Archives For Gaming

video-game-podcast

This is an updated version of the earlier ‘Best Video Game Podcast’ post I made on April 18, 2008. I have listened to, and abandoned, many video game-related podcasts during that time. Those listed below, ordered by preference, have survived the culling and, with one exception, are recommended without hesitation. At the bottom I list the deadpool – formerly good podcasts that are now deceased or reincarnated.

1. Listen Up – formerly The 1Up Yours Podcast:

listen up podcast iconListen Up is the successor to the 1Up Yours Podcast. Oddly, the name was changed after 1UP.com was purchased by UGO Networks in January 2009, but the format and content is largely the same. It ‘airs’ Friday evenings. The show is still hosted by Host Garnett Lee, but most of the former cast (who still make guest appearances) have moved on to other things: Luke Smith – now with the Bungie podcast; Bryan Intihar -now with Insomniac Games; Dan ‘Shoe’ Hsu – now on permanent vacation; John Davison now at what they play; and Shane Bettenhausen, now Director of Business Development at Ignition Entertainment. Despite the constant cast changes, Garnet continues to provide an interesting set of revolving guests that consistently provide an entertaining and informative podcast week-in and week-out. My original 1Up Yours criticism still remains – the show is often too long and the interesting content (ie: the news) is usually held back to the the end. Not quite as good as it was when the old cast was there, but still the best video game podcast out there.

2. CO-OP – formerly The 1Up Show (video) Podcast:

co-op podcast iconThe CO-OP podcast (pictured above), continues on where the cancelled The 1Up Show left off. It shares the same cast and terrific production crew. It’s still my favorite video podcast. It provides a comprehensive set of visual video game previews and reviews. It also features interviews with industry luminaries and provides trade show coverage. If you want to watch a video game before purchase, this  is the best place to do it. This video podcast comes in small and large sizes (3x the size) suitable for viewing on the iPhone/iTouch and AppleTV respectively.

3. Bungie Studios Podcast:

Bungie Podcast logo When Luke Smith abandoned the 1Up Yours podcast to become Bungie’s pool boy, a Bungie podcast became inevitable. This ‘insider’ podcast was launched just prior to Halo 3’s launch in September 2007. While the podcast’s frequency is irregular (sometimes months go by between episodes), it is almost always interesting. The podcast features ‘behind the scenes’ discussions with everyone at Bungie from level designers, graphic artists to Marty O’Donnell (music). Even for non-Halo fans, this is a very interesting podcast given its unique ‘insider’ perspective.

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A periodic roundup of relevant news… from our friends at Last100:

netflix-ps3-job

Netflix prepping PlayStation 3 and Wii support suggests job ad
Proof that Netflix is serious about widening support beyond the XBox 360 emerged after a recent job advertisement on Monster.com was spotted seeking a lead engineer responsible for the company’s “gaming platforms” – plural.

Nokia’s DLNA goodness – N85 to PS3 streaming
I decided to put the N85’s DLNA support to the test by attempting to stream music, photos and videos stored on the phone to a PlayStation 3. And, perhaps surprisingly, it was all pretty straight forward.

It’s alive! TechCrunch’s Internet tablet still has a pulse

The resistive touch screen has been ditched for a more finger-friendly capacitive one, as has the Via chip, being replaced by Intel’s Atom. Other than that, much remains the same, albeit in a more refined design.

7digtal powers MP3 downloads on AOL’s Winamp
7digital has announced a partnership with AOL to integrate its music download store with AOL’s popular Windows-based music player Winamp, following similar deals with Spotify and Songbird.

It looks like Nintendo wants to join the online video content party. They plan on launching a video service sometime next year and will only air “cartoons and other entertainment content” exclusive to the Nintendo service. Although a pricing model has not been announced, news report claim some offerings will be premium while others free but ad supported.

I’ve never been a huge fan of video via gaming systems even with the success of XBox 360 and PS3 video streaming. Throwing the Wii into the mix seems kind of silly when the video output is so minimal. but if they focus on cartoons, television and SD quality movies and keep it cheap enough it might be a draw for the multitudes of young Wii owners.

Check out more of Brent’s reflections on tech, gadgets, software and media at Geek Tonic.

Hot Donkey

Considering how much I’ve written about DVD kiosks, some may be surprised that I recently made my first Redbox DVD rental. I was at the grocery store last week and saw that the kiosk offered the most recent Indiana Jones movie. Indiana Jones has always been a favorite of mine, so on an impulse I rented the DVD. I probably would have rented from Redbox sooner, but between TiVo, Netflix and Internet movies and TV shows, I’ve had no shortage of content and couldn’t justify spending even a measly buck.

The entire rental process was very easy and only reinforced my belief that Redbox will be wildly successful with their business model. In fact, I’ve also noticed that 7-11 has even begun testing Redbox at their stores. I’m not sure if it was the convenience of using a machine instead of dealing with long lines and surly video store clerks or the convenience of being able to make a rental as I was finishing up my grocery shopping, but now that I’ve gotten a taste, I’m sure that I’ll be back.

While it would be hard to improve on the kiosk experience, in thinking about my own entertainment needs, I realized that there is one area of the kiosk market that is still being ignored. When it comes to DVDs, there have been a number of firms who’ve thrown their hat into the kiosk ring, but so far we haven’t seen anyone introduce a kiosk system that dispenses video games.

Continue Reading…

It’s time to create a whole new category for the Wii phenomena. Holy cow– more than 2 million in sales in North America in November is crazy. Yet, to this day there still isn’t a single game on the Wii I’d want to play – not one. Yet you can’t deny those numbers. Video game industry sales are UP 10% year over year. Terrific given the economic downturn.

I was happy to see the 360 outsell the PS3 and PSP combined. Though I’m starting to worry about the PS3’s long-term prospects given its continued poor results. Despite the industry upturn, the PS3’s sale’s numbers are lower than its November 2007 numbers. The PS2 results show its time is coming to an end. I wonder how many months before Sony kills it? But, it still hasn’t reached the $99 price point. Perhaps it can grasp a few more months of breath with a price drop before Sony puts it out of its misery.

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cod-waw-1

Over the weekend, Activision began emailing CallofDuty.com members beta invitations to World at War, the latest Call of Duty installment. World at War trades in CoD4’s modern warfare for a return to a World War II backdrop. The beta is currently limited to Xbox 360 online play, with PC beta invites to follow. PS3 owners will just have to wait for the official launch next month. Which is partially why I corrected a recent error in judgment… and picked up a replacement Xbox.

CoD4 veterans will have no problem picking up the World at War controls – muscle memory will serve you, as it did me. Though developed by Treyarch, WaW utilizes the engine introduced by Infinity Ward with CoD4. So, essentially, the gameplay and controls are quite similar. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

While only a few maps are available thus far, I really like what I see. In fact, visuals look somewhat better… including shimmering water you can wade through, weaponized flame effects, and graphic fatalities. (This isn’t for children.) Artillery strikes replace bombing runs at five kills and packs of dogs (?!) replace the seven kill helicopter support of CoD4. While the dogs seemed a bit odd at first, they force combatants to continue moving – compared to camping out helicopter fire. Though the biggest change, taking a page from the Battlefield franchise, are drivable vehicles. It’s not yet clear how this will impact multiplayer balance… It requires several strikes from explosive weapons to take out a tank, though they’re unable to steamroll soldiers.

Call of Duty 4 was one of my all-time favorites games, and World at War looks to be more of the same good stuff. Check out the beta manual (PDF), watch the videos at IGN, and if Activision happens to provide any shareable invites, I’ll be sure to offer them up.

Below are the fall 2008 video game releases that I’m most looking forward to:

Max Payne 3 – Only Rumoured, but the Mark Walberg movie comes out Oct 17. Max Payne 1 and 2 were two of my all-time favourite games. (Oct 17?)
LittleBigPlanet (PS3) – Who isn’t looking forward to this one? (Oct 21)
Resistance 2 (PS3) – I enjoyed Resistance 1 much more than I expected. (Nov 4)
Gears of War 2 (360)– What’s not to love? Can’t have too many COGs. (Nov 7)
Mirror’s Edge – Looks like pure platforming fun like Crackdown was. (Nov 11)
Tomb Raider: Underworld – I hope they finally get frame rate issues resolved, every Tomb Raider to date has made me nauseous within a half hour. (Nov 18)
Prince of Persia 2008 – This one is looking like its getting back to its excellent PoP: Sands of Time roots. I wasn’t a fan of the intervening PoPs. (Dec 2)

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ZNF ‘Round The Web

Dave Zatz —  September 26, 2008

Leaving comments across the blogosphere…

XBox Live Video Store – where’s all the content?
There’s plenty of content here in the US, though as you observed it’s kinda of random – but that’s not limited to the Xbox. The bigger problem is presentation. It’s just long lists of genres. Again, Microsoft isn’t the only one with this problem. At least the Marketplace is better designed for the 10′ interface, whereas I find the PS3 more computer-like – things are too small from the couch.

Is Online Gaming Creating Citizens or Monsters?
Davis, in some of the ZNF comments and the TCF I’ve seen at least one or two mentions of adult gaming groups – I assume it would limit some of the silliness. I traded in my Xbox for a PS3 and the Xbox at least allowed me to rate asses and in extreme cases report them. No such feature on the PS3 as far as I can tell. I’ve been playing CoD4 and SOCOM withOUT my headset – less community feel, but less stupid people.

Lenovo IdeaPad S10 netbook reviewed
Agreed, it does look sharp. But after Laptop’s article, I just canceled my (delayed) order. I can live with the battery life, but the reason I’m getting a 10″ screen was for the larger keyboard. “Cramped” doesn’t work for me. Guess I’ll be keeping an eye out for deals on a 6 cell Eee 1000H or MSI Wind. Unless Apple does something crazy in the next few weeks…

MacBook Pros, what to expect, when
16″ and 18″ screens are non-standard and would boost production costs – unless it’s a start of a new trend. WiMax? Forget it – they’d need to get in bed with Sprint. If there’s any 3G or 4G, it’d be more likely they’d expand their relationship with AT&T. For the most part we’re all just educated guessing or regurgitating unsubstantiated rumors. Time will tell…

Seven Social Media Consultants That Deliver Tangible Value

Some of the best results are achieved by consultants/agencies largely invisible to the echochamber. Perhaps that’s how it should be – I know we’re all preaching transparancy, but at the end of the day it’s about the client not the consultant.