Friday, June 23, 2006 

Currently Playing (May-June 2006)

Since it's been well over a month since any of us last listed what games we've been playing during our down times, djkibblesnbits is going to kick off the section this time around with his gaming month.


That's what I said to myself the second I had the opportunity to finally sit down and relax after a long year of school, work, and hardcore partying. With all this wonderful downtime (courtesy of a little thing called, "graduation"), I finally had the opportunity to kick back and catch up on many of the games that I've missed out on during the past few months (and in some cases, years):

1) Condemned: Criminal Origins (Xbox 360): I started this game during finals time, and I finally had the opportunity to actually finish it off. The verdict? It's a pretty entertaining game. There are definitely points in this game where it'll catch you off guard, and, if you're anything like me, you might even scream like a little girl. (And then look around real quick to see if anyone heard you.) My review of the game is coming up real soon, so stay tuned.

2) Call of Duty 2 (Xbox 360): After spending a good amount of time playing this game and eventually completing it, it must be said that Infinity Ward (the original creators of the CoD series) certainly knows how to make a WWII game. There are many parts in the game where the action is so intense and realistic, that your real-life adrenaline kicks in as you rush to complete the level! Now how's that for realism!?

3) Fable: The Lost Chapters: (Xbox) One day, a little over a year ago, I walked into my local EB and bought Fable for about $2, and then threw it into my game collection, never to be seen again... that is, until now. Last week, I decided to give the title a chance, and I must say that I wasn't disappointed. Fable is a great RPG, one of the few games in the genre available for the original Xbox. The only bad part? The game was way too short, especially considering that it was an "RPG." I was completely done with the game in 20 hours. When the average RPG usually takes close to about 80 hours to complete, this game seemed like it fell far short of what RPG fans are used to. However short it was, however, it was great while it lasted. AND, I got to bag Lady Grey!!!!!

4) Brain Training: Train Your Brain Minutes a Day (Nintendo DS): Does anyone remember those awwful educational games that video game companies created over a decade ago when games were first being discriminated against by overzealous and ignorant politicians intent on ridding America of such "satanic and perverse creations?" While the politics haven't changed much since then, game companies certainly have learned since that time period; stay away from educational games. Except, someone forgot to tell Nintendo. Brain Training, the innovative title for the Nintendo DS handheld, is a title that makes educational gaming legitimately fun. Who knew that solving math problems and reading passages aloud could be so entertaining?

5) New Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo DS): I love old-school Mario. I especially love old-school Mario on a new-school system. NSMB is a whole new 2-D Mario game that captures the simplistic classic gameplay of the original Super Mario Bros for the NES. I've beat the whole game already, but still need to get to the hidden Level 7 in order to completely finish it off.

So, now that I've got my list out there, what are you guys playing? Drop us a line or two!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 

T.B.P.G. (Too Busy Playing Games)

"Man, you guys at PSTP are complete assholes. You tell us that you're going to be around, then you go and disappear, and then you tease us with some old news about E3, and then you go hide AGAIN!!! Fuc (sic) you guys!!!"

When you've pissed off 12-year olds, you know you're in for a shitstorm of utter... uh... shit.

(Sorry. It actually wasn't a 12-year old. We don't know how old the person is, but we'd like to think it was a 12-year old.)

Yes, we know we've been bad and we haven't been updating as much as we want, but there's a good damn reason for it all, and it has nothing to do with silly things like "finals", "work", and "shopping."

We've been.... GAMING!!! Yes, the reason why we haven't been updating this blog dedicated to the wonderful world of videogaming is because we have been fine-tuning our craft, catching up on some new (and not so new titles). And these games have been so entertaining, that we've actually been glued to our respective gaming systems.

Personally, I haven't gone on a gaming binge like this since God knows when. And I don't feel guilty for doing it at all. So what if I'm neglecting things like friends and the summer weather? I've earned this free time, damnit! I graduated college, biatch!

Phew. Okay, now that I got all that out of my system, I'm sure you'd like to know what we've been playing. We'll be updating the site with regular updates about some of the games, including reviews of recently released titles, like "New Super Mario Bros" and "Brain Training" for the DS, "Condemned: Criminal Origins" for the Xbox 360. And, because we love reliving our youth, we also have some wonderful "Classic Gaming" features coming up.

So, we're back. Stay tuned, and remember, when life has you down, just Press Start to Play. (Man, that was f-ing corny...)

Thursday, June 08, 2006 

E3 Roundup

It's been almost four weeks since the incredible Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) passed us by, but in light of our recent hiatus here at Press Start, it's time for us to review what went down at the most important gaming event of the year while we were away:


While Sony's showing at E3 left a bad taste in everyone's mouths, Nintendo stole the show with their next-gen machine, the Revol-, er, I mean, the "Wii." For the first time since Nintendo officially announced the Wii at last year's E3, the company allowed show attendees to get some hands-on time with the games, giving them, (and everyone else) a chance to see just how the new system fares. The verdict? It's pretty damn awesome. (Awesome enough to make people wait in line for almost four hours to get their chance with the innovative system. Heading into E3, many people were skeptical over whether or not the Wii's motion-sensing control scheme would actually WORK, let alone be easy-to-use, and gasp, fun. Judging from the countless "Best of Show" awards that Nintendo won for the Wii, it's pretty safe to assume that showgoers really dug it.

Nintendo also had some pretty interesting things going for their handheld wonder, the DS , which continues to sell in bunches and doesn't look to lose its software superiority over Sony's PSP anytime soon. Nintendo announced that the DS Lite, the sexy hardware revision that makes the original DS look like an ugly stepchild, will be coming to the US on June 11th for $129.

HEADLINE GAMES: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Both GameCube and Wii versions), Wii Sports, WarioWare: Smooth Moves (Wii), Red Steel (Wii), The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS), Super Paper Mario (DS)

Link has never looked better

HARDWARE News: Wii: Wireless "Wii-Mote" controller works with "shells" for those seeking more traditional controller setups; Always connected to the internet, Nintendo Download service (classic Nintendo games); Online gaming service, similar to Xbox Live; Not as powerful, graphically, as other next-gen systems (hard to tell the difference, however)

DS: DS Lite coming out on June 11th for $129 in "arctic white."

WII COST: "Less than $250" (looks like a bargain, compared to the $300-$400 Xbox 360, and the $500-$600 PS3.)

RELEASE DATE: Fall 2006. Nintendo promised to solidify a release date within the next two months.

BIG QUESTION: How much are all those nifty little controller shells going to cost us all?

These controller shells better not be expensive...


Man, those guys at "The next-generation doesn't start until we say it does, bitch," (AKA, Sony) sure did bungle up their E3 appearance with their incredibly pretentious showing. Yes, they may have the most powerful console of the big three, but damn, don't tell us something akin to, "It's $600, and if you know what's good for you, you're gonna to buy it, bitch!" A lot of people were prepared to hear Sony announce some kind of astronomical price for the PS3, but they were at least looking for Sony to at least show everyone WHY. Instead, the company made a huge PR blunder and had very little to show for it. Showgoers seemed to be rather excited to see the incredible looking Metal Gear Solid 4 and Final Fantasy XIII, but its become apparent that titles like these don't carry the same weight that they did in the last gaming generation. (At least, not $600 worth)

Unlike Nintendo and Microsoft, however, Sony remains committed to supporting their respective current-gen gaming platform, the PS2. With super-titles such as Final Fantasy XII and God of War 2 coming out in the next year, the PS2 looks to keep rocking while the GameCube and original Xbox continue to gather dust.


The big news on the PSP front is that Sony plans on releasing some kind of software update that will allow the PSP to play PS1 games. (Can you say, FF VII on the go?) One would assume that Sony would allow gamers to download PS1 games straight to their PSPs, somehow. One can only hope that they don't go and bungle that up, too.

HEADLINE GAMES: Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3), Final Fantasy XIII (PS3), Assassin's Creed (PS3), Devil May Cry 4 (PS3), Okami (PS2), God of War 2 (PS2), Final Fantasy XII (PS2), Loco Roco (PSP), Tekken: Dark Resurrection (PSP)

HARDWARE News: PS3: Most powerful next-gen console; Blu-Ray player; Built-in HD (20 GB and 60 GB configurations); Xbox Live-like online service; Controller with motion-sensor (no rumble, however); Backwards compatible with PS2.

PSP: Ability to play PS1 games

PS3 Cost: $500 for 20 GB configuration, sans-HD capabilities; $600 for 60 GB, full-HD capabilities.

RELEASE DATE: November 17, 2006

BIG QUESTION: Does Sony have anything else up its sleeve to warrant the incredible price difference between the PS3 and its competitors'?


With the release of the Xbox 360 during last year's pivotal Christmas shopping season, Microsoft got a head-start on its competitors with the first volley into the next-generational console wars. Thus far, M$ has enjoyed incredible success within the US with the 360, but has failed to inspire the imaginations of Japanese consumers with a system heavy on shooters and low on RPGs. At E3, Microsoft practically screamed it loud and clear that it would be ready with incredible-looking titles for early adopters and potential customers by concentrating on building its current gaming library, and sprucing it up with key titles that would appeal to consumers around the world. With titles like "Gears of War" and "Mass Effect", as well as improving its award-winning Xbox Live service, 360 owners are sure to never experience a dull moment in the next year.

There was also the tiny, little announcement of a really little, insignificant game... Halo 3... (though, it will not be released for another year at least)

He's baaackk...

HEADLINE GAMES: Gears of War (360), Lost Planet (360), Splinter Cell: Double Agent (360), Ninety-Nine Nights (360), Grand Theft Auto 4 (360), Halo 3 (360)

"Gears of War" looks incredible

HARDWARE News: Xbox Vision camera will be released in September (camera that will enable live video conferencing among friends during games; HD-DVD drive add-on announced, release in Fall 2006

360 Cost: Will remain in two current configurations of $300 and $400.

BIG QUESTION: Will the 360 EVER get the kind of RPGs that many consumers now look to Sony to provide?

And so, that's our E3 round-up of the Big Three. Naturally, the more information we find out, the more we'll post. One thing's for certain; this is going to be one interesting console war. And it's sure to be fun for all of us.