Saturday, August 19, 2006 

What's On?

As always, we have the latest scoop on what's available for currently existing online gaming services for your downloading pleasure...


Xbox Live:

"What's on," you ask?

Absolute crap. Nothing. Zilch. Unless the thought of pay-per-download Chromehounds (Xbox 360) weapons tickle your fancy, there is absolutely nothing new worthy of discussion available for download.

Xbox 360 football fanatics fans waiting for their latest edition of Madden football might want to check out some of the latest themes and picture packs available on Live.

If you haven't checked them out already, there are some trailers available for a couple of upcoming games, including Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, Madden NFL '07, and Just Cause.

Next Wednesday, MS will continue their Xbox Live Arcade Wednesdays with the release of Texas Hold 'Em Poker. What's even better is that the game will be free for the first 48 hours. So, make sure you get on Live this Wednesday if you're interested in snagging yourself a free copy of this game.



And that's pretty much it for this edition of, "What's On." Hopefully, things will kick up a few notches in the next few weeks.

Friday, August 18, 2006 

Currently Playing (8/19 - 8/26)

With all the Madden fans counting down the days for "Maddenoliday" on August 22nd, and everyone else waiting for any kind of news related to the upcoming next-gen releases from Sony and Nintendo, djkibblesnbits reminds us that there are still plenty of games out there to tide you over until then.

Dead Rising (Xbox 360): It's been a long time since I've played a game that was as frustrating as this one, but yet somehow kept me coming back for more a couple of hours later. This just might be the first game on the 360 that'll make me throw my controller out the window in frustration, only for me to run all the way down to get it back, apologizing profusely to it. "I'm sorry 360 controller, I'm sorry." (Look out for my review of the game real soon...)

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Xbox 360): The grip that Oblivion has had on my life has been replaced by Dead Rising, but that still doesn't mean that Tamriel doesn't have enough for me to do to warrant a comeback every once in awhile. Hell, I still haven't even gone through half the game's story line!

Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (Sony PSP): I was so happy to hear that Square-Enix decided to port this wonderful Playstation classic to the PSP. With original copies selling for more than $100 on eBay, I was afraid that I would never get a chance to own this classic for myself, when suddenly, the powers that be at Square decided to remake this game for the PSP. Sure, there is very little that has changed from the original to the PSP port in terms of graphics and gameplay, but then again, that isn't so bad now, is it? Especially considering this is one of the best RPGs that came out for the first Playstation. Can't wait till this game's sequel comes out for the PS2 this fall.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 

Classic Gaming Wednesday

Once again, here we are with another Classic Game of the Week. Because, after all, you can't go forward unless you know where you've been!

The other day, I was reading a review about the recently released, Dead Rising, in which the reviewer called the title's zombie-killing/survivor-saving premise, "innovative."

I couldn't throw the magazine away fast enough.

Don't get me wrong, Dead Rising is a great game, but no self-respecting game journalist would ever call this game "innovative" unless their idea of "old school" begins with the 32/64-bit generation. But fret not, folks, because unlike many gaming critics, we know a thing or two about our gaming history. And when it comes to zany, zombie-killing, lawnmower-using mayhem, we know for a fact that there has yet to be a game that tops the fun factor of Dead Rising's spiritual, 13-year old granddaddy, Zombies Ate My Neighbors.

Released on both the Sega Genesis and SNES, the LucasArts developed ZAMN was released in the US in Fall 1993, and quickly became one of the 16-bit era's undeniable classics. The premise behind the overhead shooter is that basically, monsters have somehow taken over a generic suburban town, leaving the town's residents to a "fate worse than polyester!" Practically every single major horror movie monster known to man decided, for whatever reason, to go after this particular town, and now, every resident is in danger of meeting a rather grotesque demise. Enter Zeke and Julie, two teenagers that are the only residents that have the cojones to go head-to-head against these supernatural baddies and save their neighbors from certain doom. Armed with super soakers filled with holy water, footballs, plates, weed-wackers, lawn-mowers, and popsicles (just to name a few), you control either of these spunky teens as you race against time to save your neighbors across 55 levels of horror movie mayhem. Whether you're facing Chucky dolls, Jason-wannabes, werewolves, or crazed cheerleaders, each level comprises of references to pop-culture (circa 1993) from various movies, novels, songs, and even games, making each level different from the last.

Zeke and Julie to the rescue... gotta have the 3-D shades!


Zeke, taking a weed-wacker straight to his demented clone


What makes ZAMN so fun is that between the constant spoofing of the horror movie genre, the variety of power-ups and weapons, the inspired level design, and the overwhelming multitude of enemies and bosses, this game just keeps you coming back for more. Even now, with the dawn of next-gen upon us, ZAMN can still keep you glued to the TV for hours. And, what makes this game even more addicting is that you can play simultaneously with another player, making this one of the greatest co-op games of all time. (Hell, not even today's Dead Rising has a co-op mode...)

Trampolines are the best way to escape a swarm of zombies


So, if for whatever reason, you have not played ZAMN, you seriously need to stop what you're doing right now, head outside, grab a copy of the game for either the Genesis or the SNES (the Genesis version has red blood, if you care about having uncensored games), get a friend to come over, and enjoy some classic gaming that's guaranteed to keep you hooked for hours. Get yourself gameducated, and learn a thing or two about the greatness of the 16-bit era. And if you see someone call Dead Rising innovative, make sure you smack them in the face with an agitated soda can and scream, "Zombies Ate My Neighbors!" Sure, you'll look like a complete psycho, and most people won't know what the hell you're talking about, but at least you'll know. And that's what it's all about, folks.


Modern Day Sequels?
After the release of ZAMN, LucasArts and Konami released the game's sequel, Ghoul Patrol, a year later, but unfortunately, everything that made the first game so fun didn't fully translate into the second title. As a result, the sequel became a critical and commercial bomb, and the franchise was effectively killed after that.

There have been no modern-day remakes or ports of the original game thus far, but the game has a sizable enough fanbase to at least hope for one.

Fun Fact: The zombie-spoof movie, Shaun of the Dead pays homage to ZAMN when the movie's protagonist uses a trampoline to jump over a fence to get away from oncoming zombies. There is also a ZAMN game poster present in the protagonist's shed at the end of the movie.

Monday, August 14, 2006 

What's On?

Once again, here we are, giving you guys the latest scoop on what's available on currently existing gaming services for your downloading pleasure. Unfortunately, it's slim pickings this week...

Xbox Live:

Another week, another download available on Xbox Live Arcade. What incredibly overpriced retro game is on there this week? Why none other than Pac-Man, of course! Yes, folks, the most whored game in the industry has just hit yet another platform, and at 400 Microsoft Points ($5), you too can get in on the two-decade old action.

From a demo standpoint, there hasn't been anything uploaded to the service since the last time, so, for those hoping for a Gears of War demo or something will be sadly disappointed. However, Dead Rising has some content available for download, if you're interested in that sort of thing. There are 8 new costumes that can be downloaded for free, so, if you want to get your style on while you kill off thousands of zombies, then go ahead.


And that's pretty much it, folks. Like we said before... "slim pickings." Just do yourselves a favor and check out Dead Rising if you're looking to do something with your 360 in the meantime.

Friday, August 11, 2006 

Currently Playing (8/11-8/18)

Little by little, the dog days of summer are coming to an end, and game releases are beginning to pick up again. Here's djkibblesnbits with the games he's been playing recently

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (Xbox 360): As of now, I have almost 80 hours of play time logged in this game, and I haven't even gotten through a 1/4th of the game's main story yet! Everytime I complete a side quest or two, there's always about four or five more that pop up. And how many f'ing Oblivion gates are there?! Sheesh! At this point, it looks like I'll have logged way over 200 hours before I can even sniff the game's ending. But, I'll love absolutely every minute of it, though.

Advance Wars: Dual Strike (Nintendo DS): This little game is gem that's getting overlooked by many of the other wonderful games that are out for Nintendo's super-handheld. I wish I could play me some Advance Wars over Nintendo Wifi, however...

Dead Rising (Xbox 360): Psst... I have a little secret to tell you... I have yet to get the full game... but that doesn't mean that I don't want to play the living crap out of it, though. I have this game running around in my head every single day. I'm dying to get my hands on a copy. If that isn't desire, I don't know what is.

 

"SEGA!!"




That oh-so-wonderful news about the Sega Genesis Collection got us in a rather nostalgic mood about the good ol' 16-bit days. Check out this classic Sega ad, advertising the "Streets of Rage II Genesis Bundle!"

 

The Sega Genesis Collection: A Retro Gamer's Wet Dream

In this age of super-powered video game systems, it certainly looks like the 16-bit era is still holding it down. Between the success of Xbox Live Arcade, successful Nintendo classic re-releases, and retro collections galore, older gamers are taking a stand and are saying in unison, "No!!! Take back your fancy, schmancy first-person shooters and, plastic 3D characters, and give us some classic gameplay!"

Well, it looks like the folks at Sega have certainly answered the call. Introducing the Sega Genesis Collection, a 30 game (yes, thirty) compilation of many of the greatest Sega games from the 16-bit era. What games, you ask? Well, check 'em out!

Alex Kidd - The Enchanted Castle
Altered Beast
Bonanza Bros.
Columns
Comix Zone
Decap Attack
Ecco the Dolphin
Ecco: The Tides of Time
Ecco Jr.
Eternal Champions
Flicky
Gain Ground
Golden Axe
Golden Axe II
Golden Axe III
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III
Phantasy Star IV
Ristar
Shadow Dancer: Secret of Shinobi
Shinobi III
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Super Thunderblade
Sword of Vermillion
Vectorman
Vectorman 2
Virtua Fighter 2

Did you see that list? There are some incredible classics in there. The Phantasy Star series? Vectorman? Golden Axe?! Wooooo! Hell, they even threw in Altered Beast, one of our very own "Classic Games of the Week" from about a month ago.

We need the "Sega scream" back in our lives


Now, there are some questionable omissions from this list. What happened to the Streets of Rage games? And the two 16-bit Shining Force titles? Space Harrier? And who could forget Michael Jackson's Moonwalker? (almost a guaranteed entry for "Classic Gaming Wednesday...") Don't get me wrong, this collection wipes the floor with every other compilation that's been released thus far. It's just rather weird that Sega would include titles like, Ecco Jr. and the horrible Genesis version of Virtua Fighter 2 over any of the super classic, Streets of Rage games, for example. But whatever. Personally, I'm completely psyched that the entire 16-bit collection of Phantasy Star is included.

With the number of games that are missing from this list, we all know what that means... Sega Genesis Collection II...

Oh. I almost forgot. The collection is coming out for the PS2 and for the PSP. (16-bit on the go? Yes!) One can only hope that these games are emulated perfectly, or else we'll have one of the most disappointing collections ever created. (ahem, Sega Smash Pack Vol. 1, ahem)

This Sega wunder-collection is due out this fall.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 

Classic Gaming Wednesday

Yes, we've been bad. Very bad. Two weeks passed by without a "Classic Gaming Wednesday." But fret not, because we're back with a goodie, and a "classic" in every sense of the word. So, without further ado, here's the Classic Game of the Week, because you can't go forward unless you know where you've been!"

It's hard to imagine a more fitting game to be the "Classic Game of the Week" than Metroid, which celebrated its 20th Anniversary, three days ago. The game itself, which would go on to sell bajillions of copies in the US and Europe, spawned one of the most beloved series in the Nintendo stable, and at 20-years old, continues to impact gaming to this very day.

Early on, things almost didn't get off the ground for bounty hunter, Samus Aran. When Nintendo released Metroid on August 6, 1986, for the Famicom Disk System in Japan, the game was met with lukewarm sales as Japanese gamers practically ignored the title. Thankfully, Nintendo decided to go ahead and port the title a year later for the NES in the US and European markets, and it would be there that the original Metroid would go on to become one of THE definitive classics of the 8-bit era.

In Metroid, you take command of kick-ass human bounty hunter, Samus Aran, the galaxy's most battle-hardened "Space Hunter." When the dreaded "Space Pirates" attack a spaceship containing a powerful organism from the deserted planet of SR388, the Galactic Federation calls Samus into action to recover the organism. However, Samus quickly discovers that the Federation's worst fears are realized; the Space Pirates found a way to multiply the organism and utilize it as a bio-weapon. Known as "Metroids", these huge, floating, amoeba-like parasites have the ability to suck the life-force out of any living thing that they attach themselves to within mere seconds, instantly killing their victims. Because the Metroids have an insatiable appetite for life-energy, they continue to feed until there are no more potential victims for them to kill, making them perfect weapons. With little time to waste, Samus spares the pleasantries and lands right on the Space Pirates' home base on the planet, Zebes. It is at this point where you take command of Samus as you embark on a quest to wipe the Metroids and the Space Pirates off the face of the planet.

Those Space Pirates ain't know who they messin' wit!


Armed with an incredibly powerful cybernetic suit, Samus can withstand an incredible amount of damage and can fire powerful beam weapons at enemies. The suit also allows Samus to turn into a morph ball in order to roll through tiny spaces that are otherwise unreachable. Throughout the course of the game, you'll eventually find powerups for your suit, such as Hi-Jump Boots and additional beam weapons, which allow Samus to reach areas that were once off-limits.

What made Metroid stand out from other games was the title's incredible nonlinear design, which was an innovative mix of platforming and exploration. At first, you'll notice that as you're playing the game, there will be areas that you can obviously see that need to be explored, but you don't have the proper means of getting there. As you move on, eventually, you'll acquire suit upgrades that will allow you to pass through these previously unreachable areas, therefore getting you closer and closer to your ultimate battle with Mother Brain, the leader of the Space Pirates. This game mechanic, which was incorporated by the late Metroid producer and Nintendo design legend, Gunpei Yokoi, would be copied and adapted to many other games that were released long after the original release of Metroid, such as Konami's Castlevania series and Capcom's Mega Man series.

Turning into a morph ball would help you here...


There are so many things that contribute to why Metroid is among gaming's most memorable classics. Between the level design, the "can't get it out of my head" soundtrack, the numerous encounters with Metroids, the epic boss battles, the power-ups, and Samus' sheer ability to kick ass, Metroid was, and still is, one of the best gaming experiences ever. And who could forget the game's classic ending, where you discovered for the first time that the character you had been controlling throughout your mission on Zebes was actually, gasp, a girl! (Assuming you got the best of the game's five endings) Metroid was the first game in history that featured a female protagonist who did not need to get saved at some point by a hero. And with the legendary "Justin Bailey" code, one could play as Samus without the suit, revealing her true identity for all to see.

The wonders of the "Justin Bailey" code...


If you haven't checked out Metroid at any point in your life, you need to stop what you're doing RIGHT now, go out there, and get yourself a copy of this game. Between the millions of used NES copies still on the market, the hidden copy of it in the GameCube game, Metroid Prime, and the GBA re-release in the "Classic" series, you have no excuses. Besides, it's Samus' 20th birthday. You owe it to her. Take her out for a spin. Relish and ENJOY this gaming classic. And then come back and tell us what you thought. For everyone else, just run through this game and challenge yourself to beat it under an hour. If you can, you, my friend, still got it.

Kill them Metroids for old times sake


Modern Day Sequels?
You bet! After the release of the original Metroid, Nintendo released Metroid II: Return of Samus for the original Game Boy, which on its own merits, is another gaming classic. Then, there was the absolutely incredible sequel, Super Metroid for the SNES, which was many a Metroid fan's dream come true. Then, after a hiatus, the Metroid series came back in 2002 with a bang with the critically-acclaimed Metroid Prime for the GameCube, which saw the series' successful translation into 3D. Old-school fans who wanted to experience Samus in her old 2D environment weren't left out, as the excellent GBA game, Metroid Fusion was released. Then in 2004, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes was released for the GameCube and Metroid: Zero Mission, a remake of the first game, was released for the GBA. Nintendo re-released the original Metroid for the GBA in 2005 as part of the "Classic NES Series." And finally, in 2006, Nintendo released Metroid Prime: Hunters for the Nintendo DS, a 3D game in the same vein as the other "Prime" titles for the GameCube.

Currently, Nintendo is working on the the final piece of the "Prime" trilogy, called, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption for the soon-to-be released Wii. It is safe to assume that with all the action Samus has received in the past few years, we won't be seeing too many Metroid titles in the immediate future. Thankfully, every single title that has been released since the original has been excellent, and all are games that one should experience at some point in their lives. The same cannot be said about many other gaming series.

Fun Fact: Story-wise, Metroid was inspired by the movie, Alien, the 1979 classic starring Sigourney Weaver. Between the whole "deadly alien" aspect and Samus' gender, Metroid and Alien have quite a few things in common. To pay homage to the movie, Samus' recurring Space Pirate nemesis, Ridley, was named in honor of Alien director, Ridley Scott.

Monday, August 07, 2006 

E3: Just Taking a "Chill Pill"

In case you haven't heard the news (hard to imagine who hasn't, especially anyone remotely interested in gaming), the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) has officially been reduced in size by the "Powers That Be." Apparently, the largest annual event in gaming got a bit too large for its own good, with the "press and industry only" week-long event attracting close to about 50,000 visitors this past May.

Because E3 has become an event that many gamers have come to look forward to every year, the news that E3 was being reduced in size came off as an incredible disappointment to many. Last week, thousands of blogs, news outlets, podcasts and AIM profiles sounded off about the event's pending reduction and collectively bemoaned the "Death of E3."

Here at PSTP, however, we're not going to join the cyberspace bitchfest. Why? Well, for starters, E3 really isn't dead. It's just smaller. Sure, attendees no longer have to wait in long lines while getting trampled by cosplayers and fanboys (and going deaf in the process), but seriously, is anyone going to miss that? I don't know about you, but if I were getting paid to report on the latest games as a journalist, I wouldn't want my chance to preview a demo getting spoiled by some rancid-smelling Halo fanboy. And I damn sure wouldn't want to stand in line for over five hours just to get a chance to play the latest hardware, like many had to go through just to get a chance to play with the Nintendo Wii. If anything, I think that as gaming fans, we're all going to benefit from a smaller E3, because journalists will be able to get more hands-on time with the latest systems and games and will get to give us more information during the event. I honestly think it'll work out for all sides involved.


But, the Independents!?

Some have decided to carry the "independent developer" flag and bemoan the loss of Kentia Hall. "Oh, where are they (independents) going to go now?"

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for small indie developers. But let's be real. When was the last time you saw a Kentia Hall product get any kind of real coverage from mainstream media during E3? The most you might see is a quick three paragraph summary about some of the most "interesting" things that were there, and that coverage usually centers around some of the most ridiculous products ever conceived in gaming. In other words, Kentia Hall coverage is usually nothing more than filler with some shock value thrown in for good measure. When you see Kentia Hall coverage, it's usually because news from the main floor of the show has slowed to a trickle. The truth is, E3 was never really a good venue for small indies, because it was just too big. With so many things vying for your attention on the main floors, no one actually went to Kentia Hall because they legitimately wanted to. The big booths cast too large a shadow on the independents, effectively keeping them unfairly out the loop based on appearances alone. As a result, it was hard to take anything in Kentia seriously when the bar was raised incredibly high by the big developers.

At one point in E3's early days, Kentia Hall made sense. Because it was the only real gaming convention of its day at the time, it made sense for anyone developing gaming products to have a booth there. But now, with so many expos to go around, independents would be better suited to a smaller venue where they would be able to stand out on their own merit. Perhaps someone could put together an independent gaming expo?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


While we feel that E3's downsizing is, overall, a good thing, we do acknowledge that E3 2007 can still turn into a complete disaster. With this whole, "invitation-only" business, we just might see companies playing favorites and only allowing specific media outlets to take a stab at their wares. Bashed Sony too much last E3? Well, don't you even think about getting an invite to their section next year. Pulled an IGN and padded review scores? Then step right up and get an exclusive Halo 3 hands-on experience and get to watch Xbox chief, Peter Moore, flex his guns!!!!

You can get all this, if you give "Kameo 2" a 10!


Seriously, a smaller E3 can be extremely successful, but if the event turns into nothing more than a bunch of closed-door meetings instead of the open free-for-all that it was in the past, then E3 will truly be dead, all in the name of "exclusive coverage."

And then, only then, will be join the bitchfest.

 

They Say "Inflation", We Say, "Womp, Womp"

Today, the folks over at Kotaku published a blog entry that briefly discussed Metafuture's ongoing analysis of mainstream game reviews and their apparent antipathy for scores that fall below "7" on a 1 - 10 scale. As of this time, Metafuture has only compiled data for mega gaming sites, IGN and Gamespot. Upon looking at the data, Kotaku's Florian Eckhardt agreed that the IGN numbers did look rather suspicious, while giving Gamespot the benefit of the doubt.

However, when Joystiq grabbed the story, Blake Snow posted the numbers from both IGN and Gamespot and insinuated that judging from the data, journalists from both sites get paid by game companies to review games favorably.

While I'm not going to sit here and defend IGN, I will rise to the occasion for Gamespot, and whatever other game review publication gets judged solely based on the information provided by Metafuture.

Gamespot's average review score is about a 6.7, which places the average game at about a "fair" rating, according to Gamespot's own rating scale. The folks at Joystiq apparently believe that if a rating system is based on a 1-10 system, then the average game score should be at about a "5," and that any publication that has higher review averages than that is padding their scores for the benefit of huge gaming companies.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Think about it. We were all at school, at one point or another. I don't know about you, but if I ever came home with a 67 (out of 100) and tried to show it off to my parents like I accomplished some big deal, I'd get my ass slapped back to the Stone Age. Sure, I passed, but that don't make it acceptable in the least bit. The only score that would be sure to please the parental units were ones that ranged from 90-100. Anything in the 80's was "acceptable."

Or what about when we rate people on how good they look? If a friend told you that they met someone that's interested in you, and you asked where that person stood on a 1 - 10 scale, would you get all excited if they told you "6?" Hell no! And what about a "5?" You'd tell your friend to go jump off a cliff!

The reason is that "5" ain't "average," people. That's failing, no matter what way you slice it. Any number below that, and it's just a matter of whether or not getting hit by a car is more pleasurable than getting your toes smashed by a falling hammer.

So please, spare us the whole, "5 is average." No it ain't. It's failing. And an average score of 6.7 just means that there's a lot of barely passable stuff out there. It doesn't mean that Gamespot's reviewers get paid across the board to pad their scores. They're just scoring according to how we all have grown accustomed to interpreting the "1 - 10" scale. Nothing more.

Now, IGN, with their average score of 8.0... that's a different story...

Sunday, August 06, 2006 

Gaming Fo' Your Ears!

Podcast, podcast, podcast.

It seems as if everytime we blink, someone out there decides that they want to start podcasting. (Or as Microsoft calls it, "blogcasting") With all the applications that have sprung up in the past year, any peanuthead with a computer and a microphone can create a podcast, and when it comes to the genre of gaming, there is no exception, as thousands of die-hard gamers have apparently all decided that they are incredible radio show hosts.

Right.

Sadly, there are a lot of gaming podcasts out there that just plain suck. If is isn't some super-nerd talking about how fast they "pwnd", it's a dipshit sucking on some corporate huevos (cough*IGN*cough). But, in the midst of all that utter crap, there are a few jewels that really stand out. Whether they stick to specific genres and systems, entertain, inform, or any combination thereof, the following podcasts are actually not too bad...


Orange Lounge Radio:

As the winner of the 2005 Podcast Award for "Best Gaming Podcast," the folks at Orange Lounge are the current standard bearers for gaming podcasts. (At least until the 2006 award winners are announced...) While OLR is actually a 24-hour radio station dedicated to playing videogame-related music, the station's gaming podcast is broadcasted live on Sunday nights, and then split into two parts and uploaded to podcast streams on Monday and Wednesday nights. The show itself is a mix of gaming news and discussion (with a dash of digression thrown in every once in awhile), and features a call-in segment in which listeners can Skype-in and talk about anything gaming related for all to hear. While the callers themselves can be rather lame, repetitive and just downright juvenile, the show's hosts are far from that, as they are well-informed, honest, and at times, will have you laughing to tears with their on-air antics. What makes the show work is the wonderful interaction that they get from the OLR Chatroom, which is packed with listeners that tune in every week during the show's live broadcast. With all the topics that get brought up within the chatroom, the hosts behind OLR usually fly by the seat of their pants during the broadcast, making every episode unique and entertaining.

Orange Lounge Radio's website


Gamestation Radio:

There's only one word to describe this podcast: mayhem. While other gaming podcasts tend to be a bit more on the serious side, dedicating much of their time to discussing current events in video games, Gamestation tends to go off on the deep end and consistently deliver hilarious episodes that border on the point of insanity. Basically, each episode is dedicated to a specific topic dealing with video games, such as "video game hotties", "crappy games", and "video game movies," and the show's five or six hosts (you never know considering how many friggin' voices are speaking at the same time) go back and forth, offering their opinion on the topic. Whether they're making fun of each other, games, current events, or just plain having fun, this podcast is definitely guaranteed to make you laugh hysterically at least once per episode. If you're looking for a more "serious" gaming podcast, don't look here, because Gamestation gets down to the very reason why we all play video games: sheer fun. The only gripe we have is that the show isn't updated nearly as much as the other podcasts listed on here.

Gamestation Radio's website


Dreamstation CC:

Straight and to the point. That's the phrase I would use to describe the Dreamstation podcast. Every week, the guys behind Dreamstation release a pre-recorded podcast that covers all the major gaming news from the previous week, and does so in a rather straightforward way. The hosts at Dreamstation don't get off topic too often in order to keep each podcast episode as short as possible. (Unlike most of the other podcasts on here, which hit the 2-hour mark without breaking a sweat.) Dreamstation bleeps out their curses, so if you're worried about the little kiddies, this podcast might be more up your alley. If you're looking for entertainment, Dreamstation may not necessarily be for you, however.

Dreamstation CC's website


Sidescrollers:

The self-proclaimed "best gaming podcast ever" certainly gives every other podcast a run for their money with their weekly combination of brief gaming news, game-related insight, and interviews. Sound-wise, Sidescrollers is among the best sounding podcasts on the web, and doesn't sound like an old AM radio station. The podcast itself is a small part of the Screwattack.com website, which has some of the downright funniest gaming content available on the web. The podcast itself never creeps over the 40-minute mark, so it doesn't drag on and on, and even if it did, there's never a dull moment with these guys. The guys behind Sidescrollers are pretty much casual gamers, so they're certainly not going to bore you with super-duper gaming facts thrown in just to sound all self-important. If you're a casual gamer yourself, this is for you.

Sidescrollers Podcast website


Gamer Andy:

Any show that has an official "F-bomb counter" MUST be promising. Don't gather the kiddies to listen to this one, folks, because the folks at Gamer Andy are not afraid to vent on air about whatever happens to be pissing them off in the gaming world. Pissed off about Sony's recent PR disasters? Gamer Andy is right there with ya. A certain game too hard to beat? Gamer Andy feels your pain. This is a podcast for those that are looking for a no-holds barred podcast that features hilarious commentary, great interviews, and at times, just sheer insanity. The show does frequently pass the 1 hr 30 mark, so if you're not into long podcasts, then this might not be your cup of tea.

Gamer Andy's website


So feel free to check out these podcasts! They're all free, so it doesn't hurt to at least download them once just to see if they strike your fancy. And if anyone out there has any other suggestions for podcasts, feel free to drop us a line!


EDIT: The "Gamer Andy" show is aired live on Thursday nights from 7PM - 9PM PST, and then later released as a podcast for everyone who couldn't catch it live. Check the linked Gamer Andy site for details. (Thanks, Andy!)

 

Making the Most Out of Your (Dead) "Rising" Quickie

With Capcom's release of Dead Rising on the Live Marketplace, it seems like everyone and their mother has thus far gone and downloaded the demo, only to be disappointed over the strict 15-minute time limit imposed on it. As short as it may be, the folks at Capcom still managed to pack quite a lot of stuff in there for you to play around with, and the wonderful guys at Joystiq have posted a little guide detailing what weapons, power-ups, and clothing you can find throughout your little zombie adventure in the mall.

Check it out: Dead Rising Demo Guide (Joystiq)

Saturday, August 05, 2006 

What's On?

Every week, the folks here at PSTP will highlight the latest and greatest happenings for all the console and handheld gaming online services and let you know what you need to keep an eye out for.

(Note: Unless otherwise noted, all the information below is reflective of what is currently available on US servers, and may not accurately represent what is available in other markets.)


Xbox Live:

After experiencing a rather extended dry spell shortly after E3, Microsoft has all of a sudden ramped up the activity on Xbox Live. Just when we were getting ready to stop checking out the Live Marketplace for new content, all of a sudden, we have tons of new stuff available to choke up our 20 GB hard drives with. As far as demos go, Microsoft has released GTA clone, Saint's Row (Read: gangbanging, stereotypes, and certain criticism from politicians), Ninety-Nine Nights, a Dynasty Warriors-like title that's good fun in small doses, and the highly anticipated zombie-sandbox game, Dead Rising. Dead Rising is particularly fun, though we wish that Capcom didn't tease us with the 15-minute time limit contained on the demo. We want more zombie antics in the mall! But, I guess they DO have to get us hyped up to buy the real game after all, eh?

Haven't you ever wanted to be stuck in a mall? With zombies?


Live Arcade finally got the one game that people have been salivating over since it was announced early on in the 360's lifespan, Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting. It's no secret that this game will quickly become THE best-selling game on Live Arcade in the service's short history. At 800 Microsoft Points ($10), this is a wonderful trip through memory lane for anyone who ran to their nearest arcade to get a taste of SF II during the early-90's. It's great to see that after 15 plus years, this game has aged gracefully. Of course, one could argue that Street Fighter Anniversary Collection is money better spent than this straight-up no frills version of SF II... (Gotta wonder why Microsoft has yet to make the Anniversary Collection playable on the 360...)

Hadoken!!!


Playstation Underground:

While technically this isn't an "online service" in the same vein as Xbox Live, nonetheless, Sony has begun to take advantage of the PSP's online capabilities and is offering downloadable demos on their "Playstation Underground" site for PSP owners. Currently, one can find painless downloadable demos of Loco Roco, the uber-cute rolling blob game that has gaming editors wetting their pants, and World Tour Soccer '06. However, if you're one of those people that refuses to update the latest PSP firmware in order to play homebrew, then "it's no soup for you!" (Version 2.8 required)

You cute f'in bastards.


When the PS3 finally launches, hopefully, we'll see more wonderful downloadable content coming out of Sony and their announced Xbox Live-type service.


So, check out that content, and if we missed anything, don't be shy and drop us a line!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006 

Damn You, Blogger!

Unfortunately, thanks to some technical errors on Blogger's part, we haven't been able to post here on PSTP in the past couple of weeks. But fear not, folks, because everything is back under control. Starting tomorrow, look for features coming up, including Classic Gaming Wednesday for the past two weeks, as well as some stories that are lighting up the gaming world right now... including the apparent downsizing of the mega-gaming event known as "E3..."

So, stay tuned!