Friday, April 28, 2006 

Wii Have a Question

Now that I've gotten used to the idea of calling the Nintendo Revolution, the "Wii", I started to wonder what would be the best way to pluralize the word, "Wii?" Like, is Wii already singular and needs and "s" to make it plural? Do I walk into a gaming store and ask for "two Wiis?" "Do you have any Wiis in stock?" "When are your Wiis coming in?"

(Okay, maybe I had a bit too much fun with Wii. Let's get back on track...)

Or, does it remain "Wii" in singular and plural form? "Is Wii in stock?" "I would like to preorder two Wii."

Anyone have a clue? Personally, I think "Wii", without the "s" sounds a bit cooler. What are your thoughts?



In case you haven't heard the hubbub running rampant online, today, Nintendo announced that they have finalized a name for their upcoming next-gen gaming console, which until now has been known as the "Revolution." Now, the Revolution is known as the "Wii." (pronounced "Wee") I'll spare everyone the toilet humor that's been lighting up message boards all over gaming sites, and just get right to the point: I really don't see what the big deal is. From what I can gather, gamers all over are at odds with the name, and have reacted negatively to the name change, some calling it the "worst name for a video gaming system ever." Uhh, no, buddy. The worst name for a video game system was, and always will be the "Xbox." Of course, it's hard for people to see that because the name has grown on us as a result of years of conditioning.

Seriously, I don't see what the big deal is with the name. Call me a "weenie" (heh, heh, I couldn't help it) but, I actually kind of like it. It's definitely original, and should become part of a typical gamer's discourse over the next few months.

Check out Nintendo's page where you can see the official announcement straight off the site. Head over to Nintendo,com.

Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!! :-)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 

Currently Playing... (4/22 - 4/29)

Once again, here's djkibblesnbits with his gaming week.

So, as a result of my Xbox 360 issues, I am forced to play other games to pass the time and keep me from going "Kaboom" at finals time. (Ah, the stresses and duties of being a college student):

1) Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day: If this game had come out 12 years ago, I would've probably been like, "ewwwwwwwww." Alas, however, I'm an old fart (at least according to the 9-year olds on Xbox Live), and as a result, my tastes in gaming have changed over the years. Now, I don't mind playing a game rife with math problems, word games, IQ tests, and Sudoku. Why, you ask? Because, it's actually fun! (And, there's something to be said about a game that actually makes you feel guilty for not using your brain) Current Brain Age: 26.

2) Halo 2: Yes, the game might be over a year and a half old, but that doesn't mean that it's still not poppin', especially online. Even after all this time, there are still thousands of people playing online, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Sure, it sucks getting owned by 6-year olds, but getting killed over and over is worth scoring the ultimate kill against pre-pubescent, foul-mouthed, budding racists: The bitch slap. Hey, if their parents don't do it, SOMEONE has to!

3) Marvel vs. Capcom: I'm a huge fan of the now classic Sega Dreamcast system, and one of the best games released on the system was an arcade-perfect port of Marvel vs. Capcom. Tournaments get pretty fierce when this game is loaded.

4) Soul Caliber 2: Every once in awhile, I get the jones to play Soul Caliber 2, arguably the greatest fighting game ever made. Every single character kicks ass in this game, and it's so easy to get into, but yet incredibly hard to master. SC2 makes DOA 4 look like crap in comparison. This is one of those games that will get just about anyone amped up and ready to talk trash. (Just in case you were wondering, I play the Gamecube version exclusively)

Hope ya'll enjoy your gaming week!


360 Problems: Strike I

Being the huge Mac-head that I am, naturally, I'm skeptical of anything that the Evil Empire from Redmond comes out with. I actually go out of my way to avoid using Microsoft products. Windows? Nope. MS Office? Nuh uh. Hotmail? Just for junk mail. MSN Search? Google, please. Hell, I even avoided the Palm Treo 700 because it had Windows Mobile installed as the OS. Whenever I can, I make a conscious effort to stick it to MS; there's no reason for me to be yet another lemming in a world full of them.

However, the one thing that MS DID win me over on was their Xbox division. There are some great things happening over there, and I'm enjoying many of the products that they are releasing. Forget the rest of the company; the guys at the Xbox division "get it." They have a general idea of what gamers are looking for, and are making waves in the gaming world in order to provide it to them. The 360, which represents MS's greatest accomplishment in the gaming world thus far, is an example of MS' incredible work in gaming. The 360's interface and interconnectivity with Xbox Live makes the system a real pleasure to use and does much to foster a rich gaming community where gamers of all skill levels can duke it out (or work together, depending on the nature of the game), chat, joke around, and just chill. Sure, not all the elements are there (the gaming library, for example, while decent, is about one year away from being the system's strong point.), but judging from what's been rumored in the pipeline, MS is working hard to make sure that, one way or another, they'll get my money, regardless of my hatred for their flagship business...

Of course, we ARE talking about Microshaft, er Microsoft, and it does no one any good to trust the company blindly. Case in point: I just had to send back my 360 to Microsoft because it stopped working properly. When the 360 first came out, there were widespread reports of people having problems with their units as a result of overheating, but, as Microsoft ramped up production to meet demand, the company said that they had worked out the kinks, and were now producing improved systems that supposedly fixed the initial issues. Now, my 360 didn't have the overheating issues, but it had another issue altogether:

It forgot that it was a 360.

That's right. My Xbox 360 had an identity crisis. Pop in a 360 game, and the console would refuse to boot it, and instead, a message would appear onscreen saying to put the game into a 360 console. Huh? It IS inside of a 360 console!!!!" I tried four different games, and each of them had the same problem. Sometimes, if you turned the console on and off two or three times, it would work again, but then it would refuse to connect to Xbox Live. I gave it about a week before I decided to call Microsoft and tell them to take back their faulty console. And just when I was getting really good at Geometry Wars...

At least the phone call to customer service wasn't a drag. I was kind of expecting to be on the phone for an hour with some random guy in a call center in India, but surprisingly, I got someone from New Jersey, and after I explained the issue, he immediately put in a request to have a box shipped to me to have the system sent back for repairs. He didn't subject me to some stupid troubleshooting process. ("Is your system turned on?") Either that means that A) The guy really didn't want to be on the phone too long, B) My problem has become a common issue, or C) I explained the problem so thoroughly, that there was no other solution but to have the system sent back for repairs.

So now, I am 360-less. Then again, considering it's finals time, maybe it's not such a bad thing after all...

Saturday, April 15, 2006 

Currently Playing... (4/15 - 4/21)

Every week, the writers of PSTP will write about their gaming agendas for the past week and give you a glimpse into what's been holding their attention. This week, djkibblesnbits will kick off the section with his past gaming week.

I'm nearing the end of the semester, but that doesn't mean I don't have time for a few games here and there in between assignments. It's all about the 360 this week, as it has been for the better part of April.

1) Fight Night Rd. 3: Trying to win the middleweight belt. Currently have a 28-2 record with my created character. So far, I racked up 750 XBox Achievement points with this game. My e-penis continues to grow...

2) Condemned: Criminal Origins: I squeal like a little girl everytime I play this game. Not from being scared, but from the thrill of kicking everyone over and over again when their on the ground. BAM, bitch! A kick to the face!!!

3) Geometry Wars: I am on a quest to reach 200,000 points. I don't know how the hell people can score freaking 10 million, 12 million in this game. I'm sure with a little more practice, the doors to the million-point barrier will open.

4) The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: MUST...STAY...AWAY...FROM..THIS GAME... This is the absolute WORST game to play during finals time. Once you pop it in, it ain't coming out. (I'm talking about the game folks, the game!)

5. Call of Duty 2: I haven't had this much fun throwing grenades since, well, since I played Black.


Alive and Well

When I bought my XBox 360, I had to make a choice between either buying Tecmo's "Dead or Alive 4" or the critically acclaimed "Call of Duty 2." Basically, it came down to this decision; what makes for a better two-player game? (I couldn't afford more than two controllers) Within moments, I was driving home with my brand-new 360 and DoA 4.

(I subscribe to the theory that first-person shooters (FPS's) are incredibly wack when played with just one another person in versus mode. You definitely need at least 3 people to make things somewhat interesting. Hence, I didn't buy Call of Duty 2... at least, on THAT day...)

Now, 15 gaming hours later, and well, it's been a decent experience. Basically, if you've already played Dead or Alive 3 (or the superior "Ultimate"), you've played DoA 4. Nothing's changed, save for some new characters, improved graphics and backgrounds, and even more bouncing boobies. DoA vets will definitely be annoyed at first with the new countering system present in the game, which makes it harder to counter and avoid your opponent's attacks, but hardcore players will appreciate the learning curve associated with learning the new system.

For newbies, the game is incredibly easy to get into. First-timers will start chaining combos together in no time, but at the same time, simple button-mashing isn't going to cut it, either. The interactive levels will always elicit "oohs and aahs" from beginners, and overall, the game will hold your attention for a decent amount of time. In case you want to get better at beating the shit out of your opponents, DoA 4 features an excellent training mode, which makes it easy to hone your skills in practically every scenario imaginable.

The DoA series has always featured a decent fighting engine, but what separates DoA from the other 3-D fighting games out there is the incredible attention paid to the female fighters' extremely oversized boobs, and DoA 4 is no different. This game definitely ain't gonna win any kudos from women's rights groups, that's for sure, but at the same time, the boobie exploitation doesn't get worse than what anyone can see at their local "Hooters." It's obvious that the bulk of Tecmo's 360-specific programming was spent on breasts rather than everything else, especially when comparing this edition to previous installments; I actually think more time was spent on making boobs bounce rather than revolutionizing the fighting engine. Still, while this game is all about the T & A, it's still much more fun to play than say, "Rumble Roses XX." (Another T & A fighting game for the 360) Inevitably, as in all these games, the novelty of the T & A wears off after an hour or so, but unlike other games, DoA 4 retains your attention thanks to the tried-and-true fighting engine.

Good Lord. The 360 can pack some cleavage...

Playing the story-mode eventually gets boring rather quickly; the only thing that keeps you playing on single-player over and over again are the unlockables that fill this game. There are 6 hidden characters to unlock, and tons of character costumes to obtain. I only found myself playing over and over again just to unlock everything I possibly could and to rack up Achievement points. The saving grace? The difficulty in this game was ramped up. As a matter of fact, if you're not careful, you can find yourself losing a lot of bouts at first, especially in the later stages of the Story Mode. And that final boss... wow... she has to be one of the cheesiest final bosses in all of fighting game history. I had flashbacks of that dude from Street Fighter 3. (Shudder)

I played the game on XBox Live a few times. I found the lobby system somewhat interesting, because you get to watch other matches as you wait your turn in line, reminiscent of playing fighting games in arcades. However, if you're the kind of person that just wants to get in, have a few bouts, and then be off, you'll find yourself frustrated over the wait times. You might not even get on Live if you find yourself running in and out the house constantly. (Like me)

Overall, it's a cool game. It's not going to completely dazzle you, graphically, or in terms of gameplay. It's definitely worth a rental. I imagine, however, that once you play through the story line and unlock all the extras, this game might start collecting dust, especially when there are better multiplayer games to be had on the 360. (Like Fight Night, or Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter)

1) Really easy to learn, hard to master. Especially the counter system.

2) The game's "picture mode" is kinda cool. For a hot second. You might find yourself having contests on "Who can take the most perverted picture."

3) Sexy, sexy costumes. Some of the costumes are SOOOOO worth fighting that final boss 40 times.


1) The counter system. It's annoying as shit for DoA vets. You might want to put in DoA Ultimate in frustration.

2) XBox Achievement Points. What the fuck is Tecmo smoking? They're freaking stingy with them shits!

3) Spartan-458. You're wack. I don't care if people will think of you as "Master Chief" from the "Halo" series. You're a wack-ass fighter.

Yo. You suck.

Wish List:

1) More interactive stages. We can't get enough of those.

We need more levels to knock people down 30 stories!

2) The ability to switch from the old countering system to the new one (you can tell I feel strongly about the change)

3) Tag-team CO-OP mode. As in, me and someone else grab two controllers, go on Live, and face two other opponents for some fighting goodness. Not too major of a mode, but it would make things more interesting, though. :-)


Let's Make It a Fight Night

"You don't want it! You don't want it in "Fight Night!"

Ever since we got EA Sports' "Fight Night Rd. 3" for the 360, our nights have been spent trash-talking, bobbing, weaving, and screaming at the television in joy (or agony, depending on the outcome). If there was one game that made me feel better about spending $500 on a 360, it was this one. How good is this game? Let's just say that I got thumb blisters for the first time since the 16-bit era. It's THAT good.

Alright, let me stop jerking the game off and get to the details. What makes this game so good is the way the 360's graphical power is used to improve the basic boxing game formula that's been present since the 32-bit era's "Knockout Kings" debut. Sure, the fighters look really good and sport high poly counts, but the graphics do more than just improve the visual experience over previous boxing titles. The graphics add much-needed "oomph," to the boxing genre; drop a 5-hit combo on your opponent's jaw, and his face will actually LOOK like he just received a 5-piece (WITH a biscuit!!). And trust me, there's no joy greater than to see the results of the punishment inflicted on your virtual opponent. For example, If you've been effectively hitting your opponent's upper left side for a couple of rounds, he will actually wince as he begins to shift his weight to the other side of his body to minimize the pain. By observing your opponent's reactions, you can then adjust your strategy accordingly and keep working on his weak areas, until finally, you get him to the point where you can score a knockdown. And, man, oh man, this game's knockdowns are SERIOUS. Ever seen "Snatch?" Think of the scene where Brad Pitt's character is boxing, and the movie slows down to emphasize the punch that sends him to another planet (you know, right before he gets back up, and, well, if you haven't seen the movie, I'm not going to spoil it for you) The knockdowns are so serious, that you'll find yourself watching the replays over and over. You COULD press start to skip the replay, but with graphics like these, you'll find yourself not wanting to.


I didn't get a chance to play the game on XBox Live. It's not that I didn't want to, but I never got a chance to; everytime I wanted to play "Fight Night," people always seemed to gather around me, waiting to challenge me in the game. Why play on Live when my competition comes right to the comfort of my own home? Hell, it'll happen to you, too. Just show this game off to a couple of your friends, and next thing you know, they'll never leave your house.

If you haven't played this game, I highly suggest you do. This is what next-gen gaming is all about, and quite frankly, I'm beginning to like what I see.


1) The graphics are simply stunning in this game. If you're unsure about whether or not the 360 is truly, "next-gen", this is going to be the game that does it for you. (Well, besides "Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter" and "Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion" of course)

2) The "Total Punch Control" system works really well. Instead of punching with buttons, you use the right analog stick to direct your punches to specific points in your opponent's body. Which makes it all the better to drop the ill 2-piece to your foe's jaw.


1) Music in the game gets rather repetitive. It's times like these that you're going to be bopping to your own music rather than the music that EA Sports provides for you.

2) Sometimes, the game's collision detection conks out. You could hit your opponent in the jaw, unopposed, and the game's engine fails to pick up on the hit. This can be extremely frustrating in close bouts, when every punch counts.

Wish List:

1) Better crowd animations and reactions

2) An actual career mode with a story line. Part of what makes boxing such an awesome sport are the storylines between each bout.

3) Cool new graphical touches, like cotton swabs getting bloody during corner visits.

4) Can we customize our own created characters' entrance music and style? Thanks! And hell, why not have the option to use the upcoming 360 camera to scan our faces onto custom boxers? That would be pretty damn cool.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006 

360 Degrees of Financial Separation

Djkibblesnbits has posted his story on purchasing an Xbox 360 on his own blog, "The Coffee Break".

Interested in reading about one person's struggle to not only FIND a 360, but to pay for it as well? Check out this link:

360 Degrees of Financial Separation

Damn, it was expensive!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006 

Getting to Know You, Part I (djkibblesnbits)

Each week, we'll take a look at each of the contributing members of PSTP, see what their gaming styles are like, and take a small peek into what makes each of them tick...

Name: djkibblesnbits (Ray)

Age: 22

Hometown: NYC

College: Syracuse University

Gaming Since... : 1986

First System Played: NES (Super Mario Bros.)

Consoles or Computers?: Consoles, hands down.

Gaming Systems Owned (Lifetime): NES, Game Boy, Genesis, SNES, N64, Game Boy Pocket, Playstation, Game Boy Advance, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Gamecube, Xbox, Dreamcast, Nintendo DS, PSP, Xbox 360.

Computing Rig: Apple PowerMac Dual-core 2.5 Ghz G5, 3 GB RAM; 20-inch Apple Cinema Display (used for video editing and professional photography)

Worst Game Ever Played: Thankfully, I can't remember any of them. Let's keep it that way.

Favorite Game of All Time: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Hands down.

Hardest Game Ever Beaten: "Ninja Gaiden" for the Xbox. Shit, that was hard. "Mike Tyson's Punch Out," for the NES, is right up there, too.

Favorite Gaming Genre: RPGs

Natural Talent in the Following Genres: RPG's, 2D shooters, side-scrollers, FPS (pre-Halo), racing, 3D platformers

Playing Style: Obsessive (explores every nook and cranny of a game), competitive (will stop at nothing to kick your ass, even if it means sacrificing oneself to get the job done!)


Pick Up That Controller!

After about 7 months of planning, procrastinating, game playing, and well, just "life" in general, Press Start to Play is officially up and running! Now, for those of you new to the site, or for those of you who just happened to stumble onto this link, courtesy of Blogger's random "Next Blog" button, welcome to PSTP, the gaming blog based on emphasizing the key ingredient that keeps gamers all over the world coming back for more, fun. Whether we're making fun of one another as we smash each other to smithereens in "Fight Night" or cursing out little brooding online racists in "Halo 2," we make sure that here at Press Start, no expense will be spared in sharing our, ahem, "insights" in all things game-related. You may laugh. You may cry. Hell, you might even be a little pissed off after reading about some of the things we encounter. No matter what your experience, however, the only thing we can promise is this: WE had fun, and that's all that matters!

So stick around. Take off your pants. Stay awhile. And remember...

Gaming is FUN-duh-mental!