New Video Game Releases Week 22 (30 May – 5 June)

Hey there guys. Below you’ll find the new video game releases from 2 May to 8 May. Please note that this list is always subject to change and as such is not an absolute reference.

Title Platform Genre Release Date
Dawn of Fantasy   PC Strategy Jun 3, 2011  
Call of Duty: Black Ops – Escalation   PC Action Jun 2, 2011  
The Next Big Thing   MAC Adventure Jun 2, 2011  
Curse of Slate Rock Manor   PC Adventure Jun 1, 2011  
Chronicles of Merlin   PC Role-Playing May 31, 2011  
Hunted: The Demon’s Forge   PC Action May 31, 2011  
Ducati Challenge   IP Driving May 31, 2011  
Get Up Family Game Sports   WII Sports May 31, 2011  
Duke Nukem: Critical Mass
 
DS Action May 31, 2011  
Ducati Challenge   PSP Driving May 31, 2011  
Ducati Challenge HD   IP Driving May 31, 2011  
Cities in Motion: Tokyo   PC Simulation May 31, 2011  
Prius Online   PC Role-Playing May 31, 2011  
Hunted: The Demon’s Forge
 
PS3 Action May 31, 2011  
Hunted: The Demon’s Forge
 
X360 Action May 31, 2011  
The Sims 3: Generations   PC Puzzle May 31, 2011  
BioShock 2: Minerva’s Den   PC Action May 31, 2011  
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II   3DS Action May 31, 2011  
BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II   PSP Action May 31, 2011  
Koya Rift   PC Action May 31, 2011  
House M.D. – Episode 1: Globetrotting   DS Puzzle May 30, 2011  
Valet Parking 1989   DS Driving May 30, 2011  
FAST – Racing League   WII Driving May 30, 2011  
Soon Serenade   PC Role-Playing May 30, 2011  
B Team – Episode 1: Dust & Steel   DS Action May 30, 2011  

Nothing this week of any interest to me. Anything for you on this list? 

/Niels

What You Didn’t Know About Nintendo

Hey there guys, just a short post today as I’m busy studying and working on my final paper. With all the recent fuss about Sony I thought it was time that we mentioned Nintendo again. Below you’ll find some interesting and fun facts about Nintendo as a company. Enjoy!

Interesting Look At Nintendo Company

/Niels

Brink – Living Up To The Expectations?

Rising sea levels, humanity on the brink of extinction (see what I did there?) and rebellious organisations: Is it surprising that ‘Brink’, a shooter that is set in a decrepit paradise, touches a sensitive chord with anyone that is concerned with the future of our planet? I don’t know! I’m only here to tell you about the game itself and if it manages to fill in those mile-high expectations that the game has set for itself.

‘Brink’ starts off just as perfect as ‘The Ark’, the metropolitan island where all the action takes place. The fancy intro shows how the Ark came to be, and then moves on to showing the harsh reality: After the apocalyps the Ark, once a beautiful dream, became a nightmare. Two factions are on the brink of war (I did it again! ahem …). ‘Security’ is trying to save the project by restoring order on the island. ‘The Resistance’ on the other hand is trying to get away from the Ark 
 Naturally, the two factions are in conflict with each other. Is the battle of the brave law enforcement against the aggressive aggressors (boy, I’m in the mood today). Or are the rebels the heroes of the Ark, who form the last line of defense against the fascist government? Both sides pick their own truth. The player also gets to choose a side, and their class in the massacre that will no doubt follow. Players are able to choose from Soldier, Operative, Medic and Engineer
Globalists on steroids

The creation of your character is pretty extensive: face, clothing and equipment can be customised to the fullest, combine this with a bunch of realistic tattoos, shirts, accessoires and trousers and you’ve got thousands of ways to customize your character. Sad thing is that in the end, you’ll all look pretty much the same anyway. The colours however often make it difficult to make the difference between friend and foe in the multiplayer. Another annoyance is the fact that most customizations are just not available from the start of the game. Bethesda chose to make most of these unlockable through multiplayer. Fortunatly, if you play well and you fullfill your objectives you’ll earn a lot of experience points quick enough to buy whatever you want.

The rebels look a bit like they participated in the protest actions against the G8-summits or the climate conferences. They wear hockeymasks or bandanas that protect their face – although the Brink variant of protesters took a lot more steroids than their real world counterparts. The Security faction can go different ways as well: you can choose between short hear à la commando style or run around with rasta’s. Your choice.

Once you’ve chosen your faction, class, weapon and character, the fun starts. Or should start at least. In single player, the missions are a good way to get a feel for the controls, but that’s all really. The single player missions are the same maps and assignments as in the multiplayer mode. Which is really lame … most First Person Shooters don’t have a great single player campaign, but this is just taking the piss.  The SMART-option on the other hand is a fun feature. With 1 bash on the left bumper your character gains to freedom to spring or sneak across the terrain. This parkour style of gameplay is pretty fun but could’ve gotten more attention in the multiplayer section where only a few maps really allow for a good, fun use of this feature. This is a shame really, as the parkour style gameplay is supposed to be one of the selling points of the game.

Multiplayer is still the most fun 

I discussed the multiplayer briefly already above but I’ll go a bit more in-depth now. Brink’s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. The game brings the use of teamplay and the difference between classes together beautifully, albeit a bit dull at times. Every player/class has to work together to achieve the set objectives, and effectively win the game. Medics can revive team members, soldiers can blow shit up and so on. A team has to be well-balanced in order to achieve the objectives of the game, and some goals are only attainable by a single class.

Teamplaying is an absolute must in this game, which can get pretty annoying if you end up playing with randoms.

All in all Brink is a pretty decent distraction for a while but gets boring pretty quick, for me at least. The experience is dulled down further when you realise Brink set such high expectations for itself while most don’t get filled in, which is a shame.

Look below for a trailer. Enjoy

 /Niels

Fox News Attacks NEA for Classifying Games as Art

This article was just posted on The Escapist. Looks like Fox News is continuing its crusade against video games after the recent attack on Duke Nukem. Read it for yourself below:

Recently, the U.S. federally-funded National Endowment for the Arts changed its criteria for what it considered art, adding “interactive games.” This means that a videogame developer can now apply for a grant to develop a not-for-proft artistic or educational game that “enhances the public good” in accordance with the NEA’s guidelines, just as filmmakers and other content producers can. Fox News took the opportunity to jump on the change, developing a short segment that attacks the federal government for funding videogames. image

To its credit, Fox News brought in editor-in-chief of Icrontic Brian Ambrozy, who actually knew what he was talking about. Fox pitted him against radio talk-show host Neal Asbury, whose intention was obviously to ignore the facts and spout rhetoric.

Not to its credit, the very first line of the Fox News segment set a poor tone that would continue through to the end. “Should the videogame Call of Duty get federal funding,” the host asks, while showing violent clips of the game. Anyone that had done their basic research on the NEA’s guidelines would know that Call of Duty isn’t anywhere remotely close to getting federal funding. This line is either ignorantly or intentionally manipulative, which in either case is extremely disappointing coming from one of the nation’s most popular news outlets.

Ambrozy does his best to express this fact, but is somewhat overshadowed by the loud, outspoken words of Asbury. “Hey, maybe we should start giving taxpayer money to ping-pong players,” Asbury says, not seeming to understand that a ping-pong player and a videogame developer are two entirely different professions. He adds that organizations like the NEA are “stretching the limits of wastefulness,” becoming a “perversion” of what they were originally intended to be, all in regards to the changed criteria.

Ambrozy comes back pointing out that videogames and entertainment in general generate billions of dollars per year, and that an NEA-funded videogame could perhaps inspire the population to become involved in artistic or technical professions related to videogame development. Asbury replies with more wasteful spending quotes, saying: “President Obama wants to raise my taxes to pay for videogames?”

Nowhere is it ever acknowledged that Call of Duty and games like it are not going to receive taxpayer dollars. The intent of the segment seems as if it was meant to take a dig at the current leaders of the U.S. government using factually incorrect information and an over-animated critic, rather than a look at what’s actually occurring in reality.

The worst part is that these sorts of segments, though less than 5 minutes long, affect people. Someone is probably in an argument right now about how the government is using taxpayer dollars to fund Call of Duty, and that simply isn’t the case. Not every game is art, but interactive media can absolutely be developed in an educational or artistic way, and that’s all the NEA is recognizing. It’s sad that media outlets are still using the general ignorance of the public about the broad spectrum that videogames now encompass for their own ends.

The Fox News segment can be viewed here

Some comments I read about Fox News just say it all for me. Reactions range from ‘Stupid people are a class above Fox News’ to ‘Fox News is the hitler of the internet’. I doubt we’ve seen the last of this.

/Niels

New Video Game Releases Week 21 (23 – 29 May)

Hey there guys. Below you’ll find the new video game releases from 2 May to 8 May. Please note that this list is always subject to change and as such is not an absolute reference.

Title Platform Genre Release Date Publisher
Faxion Online PC Role-Playing May 26, 2011   UTV True Games
Aion 2.5: Empyrean Calling PC Role-Playing May 25, 2011   NCsoft
Crazy Machines WII Puzzle May 25, 2011   Mentor Interactive
Duke Nukem: Critical Mass DS Action May 25, 2011   Deep Silver
Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game DS Action May 24, 2011   THQ
King Arthur Collection PC Puzzle May 24, 2011   Paradox Interactive
Emily The Strange DS Action May 24, 2011   Conspiracy Entertainment
Paws & Claws: Pampered Pets 2 DS Puzzle May 24, 2011   THQ
Cake Mania: Main Street DS Puzzle May 24, 2011   Majesco Games
Murder in Venice DS Puzzle May 24, 2011   City Interactive
Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game PS3 Action May 24, 2011   THQ
Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game WII Action May 24, 2011   THQ
Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale PC Role-Playing May 24, 2011   Atari
LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game PC Action May 24, 2011   Disney Interactive Studios
DiRT 3 PC Driving May 24, 2011   Codemasters
Dead or Alive: Dimensions 3DS Action May 24, 2011   Koei
DiRT 3 X360 Driving May 24, 2011   Codemasters
NASCAR 2011: The Game WII Driving May 24, 2011   Activision
Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale X360 Role-Playing May 24, 2011   Atari
Kung Fu Panda 2: The Video Game X360 Action May 24, 2011   THQ
DiRT 3 PS3 Driving May 24, 2011   Codemasters
99Bullets DS Action May 23, 2011   EnjoyUp Games

Which games are you getting this week?

/Niels

Belgian Gamers Planning To Open ‘University Of Gaming’

Gamers Bachir Boumaaz and Reese Leysen hope to open a topsportschool for gamers beginning next academy year. They say “it’s not our intention to let students just play games. We want to learn them how to play them better. This teaches you to think in a way that makes it easier to solve problems. Even if you don’t became a professional gamer, you’d have still learned a lot.”

Just one hour after the promoclip for the ‘University of Gaming’ was released, thousands of applications were already submitted. “That says something about the potential of a gamingschool”, says Boumaaza, who made gaming his profession.

Leysen, the spokesperson of the university, tries to explain the use of a school like this. “You can build a real career with gaming, and by being a gaming coach. And for those who don’t manage to do this you could also become a games commentator. There are a lot of people who earn their money by commentating on how top players go about their business. E-sports is big business. Top players are sponsored by known brands, they get special keyboards and mice. These companies also pay for advertisement spaces of popular top gamer websites.”

‘Athene’, the alias of Boumaaza in the gaming world, gets a lot of attention by playing games such as World Of Warcraft and Call Of Duty. Thousands of viewers watch him on his personal YouTube channel.

Bachir Boumaaza and Reese Leysen hope to establish this university in Antwerp or Gent. They plan a whole academy years with actual classes in real classrooms, 4 days a week. Different courses would be taught, among those would be psychology, neurology, self-development and the social dynamics of games. “We don’t want to transfer ginormous amounts of information. We just want to make sure people get the chance to excel in whatever direction they choose in life.”

Price of this education hasn’t been set in stone yet. “1000 euros or less”, is what they’re going for.

I personally think the idea of a gaming academy is great, but I’m not sure these 2 are the right people for it really. Athene comes across as a media horny little twat to be honest, who has limited experience with different fields in gaming. He calls himself the best paladin in the world (World of Warcraft), just read this little outtake from his website:

Holding several world records in World of Warcraft and having proven to be the world’s one and only undefeated PvP champion, Athene (aka the 1337 King) officially owns the game in all senses of the word. He spends most of his days living the glorious life of a pro gamer and pwning noobs – the word “noobs” in this case referring to all other players in the game, because even so-called pro’s die like little slags when facing off against him.

Really, I wouldn’t want to be taught by this guy, it would annoy the crap out of me. Although the idea is good, I’m doubtful of the execution and the fact that there might be little to no interest from the rest of the academic world here in Belgium. Either way, I think it has a lot of potential, but real teachers and professionals should be hired to teach people who are willing to learn. After watching the introduction video, it looks a lot like a self-promotional campagne. Alright enough scepticism from me, watch the video for yourself and let me know what you think in the comment section below!

/Niels

The Duke Returns After A Decade

Duke Nukem was the kings of all games during the 90’s. Even for the younger generation this game should ring a bell. Unfortunately, a sequel was never released. Until now! Or well, June 2011. In a couple of weeks ‘Duke Nukem Forever’ will be unleashed upon the world to kick ass and chew bubblegum. And this time, he has plenty of that to go around. Oh, and a lot of epic one-liners too.

 A lot has changed in the world of video games over the years. Though, when we look at the boxart for Duke Nukem Forever we all get warped back to those good old days. It looks like Duke Nukem has never been gone. But, the developers had to carry A LOT of coals to Newcastle for the game to be released. Even the release of the current version has been postponed, but it looks like we’ll finally get to play this long-awaited sequel on 10 June.
 
Duke owes his sequel to Gearbox Software, the company that bought the rights to the title and developed the game in cooperation with 2K games. Owner Randy Pitchford has this to say about Duke Nukem Forever: ‘For the younger generation, this is the first chance to meet the Duke. Although I’m sure they already knew him from before the release’. Pitchford is convinced that Duke Nukem Forever will be on the top of everyone’s wish list (Which might be hard considering the game is rated 18+, and received a lot of criticism).
 
For everyone who played a previous installment of Duke Nukem this game will bring back memories and drowns you in nostalgia. The game takes place a couple of years after Duke saved the world. After this feat of strength he became world-famous and did everything that a mere mortal can only dream of. He built a casino, climbed the Mount Everest, became an actor and a boxing champion ánd he walked on the moon. Duke is currently living in Las Vegas in the company of 2 girls (read: busty women). One thing was missing though … a video game. Just like in the real world, the game was delayed for years but he can finally play it now … until the aliens return to out planet.
 
This time, they managed to convince the president that they come in peace. A short time later though they’re on the brink of destroying the world. Duke has to give up his retirement in order to kick ass one more time. According to Pitchford, the basis of the game is still the same: Everything that seems normal and serious in Duke’s world is extremely funny from out point of view (You will shit bricks sometimes). Apparently, the single player will also be around 15 hours long, which is more than we get from most shooters these days *cough* Homefront *cough*.

This is a major trial for the whole Duke Nukem franchise. The question remains if the game can re-conquer its spot after a decade of absence? Graphics-wise it looks decent, but not impressive. I read reports of people who played the demo version who said that the graphics get a bit blurry during the action but that remains to be seen really. A comparison with Bulletstorm is only just around the corner for most gamers. Bulletstorm is a decent game that got its fair share of criticism and praising. Question is if Duke Nukem Forever will arrive at a bad time after a title like Bulletstorm.

Pitchford had something to say about this as well: ‘Bulletstorm is a fun game, but games are like movies … there’s always room for multiple blockbusters. I remember that Lord Of The Rings and Harry Potter released in the same week and that I watched both in that week.” On top of that, Pitchford is proud that the developers of Bulletstorm compare their game with Duke Nukem. He said it was a smart marketing strategy.

“Bulletstorm had its own kind of humour, Duke Nukem continues on the same path as before. Every detail is worth looking at.” I know I’ll stop to read signs and tin cans with funny labels on them!

Everything in the game seems to revolve around Duke’s ego that can be increased by performing all kinds of acting like looking in the mirror, reading an adult magazine or even by peeing. Duke Nukem Forever looks like its going to score better points on the level of detail than Bulletstorm did.

We only really have info about the demo, which is only a small outtake of the real deal. We’ll all have to wait until 10 June to get our greedy hands on a copy. Maybe this time we won’t have to wait a decade for another Duke Nukem game. If it’s up to Pitchford we won’t be waiting all too long …

/Niels