Keyboards for Rock Band 3?

Harmonix released a teaser picture for it’s upcoming Rock Band 3.  Notice the new icon including a keyboard?  Hmmm….sounds interesting and makes perfect sense.  I figured it was only a matter of time before this happened, but I wonder how many instruments can actually be plugged in at any given time?  With my current RB 1 & 2 on my 360 the USB peripheral allows for upto 4 devices, but then again, the 360 has anotehr USB port on ther front as well, so maybe 5 devices isn’t a stretch afterall.

But also notice the microphone icon….it has multiple mics….Is it possible we’ll be singing harmony ala Beatles?  I guess we’ll find out more details come mid June when E3 2010 drops.

I’m looking forward to RB3, although my friends and I have’t finished RB1 or 2 yet.  Not sure why as we always have a blast playing.  It’s just been getting harder and harder to round us all up.

In other music gaming news, I’ve almost completed DJ Hero on medium.  I have no fricken idea how people are scoring 5 stars on Hard or Expert modes.  Now that I’m ending my tour on medium, I just think how hard my hand/eye cooridination was on a few beats/sonsg in the Vinyl Cuts section, especially with the cross fader.   Here’s hoping that Activision throws a few more songs our way before DJ Hero 2 drops as well.  I understand the game didn’t deliver the sales numbers they were hoping for this past holiday season, but come on…the game did retail for over $120 on debut during a recession and just after The Beatles and sucky Tony Hawk’s Ride dropped.  Tough market to compete in, and thus they didn’t follow up with DLC support for months.  It was months before a second set of DLC was released after the initial offerings.  That’s just not cool when RB & Harmonix are pumping out tracks on a weekly basis.

Games I’m currently working on: Dragon Age Origins, Assassins Creed II, Modern Warfare 2, and beleive it or not, I still have an un-opened copy of Mass Effect 2.  Haven’t even had time to play Tiger Woods 2010, let alone think about Red Dead Redemption, Alan Wake, Splinter Cell: Conviction, and Borderlands.  By the time I get to those, hopefully the price will drop on all of these to $29.99-$39.99

And Natal?  I can’t even think about that right now.  Though I am curious to any news of upcoming games for it.  I think it has a ton of potential, but I’m just really scared that there may be a lot of shovelware crap like the Wii.

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Just when you thought WoW gaming gear couldn’t get more geeky

$160 for a new headset?

Yup, the clowns over at Creative think it’s just about time to take your hard earned paper route money for their over the top ‘l33t’ headphones.  And you thought we were in a recession!?!

So what does $160 in dedicated WoW headphones get you other than repelling any chance your gonna get laid by your girlfriend (unless she’s an emo Blood-elf herself)? 

Supposedly you can mod the translucent lens on the earcups in either Alliance or Horde motifs straight out of the box (like anyone cares), and there are LEDs which are programmable in 16 million color combinations via an ingame setup….but then I ask, “Who the hell is gonna see this anyway?”

There is a noice-cancelling mic that is also detachable and the headset itself is wireless and offers THX TruStudio sound and is rechargeable via USB.  There’s even a voice modulation element that can change your ingame voice to sound like various races/factions in the game.  Female Orc?  Male Tauren?  Ultra gay?  Oh, and what about the additional detailing including Frostmourne runes around the earcup?

But $160?  Well, if you have money to burn and you must have, go over to the Creative homepage and get your preorder on now.  Loser.

Personal gaming journal #5

It’s been a really long time since I did any updates on the games I enjoy playing, so I’ll just give a quick synopsis of where I’m getting my feet wet again.  That is to say, I’m going a little retro lately, digging out some of my older 360 games, and even a much older PC game.  Why?  Well, I just can’t justify all the new $60 games these days and I know if I wait around long enough, they’ll eventually drop in price to something a bit more attractive to the pocket.  There are just so many big titles I’d like to get my hands on, but I am definitely discovering that ‘Platinum Hits’ is where it’s at.

  • Was able to pick up Guitar Hero: Aerosmith for $29.99 a few weeks back.  I can’t say I’m a big fan of them, actually, there are a few songs of theirs I don’t like at all, but there are plenty of tolerable ones plus the addition of other artists like Joan Jett and RUN DMC make it palatable and fun.  I’m about 1/2 way done on ‘medium’ difficulty and so far have racked up quite a few gamer points.
  • 1 vs 100 (Xbox Live) – I like trivia, and this beta has been going on way too long lately, but the gameplay is addictive and when it finally goes Live (gold) to win real MS points, I’ll be all over it.  I suck at sports question though, and up until those are being asked, I surprised how well I’m doing against other players.
  • WOW – Taking a break…need to recharge my batteries, but I think the frozen north is calling my name again.
  • CoH/CoV – Also taking a break. 
  • Fallout 3 ‘The Pitt expansion’ – Pretty good expansion with a few neat weapons.  There were some tense moments with the Trogs as they have the ability to seemingly jump out of nowhere and you need to be much more aware of your ammo supply than before.  A nice diversion, but really looking forward to getting ‘Point Lookout’ DLC.
  • Saints Row 2 – Not playing as much as I’d like because of the ‘mature’ content and my daughter hanging around way too much.  Fun little sandbox version of GTA4 I picked up also for $29.99.  Looking forward to playing this again soon.
  • GTA4 – Same as above with the daughter.  Was getting back into it and finally making some progress on the game just to put it back on the shelf until I get some alone time.
  • Brothers In Arms Hell Highway – Played the demo and I really like it.  I may pick this up soon as it’s currently going for $24.99. 
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2010 – Lovin’ it.  I may give this it’s own post soon enough, it warrants it and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the content.  I jumped right into tour/career mode and working my way up.  Wind can be very frustrating to me if it’s over 15 MPH, and some holes just seem very random, but overall it takes me a good hour to play 1 round and I have some nail biting moments and get very excited when I do a fabulous shot, and very hard on myself when I shoot a crappy one.
  • Railroad Tycoon 3 – Totally retro Win 98 game I’m really getting into as well.  Graphics are a little dated at this point, but who doesn’t love playing with trains?  Deserves it’s own post as well.

Legends of Wrestlemania: Reliving my youth in demo mode.

legendsofwmSo I admit and I’m not ashamed that I ‘was’ a big professional wrestling fan.  I say ‘was’ as I really do think the story lines, characters, and mystique of the over-the-top personalities was at their best during the mid 80’s throughout the late 90’s.

While there are indeed some great personalities today (Kurt Angle, Christian Cage, Samoa Joe to name a few) the story lines and cookie-cutter appearance of many of today’s big names have lost their original luster.  With the re-branding of wrestling as ‘sports entertianment’ this last decade and a lot of focus shifting towards music tracks, firework displays, and in your face story arcs that make no sense, I have kinda drifted away from it all. 

Oh, I still read the Internet daily’s, and if there is a really good PPV coming up, I may indeed purchase it…but my regular viewings of RAW, Smackdown, ECW and TNA are way down. 

What ever happened to the slow build to feuds?  The epic story lines that would go on for months at a time that would eventually culminate in a ‘must-see’ event?  Today, wrestling story arc are generally 3-4 weeks…just enough time to the next PPV, and always seem rushed with a lot of nonsense in between.

So when Legends of Wrestlemania was announced, it piqued my interest, but after playing more recent RvS 2005/2006, I wasn’t all impressed.  My favorite wrestling games are still those by Aki/THQ for my N64, and to this day, I still have them and won’t be chucking my N64 anytime soon.  

The old WCW/NWO Nitro and WWF Wrestlemania 2000 games on cartridge were a blast at the time (taking into consideration what graphics and console power was back then), and I have fond memories of my friends and room mates really getting into back then.

After seeing some gamplay footage recently on X-Play (G4), I decided to go ahead and download the 768MB demo for my XBox 360, and I can say I was pleasantly surprised and may have to buy this afterall once released.

While only two modes were available in the demo, ‘exhibition’ and ‘relive’ match and limited to only the following characters: Andre the Giant (w/ Bobby Heenan), Hulk Hogan, Stave Austin, & The Rock, it was a nice preview and very reminiscent of the old N64 gaming controls.

Gone are the ridicuolsly complex button combinations found in the RvS series, and almost (with a few tweaks) to the old cartridge schema.  While still a bit daunting at first glance, this may promise for faster paced arcade style action for both players.

The character modeling was pretty nice.  Both Steve Austin and The Rock were dead on.  Hogan looked like he did back in 1985, and while Andre did indeed look good, his facial features looked a bit wooden.

While the in ring and surrounding graphics looked nice, I still complain about the audience graphics.  While the arenas were good replicas of their original counterparts, they seemed a bit smaller than they should be, but once again, its the audience in attendance that still needs work.  I know we buy these games for the wrestling aspect and action, but why can’t anyone seem to get the look of the crowd right?  There are still plenty of carbon copy crowdies out there as well as repetitive signs and not-so-random fan movements.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s an improvement from past installments, but still seems ‘off’.

Commenting the matches are Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, and good ‘ole Jim Ross.  After playing about 4 matches, I already noticed that the commentary was repeating and also sounding very generic.  While of course it adds to the overall experience on having color-commentating, it also seemed a tad ‘off’.

But now gameplay:  OMG…I was a kid all over again!!!  It’s like I went back in time almost 10 years, and within minutes I was immersed and laughing, jeering, and giggling like a fanboy with a smile going ear-to-ear.  My wife even though I was being ‘silly’ and laughing at me as I was enjoying the game so much.  The wrestling action seemed epic and fast, although collision detection had a few gaffs as well as the A.I. opponent (although I was playing on easy).

Many of the signature moves and mannerisms were there, and Bobby Heenan’s involvement in my match was fun to watch and a great strategy and component to work or around or use to your advantage.

While this was only a ‘demo’ and many of the screens were locked, you had a great preview of achievements you can unlock, plus tons of goodies and lots of real video footage.  I was treated to a whole vignette setting up The Rock vs Stone Cold and it was great.  By the time the match was about to begin, I had a good understanding of the overall match setup and felt somewhat invested in my character and what to root for.  Not sure how this will translate in the long run, that is watching it over and over again (thank goodness there is a ‘skip video’ option), but it was a nice way to get me pumped up for the upcoming confrontation.

Very long story short….if you liked the old N64 wrestling games and are nostalgic for bygone superstars of a bygone era, you may want to give Legends of Wrestlemania a closer look….I know I will be.

Electronic Arts update.

ea_logo1Seems like a lot of news was dropped yesterday from developer Electronic Arts:

  •  – Sims 3 is delayed until early June, 2009
  •  – Mass Effect 2 has been announced for an early 2010 date across multiple platforms (guessing that means XBox 360, PS3, and PC)
  • – Some 1000+ jobs will be cut including the closure of 12 facilities due to recent economic slow down and under performance.
  • Dead Space will be coming to the Wii.
  • Left 4 Dead has sold over 1M units world wide so far.
  • Boom Blox sequel has been announced and scheduled for a spring, 2009 release.

Delayed Dell

LG 22" 2252 LCD

LG 22

As I mentioned before, it’s been over six years since my last home PC purchase and it’s been long overdue for a new one.  I think my registry is pretty much ‘borked’ with junk…enough junk where it slows my system startup to almost a crawl these days, and good luck trying to launch Outlook Express in under 2 minutes.  I even notice with around 768 RAM, I can’t usually have more than 2 programs open at a time without the PC taking its sweet time chnaging between programs.

So I ordered my XPS630 on Aug 28 and it was supposed to ship on September 5th.  Well, it didn’t.  My new ship date was updated until September 12th which of course bummed me out.  The thing is, I cannot figure out ‘why’ the delay, unless it was related to hurricane Gustav and getting parts out to TX (where Dell’s custom assembly plant is).

I called Dell on Sunday and requested more information on the delay.  I was a bit surprised when the lady told me it was the battery.  The battery?  What battery?  I didn’t order any UPS?  She asked me if I was getting a laptop?  A laptop?  Damn, I gave her my order number and everything and clearly I ordered no laptop.  Needless to say, now I’m getting a little skeptical.

She finally found the correct order and aplogized and said they would upgrade me to next day air.

Finally my PC shipped yesterday, the 8th, and on my online account it does indeed say ‘Next Day’, however, the tracking order is Ground, and as of this morning, it’s sitting in a FedEx center still in TX with a new estimated arrival date of this Friday, the 12th.

Don’t ask.  I have no idea.  But so far, while they didn’t screw up my order, but my Dell experience this time around is about a ‘B/B-‘ if I were to grade it.

In the meantime, Best Buy put its LG LCD monitors on sale.  I couldn’t resist the sale on the 22″, so I bought one which will indeed replace my 17″ this weekend.

Here’s the specs on the LG 2252:

  • 2 ms response time.
  • 10,000:1 contrast ratio; 300cd/m brightness.
  • 1680 x 1050 resolution.
  • DVI-D w/ HDCP input along with standard VGA input.
  • 16:10 aspect ratio
  • Energy Star compliance.

So I figure this weekend will be re-intsalling WoW, CoH/CoV, Quick Books, and email.

PAX 2008 gaming coverage – part II

Just some general PAX related news:

XBox 360: Rumors continue to support a price drop coming September 5th.

Fallout 3: Bethesda promises to have some serious DLC to be released after the initial game.  Unlike Mass Effect which only saw ‘one episode’ of DLC which spanned about 90 minutes, Bethesda claims they will have multiple releases culminating in many more hours of content. Yay!

Resident Evil 5: Developer says they will be unveiling a controller scheme that will closely mimic the controsl fo Gears of War.

Halo 3: It appears there are rumors for an expansion pack possibly coming for Halo 3 as it’s been reported that at least 20 new achievements were recently spotted/leaked.

Little Big Planet: There will be a Best Buy exclusive skin that will let your ‘sack-girl’ emulate Nariko from Heavenly Sword fame.

THQ: Showed off quite a bit more of Red Faction: Guerilla multiplayer elements including ‘Team Anarchy’ and ‘Damage control’ modes.  Claims to have ‘very destructible’ environments.  Yay!

Destroy All Humans 3: Gameplay footage shown.  Takes place now in the 1970’s as opposed to the 50’s in the first two versions.