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Archive for December, 2008

God Bless You Itunes!

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Not only did I find “Let’s Go To The Mall” by Robin Sparkles…

…but I also found a TWENTY MINUTE song called “Ted Mosby is a Jerk.”

Yay Wednesday

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Monday and Tuesday I was down with a Migraine so I was doing little else but the bare necessities to get by.

I learned that the age old steriotype of Canadians being afraid of the dark is actually true in speaking with Mike O’Reilly (One of my DHGF staffers) last night, so who knew?

On the LJ front, the current reaction to the OpenID debacle is “We don’t know and Brad Fitz’ new project can fuck itself” so I guess that’s peristroka for you. On the other hand the land of people who cheer to see Apollo Creed die decided to give me LJ privlidges back. Alas, my old one has been purged and I have no plans to ever go back to LJ save to read friends, so it’s a bit after the fact. Still, out of the 150 people I had on the openID F-list I’ve only been able to remember 60 of them (Along with help from you guys), so drop me a comment so I can re-add you. Huzzah.

Finishing up the Strong Bad review. After that it’s the review of the very last Sega Dreamcast game that hit 11/01/2008.

Publishers sent me 11 games to review Tuesday night. Eleven. In one day. Thank god for a large staff where I’ll be bringing in Ian and Pris’ friend for the new year. Go free games like M&M Adventures and Bigfoot Collision Challenge. Wait…

I’m still not feeling well but it can’t be helped.

I recieved an interesting job offer last night. We’ll see what happens with it. It’s a very well paying freelance writer/consultant gig. Can’t go wrong with that.

Holiday presents are all purchased. Yay.

My dad is really trying to get me to move back to the Midwest. This week he sent me an apartment finder for…Fargo/Moorhead. Okay then. I’ll admit the thought of a 3 bedroom apartment for $600 with all utilities paid, a community indoor pool and exercise facility is tempting, especially when moving to North Dakota nets you no taxes for the first three years you live there but still…I think I’d choose Minneapolis first.

Review #240

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

All Star Cheer Squad
Developer: Gorilla Games
Publisher; THQ
Genre: Simulation
Release Date: 11/24/2008

Cheerleading is something I never expected to do in any way shape or form. Sure I’ve dated some cheerleaders in my day and I’ve seen the first Bring It On!, but that’s as close as I’ve come to this sport.

And yes, it is a sport. As you probably know there are national competitions and it takes a great deal of flexibility, spot-on reflexes and endurance to be on one of those nationally prominent teams that get featured on ESPN2 or what have you.

So why am I reviewing this? Well, THQ sent it to us as a review copy and unlike other sites that only review the so-called “A Level” games, we here at Diehard GameFAN review everything that comes our way. Every game is treated equally until we’ve played. Second, I mistakenly thought I was the only guy on staff who owns a balance board, having used it to play through the horribly flawed Wii Fit and the always funny Raving Rabbids TV Party. I might as well break out my balance board for the third time before shuttering it back into mothballs, right?

So did I two, four, six, eight appreciate All Star Cheer Squad, or did this game make me want to binge and purge and then write on the Livejournal about how my significant other just doesn’t understand me in between song lyric posts?
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For friends with LJ’s

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Reply to this in the RSS (or here) with your Lj handle so I can readd you while LJ tries to figure out the disconnect between OpenID and their new system validation thingie.

Ah Livejournal, you never cease to suck

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

So, in order to comment to my friend’s LJ and the RSS feed of my blog over there, I use MyopenID. MyOpenID is made by Brad Fitz, the creator of LJ back in the days when it didn’t suck massive dick.

For a long time LJ recognized MyOpenID, but it also recognized it as anonymous posting so I would have to tell friends to allow anonymous comments so I could reply.

Well sometime this week appears they started to allow MyOpenId to not count as normal comments. In order to do so you have to set and validate your email address. Sounds simple, right?

Well as soon as I did that, my account got suspended. Ho ho ho. It’s like the Sean Manchester stalking incident all over again. Alas. It appears to be a bug in the validate system as this has happened to a few other people I know that have not had the issues with LJ I have so we’ll see.

At worst I’ll just get a new LJ/openID account. Just a head’s up to all of you.

EDIT: diehardgamefan.myopenid.com is my new one while LJ tries to figure out their coding error.

Review #239

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

A Vampyre Story
Developer: Autumn Moon Entertainment
Publisher: The Adventure Company
Genre: Adventure
Release Date: 12/02/2008

ABOUT. FREAKING. TIME. Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for this game to be released? YEARS! Years, I tell you! But all the delays are over. All those minute little pushbacks playing on the cracks in my sanity are no more. A Vampyre Story is finally out.

If you’d like some back history about this game, the delays and how AVS was made by the last remnants of Lucasarts’ once amazing Adventure game dev team, you can check out My interview with Ben Tiller. Needless to say though, adventure gamer fans have been foaming at the mouth for this game’s release. The art style, the promised return to high comedy in gaming, and most of all high quality intellectually stimulating (and yet hilarious) puzzles. All these are things fans of the ol’ point n’ click genre have been waiting for.

Now did we get it? That’s the question. I won’t deny this has been the game I have been waiting for over all others in 2008. Just from the trailer, clips, and the demo I was SURE this was going to be my GAME OF THE YEAR. So it may surprise you to learn that although I found it to be the funniest and wittiest video game I think I’ve ever played, it is neither my GOTY nor even my GOTY for the adventure genre. That goes to The Lost Crown followed shortly by the ugly but brilliant Theresia. So what happened to make me the bastion of, “Games need to stop being so serious. Gamers need to stop taking themselves and their entertainment so seriously” prefer two very dark and ominous games over an obvious tribute to the greatest era in adventure gaming history? Read on my intrepid companions, read on…
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Review #238

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Personal Trainer: Cooking
Developer: Nintendo Touch Generations
Publisher: Nintendo of America
Genre: Cookbook
Release Date: 11/24/2008

As 2008 winds to a close, we have seen an odd trend with the DS. The system is loaded with cookbooks. As a person who used to use cooking as a massive stress reliever and way to be artistic since I can’t draw or paint like Bob Ross, I’ve really enjoyed this trend. There’s only one problem – all of these cookbooks have been connected to mediocre (at best) games. Hell’s Kitchen and What’s Cooking w/ Jaime Oliver? No thank you, but at least the cookbooks are well done.

So enter Nintendo with Cooking Guide: Can’t Decide What To Eat? or as it has been re-named here in the States, Personal Trainer: Cooking. PT:C is a pure cookbook featuring nearly 250 recipes from around the world. You’ve seen the commercial with Lisa Kudrow using it to cook with her niece and the game is already out of stock in most places. I picked this up on Cyber Monday for a mere nine dollars. How could I not?

As this is not truly a video game, but a pure digital cookbook, we can’t truly review it as such. This is not like reviewing the differences between say a normal book, and a version that can be downloaded to Amazon’s Kindle. This is Nintendo taking a huge step and creating the first true non-game for the DS. Let’s see how it fares when reviewed by a person who had a weekly cooking column for two years and has reviewed more video games than sanity should allow.
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Monday

Monday, December 8th, 2008

And another week begins. I don’t know what it is, but I am all tapped out emotionally as of late. Not sad or angry - just apathetic towards everything. Maybe it’s Winter. Maybe it’s just that “Oh my god, I’ve been doing the same thing for a year now and I need a chance” mental state I get in. I’m not good at doing things for long periods of time, including relationships. Generally I would spend this time doing the resume thing, but DHGF is so busy that I can’t do my usual level of relief when I get this closed in.

Lots to do at work. Lots of freelance writing. Lots of game editing. Little to no free time. I do have 12th Night coming up on Boxing Day. That should be a lot of fun. I’m glad to be getting back in the swing of attending the theatre.

It snowed for the first time Saturday. Well, that stuck around anyway. It was gone by Sunday Morning but still, brrrr! Snow bad! Cold bad!

Review #237

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

What’s Cooking: Jaime Oliver
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Genre: Cooking
Release Date: 10/21/2008

When one writes critiques for a while, you become known for specific genres and franchises. In my case I’m historically been the guy you turn to for Shoot ‘Em Ups, 2-D Fighters, Tactical RPG’s and Pokemon. Recently I appear to have picked up two new genres: Adventure gaming and Cooking simulations. This is probably because of my background as a cooking columnist, but this year I’ve already written critiques on Hell’s Kitchen and Gourmet Chef. Now I’m turning my attention to yet another cooking game based off a Celebrity Chef. Thankfully it’s not that douchebag Guy Fieri. Nope, it’s England’s own Jamie Oliver. Now I know what the average reader is thinking. “Ew, British cooking. That’s a torture not even fit for Guantanamo.”, and as an ex-resident of the British Isles, I do concur with that statement, but Mr. Oliver is indeed an exception. He’s an excellent cook who has really brought the focus away from crud like Bubble and Squeak in Wow-Wow sauce, savory pies and baked beans on toast with a side of dripping. As the game was a mere $9.90 on Black Friday, I decided to pick this up and give it a whirl since December is generally a slow time for gaming content.

The only question here is, can What’s Cooking play as well as Jaime Oliver cooks.
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Review #236

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

Valkyria Chronicles
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Sega WOW
Genre: Turn Based Strategy
Release Date: 11/04/2008

It’s taken me forever to review this game. There have been several reasons as to why. The first is that I wanted to really crank down on this and see how deep the game in. It’s hard to really review an RPG in a timely fashion due to the length, and with VC I definitely wanted to give a thorough review rather than be the first guy on the block to have theirs up. The second reason is well, I was constantly hit with other games to review and it’s easier to beat and review say Mortal Kombat Vs. DCU or Castlevania Judgment than an RPG.

Now here’s the funny. I generally dislike war based games. I like my electronic entertainment to be out of the realm of reality, so games like Advance Wars or the Medal of Honour series never did it for. I also tend to really dislike Real Time Strategies, although there have been exceptions like the nigh perfect Dragon Force or the tongue in cheek Overlord. So knowing that Valkyria Chronicles was a WWII-esque real time strategy with some RPG elements had me a bit pessimistic. That and the fact I haven’t really found a Sega title to be amazing since Panzer Dragoon Orta (Although the Samba De Amigo and HOtD ports on the Wii were fun) had me even more in a negative state of mind when I received my review copy in the mail.

But lo and behold, this is why I always make my staff play games outside their comfort zone, because not only is this the best game Sega has but out since 2003, but it’s getting the highest score I’ve given a game in four years and two months. (The last game to get this high a ranking from me was Bubble Bobble Old & New) This is easily my game of the year as it has restored both my faith in Sega and the PS3. Let’s take a look at why this game won my heart this year.
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