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Game on!

Well, I'm hauling the entire crew of MN Forhans to WI this weekend for Midwest Gaming Classic. I will be a vendor at the show as I have in the past, but it's been 7 years since I last attended! Time flies, you know...

You can learn more about the gaming goodness here:

http://midwestgamingclassic.com

Some of the organizers of this show even attend JagFest '99 which I organized nearly 10 (!) years ago in Rochester!

I know my older boys will love the show; they have never been to these shows at an age where they can appreciate all the games.

Smile

Gaming Headsets

I have no exterior game speakers beyond the cruddy ones in one of my monitors.  So, I don't mind spending some extra money if I can get good quality. The headset, which is a  headphone with a microphone, is needed for times when I play games with others -- like when Shannon talks me into a hot game of Company of Heroes.

 

I was very happy with my last headset, the Razer Piranha.  I got it on sale at $69.95, and was quite pleased overall.  The sound seemed good and the fit was comfortable.  My main problems were twofold:  the third cord, a USB-only was merely for lighting the headset, was just an extra wire hanging around for me.  The other was the annoying ease of unintentionally muting the microphone.  I believe Shannon is also having problems with his microphone itself.  Unfortunately for me, while pulling out my computer from its cubbyhole, the cord got caught and microphone no longer works.  Best Buy no longer carried the Piranha locally, so I looked for another set.

 

After reading a few reviews, I decided on the slightly more expensive Plantronics Gamecom 777.

 

 read more »

Atari Modern Classics!

Since we have an Atari (Jaguar/Lynx) producer in our fold, this is a great "what if" Carl were to develop for it and port modern games over to the 2600:

 

Atari Modern Classics.

Check out the Halo3 box.

Age of Conan

As this is "the conans" and we discuss games, I would be remiss not to mention a new MMO:  Age of Conan.

 

Age of Conan is, of course, based off the famous books and movies.  Some of you may even recall Carl playing a Play by Mail Conan game, where he would receive a letter then make his moves and email it off to places unknown. 

I was in on a very short beta test.  I wish I could have seen more, but I think it warrants a second look.  What I saw of the world is one which is very rich.

 

Gamespot is running a contest to give away 15,000 beta testing keys.  So, if you have the interest in testing it, head on over and sign up.  They announce winners on the 16th, so I'd suggest doing it ASAP.  No guarantees any of us will get in, but may be worth the chance. Note, too, it's a beta --which means there could be unforeseen problems.  It's still a chance to check out a game for free, though!  

Caveat Emptor?

OK, so I've gotten far weirder and far more nefarious email offering money. This one was for real, and is in reference to the game contest for which I made some art . The contest ended on March 1st.

 

The bottom line is that they've canceled the contest "due to a lack of participation." The only reason I joined in the first place was because the deadline originally was two weeks and no one else had apparently joined. I spent a good 80 hours or more of professional work on a very nice game level, so it wasn't free money. They soon stretched that deadline to over two months. And now, six days after the contest ended, they've called it off.

 

They offered a $500 consolation prize, which is a far cry from the $2500 that was promised to the winner. On one side, a bird in the hand is definitely something to consider. On the other side, it ticks me off that a company like Turbo Squid is doing this.

 

Caveat Emptor.

 

-Eric

The Shape of Things to Come

For you video game-hungry bros out there, I think you'll like this video. It comes from last week'sGame Developer Conference and is a tech demo of the latest version of the Unreal 3 engine -- the earlier version of which brought us Gears of War.

 

Since I'm in this type of biz, I totally geeked-out and wished I could have this tech to play with right now. Unfortunately, the price tag is about five zeros out of my league. As gamers, it's a very cool preview of things to come: Soft-body modeling (makes things like a "Blob" or Jell-o), realistic interaction with water, materials which break apart like their real-life counterparts, large crowds, ambient occlusion (fakes shadowing under places that are almost always dark, like armpits, under ledges, etc) and more. Very, very cool technology.

 

Watch the presentation here: http://www.gametrailers.com/player/30825.html

XBLA Undertow mini-review

So I finally played some Undertow over the last couple days... seems like a pretty nifty little game, with some very nice graphic effects. I enjoy "territories" game types (ala Halo 3), so this one is mostly right up my alley. Mostly.

 

Pros:

1. Really nice graphics

2. Fast and furious gameplay

3. Character selection and upgrade

4. Cool powerups

5. Multiple ways to traverse the map

 

Cons:

1. I have a really hard time figuring out how to switch my character in the base

2. Do I have any control over how often my teammates spawn, where they spawn, and what kind of characters they are?

3. Very limited life, and no way to ram people, so the bigger ships seem almost useless.

4. No real strategy for the solo game; it's just jump in guns-a-blazin'. And why don't my teammates protect our bases more? It's not like my one character can be everywhere at once.

5. Could the story mode have any more cheese in the cut scenes?

 

Summary:

 I like the game, and would really enjoy playing multiplayer to see if it improves some of the strategy limitations. I got mine free on XBLA so it's a great value overall, but would I have paid for it? Hard to say.

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