation ended.

Okay, it was less than ten minutes in is when I felt the film would be a great way to get fans of the game as well as non-fans into theaters next May… Continue reading

Earth Defense Force 2 and EDF 4.1 Get Dated: Prepare The Time-Sink Ray!

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Excellent. Between the new trailers above and below, the brand spankin’ new official site and the fact that both games come out on the same day as retail (YES!) and digital product, it’s a fine and dandy day for fans of Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space (PS Vita, $29.99) and Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair (PS4, $49.99). That lovely release date of December 8, 2015 means that plenty of fans of both titles are getting exactly what they’ve wanted from Santa, Krampus or whomever else buys their gifts. Buy someone a copy of this game and you won’t see them for weeks because all they’ll be doing in their spare time is blasting big space bugs and bigger spaceships, robots and other space beasties all day and night. Yes, your inner eight-year old kaiju fan will be wholly pleased, but don’t expect this to be an easy ride at all.

Getting these as physical copies (thanks Xseed!) is going to make a lot of EDF fans happier because it’s something they’ve desired with every game in the series and Xseed kept its ear to the ground and made it happen. As for the EDF 4.1 blooper reel below… er, well… I’ll give Xseed a pass on that one because the game is so much fun that a little comic relief won’t hurt it one bit.

Anyway, go get some finger exercises in and ask the boss for some time off in December. Once these games land in stores and on PSN, you’re not going anywhere for a while.

Vendetta: Curse of Raven’s Cry: Arr, Yeah – It’s Not Dead In The Water

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News3Remember a game called Raven’s Cry that was supposed to pop up a while back on PC and consoles? Well, it sort of did (on PC) but didn’t survive the harsh critical waters thanks to a number of issues. Reality Pump Studios moon-walked off the plank it was on, went back to the drawing board and has polished up their open world pirate RPG to what looks like a tasty finish.

The newly titled Vendetta: Curse of Ravens Cry has a release date of November 20 (hey, tomorrow!) looms on the horizon for Mac, Linux and SteamOS in both Standard and Digital Deluxe Editions for users who want their games in that particular format. Console and packaged retail versions of the game will arrive sometime during Q1 2016, but don’t expect to see this on the PS3 or Xbox 360 at all as those “old” systems have of late been consigned to Davey Jones’ locker when it comes to getting new releases, arrrr!

Five screens below and publisher TopWare Interactive has just put up a nice interactive map of the places you’ll go on your ship with your not so jolly crew. As far as I can tell, there are no whales to deal with in the game, but as you can see, Here There Be Tygers… er, leopards. That screen is kind of amusing because it looks as if both that feline and that pirate are thinking of that new coat they’re going to be wearing when the smoke clears.


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As to the seaworthiness of Vendetta, it’s probably safe to say that Reality Pump has set the ship righter that it’s previusly been, but the proof will be in the parrot pudding starting tomorrow.

In The Heart Of The Sea: One Pissy Whale = Low Sea Men Count

Hmmm. On one hand, I don’t want to see In The Heart of the Sea in a theater because that means going in with people who know nothing about the true story of the whaling ship Essex and what happened to it and its crew sitting down and expecting some sort of action movie version of Moby Dick, a book that to some is nearly incomprehensible by modern standards. I’m betting myself a shiny new penny that most of the short attention spanners also don’t remember The Perfect Storm and its bleak (but somewhat too heroic to be plausible) finale that went for uplifting (in more ways than one, ha!) just so audiences would leave the theater in a somewhat more together condition and not drowning in all those salty tears.

On the other hand, it’s all that expensive CG work in the trailer and nothing at all in the commercials about the more horrifying aftermath where bad navigational decisions led to the Essex survivors forced to choose a little bit of cannibalism after weeks at sea that bugs me even more. Although I do wonder if fresh leg of man is safer than a movie theater hot dog globbed with chili and unnaturally orange “cheez”. Yeah, that’s a happy holiday film (and perfect Oscar bait) for your consideration, right?
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Let’s Play “I’d Rather Fight A Hydra Than…”

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Let’s see now: if I small world this little game and not think of current events beyond my control, “…deal with more dopey computer issues!” is the first thing that comes to my mind. Yep, still having some issues with a few things. But not for long. While that hydra above (courtesy of Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen which is finally making its way to PC in January 2016, thank you much Capcom!) is confident it will win because it’s been reading old issues of Strange Tales for those Nick Fury stories (“Hail Hydra! Cut off one head and two more will take its place!”), it’s going down for the count so one of those heads can get transported to Gran Soren as a gift for the somewhat unbalanced Duke who resides in the castle there.

I’m sure that’s a metaphor for something, but I need to pop up this post before my laptop craps out and blue screens me again. It’s down to twice a day, though… so that’s “good”. I guess. Back in a bit or sooner as my backlog is lightening somewhat, but I do need to tackle posting a bunch of stuff with my fingers crossed that it gets up without any rebooting needed.

Star Wars Episode VII Seems Even Cooler in Japan

Let’s see now… This:

Versus this:

Both are great trailers, but I give the edge to the Japanese edit for its slightly more spoiler-iffic moments. Um, that is all (for now) as I prefer to wait until the movie is actually out before judging anything else.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Final Cut: No It’s Not Deja Vu – It’s Finally Coming Out

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It looks as if the wait is just about over as NeoCore Games is finally getting its beta-tested, gamer approved version of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing: Final Cut out and about to put the bite on your Steam Wallet on November 5. There are three ways to get the game, but you need choose only one. If you’ve already bought the first three chapters, Final Cut will unlock automatically and you can download it once it’s up. If you haven’t bought the trilogy yet and want to play them or just own separate downloads, you can (and should!) grab The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Anthology from Steam, which also unlocks Final Cut for free. Even better, Anthology is going to be on sale for a limited time for 66% off ($25.49), AND you’ll get every drop of DLC from the three games, a FREE copy of Deathtrap, the tower defense game that will make you like tower defense games again.

The third way to get the game is to buy The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing Final Cut itself for $44.99, which nets you one download with the trilogy and the Final Cut content that includes a new endgame and plenty of other cool stuff. I’ll leave it to you to flip that coin and decide what’s what. Me, I need to go clear out some space on my hard drive and figure out how to get a lot more time to dive into this one. It’ll get played to death, fear not.

Battlezone Trailer: Rebellion’s Newest Makes Me Feel Very Old

As someone who spent plenty of time in the arcades and at home playing the original Battlezone and its Atari 2600 port respectively and later the pretty awesome PC game and the not so awesome looking but still enjoyable N64 version, this newest take on the classic makes my bones ache. It sure looks spectacular and fast as can be, but the more Tron-like vibe and gaudy color scheme is very mildly rubbing me the wrong way. But that’s solely because I haven’t played the game yet. Sometimes it takes getting used to a visual style choice to fully enjoy a reboot, but I’m not going to be one of those internet whiners ranting about cosmetics. I trust veteran developer Rebellion enough that I feel comfortable that once I have my paws wrapped around a controller (and VR or no VR), I’ll be grinning nostalgically and having to have someone drag me away from the game at some point.

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Word has it that Rebellion may also be redoing the late 90’s PC game as well, which would be excellent if they went with a more “realistic” look to that one while adding elements from their popular Sniper Elite series. Hopefully, we’ll also see this on the Vita either as a Cross Play/Cross Buy or standalone solo and multiplayer game just because the handheld needs a bonafide smash hit. Tanks are ALWAYS awesome and there aren’t any decent portable games with them these days. Eh, we’ll see as usual. Oh, if someone at Atari isn’t looking at either Star Raiders or Space Lords as possible future reboots, they need to start doing just that. Technology has finally made making even more definitive versions of both classics possible and on multiple platforms as that. Get on it, people – call me if you need some ideas. I work cheap (but not free!).

Earth Defense Force 4.1: Xseed Reminds You Your Holiday Season Will Be A Total Blast


Sandlot, I just LOVE what you’ve done with the PS4 hardware. The Japanese developer’s first game for the console, Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair isn’t just a simple “port” of their last game at all. New enemies, missions and gear are here for EDF veterans to play around with and the MUCH smoother frame rate (okay, 60fps dipping to 30 at chaotic times is a great thing for the series) and all new lighting effects make the game finally up to snuff with modern action games. Granted, the gameplay is still the beautiful old-school tough it needs to be on the higher difficulty levels. But now we old-timers won’t have to listen to newbies gargling out complaints about the major slowdown and choppiness or other issues the series was known for in previous installments.


My sole complaint with the game is the ESRB rating. Some parents won’t buy “M” rated games for the brood because they just don’t (cue remembrances of them falling for little Johnny sneaking Grand Theft Auto game on the holiday gift list that one time, oops!). But what’s here is a crazy amount of fun whether played solo or online with friends and yep, family. Anyway, don’t let a bit of bug blood and an occasional PG-13 swear keep you from this one. That well over 80 hours of giant bug/lizard/robot/spaceship blasting you’ll be doing will help get the family in shape for any space alien invasion. And if they happen to be friendly aliens… well, we can at least hope they like videogames about fantastic impossibilities such as this game shows off sowell.