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For many years I’ve been an appreciator of video game music.  From the bleeps and bloops of Sonic and Mario to the symphonic glory of Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid, I’ve always known there is something special about game music.  Alongside game music, the driving ferocity of metal has been the forerunner of my “conventional” musical taste for a comparable amount of time.  This is the story about how those two worlds met in perfect harmony. Read more… »

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Ever played Pokemon?  I never cared for it myself, but I couldn’t ignore the card game, at least for the 3 months I worked at Gamestop. Didn’t Nintendo sell a ka-billion copies of Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald for the Gameboy Advance? Oh, and did I mention the dozen feature length movies and manga based on that yellow fuzzy uh .. thing?

Well if you don’t know where I’m going with this by now I’ll spell it out for you: if you want to see the future of video games as it relates to storyline and characters, you need look no further than your local comic book shop, electronics store and movie theater, or you can take it a step further and head to the Florida Supercon on June 5th, 6th and 7th in sunny Miami, Florida. Read more… »

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East India Company is a new upcoming naval warfare RTS from Nitro Games and Paradox Interactive.  Set upon the high seas, you command a fleet of ships and battle with rival companies for supremacy of trade routes.  Managing and maintaining a maritime monopoly is the name of the game.  Will East India Company have you shivering timbers or leave you with a soggy case of scurvy?  Read on for more about my sneak peek of the game.

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There has always been an uneasy and invisible tension between the gaming media and the creative industry itself that feeds us. As is the situation with movies, books and music, both the creators and the critics are in a tenable position where both require the other to survive. Without the developers, sites like ours would not exist, and without us, developers couldn’t promote their games, putting them in a state of strange limbo where indie devs are competing on a level playing field. The humanity!

Thus, its no surprise that like in any other industry, that sometimes things flair up and controversies ensue. What’s interesting though, that in this new media landscape, none of this can be hidden in the backhalls of offices anymore. PR agencies can try all they like, but its usually the passionate players on both ends that turn to the general public to decide who is right, or wrong, in the matter at hand. This is what happened this week in the very public fight between Eurogamer and the developers of new MMO Darkfall.

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It’s unlikely that if you were a gamer during the nineties that you didn’t play some sort of Final Fantasy title. From the NES, to the SNES and finally onto the Sony based trio, the series has had a long and intense history of fantastic and consistent innovation and creativity. Regardless of your personal opinion on each title, there’s probably at least one of the games that you’ve played and enjoyed. Whether its the creativity in character development, the expansive plot lines, gut wrenchingly beautiful graphics or expansive music score, there’s always something memorable about an FF title.

Do I think that the Final Fantasy series is one of the most important in modern gaming history? Yes. Why? Read on.

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columbine

In 2005, a filmmaker named Danny Ledonne was inspired to make an RPG using the program RPG Maker 2000, wherein the player assumes the roles of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold – the shooters in 1999′s Columbine High School Massacre. The incident revolved around two boys who planned to go on a massive killing spree at their high school. They managed to injure twenty-four people and take thirteen lives, before taking their own. In Super Columbine Massacre RPG!, you will see a re-enactment of that day from the shooters’ perspectives.

The idea, according to Ledonne, is to explore the elusive question of “why” Harris and Klebold perpetuated such a violent act. SCMRPG was made to show us a different perspective on the question of “why” and introduce the situation into moral shades of gray, while not trivializing the entire event or glorifying the shooters. Here’s the most important question, though: Did Danny Ledonne succeed?

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I’m sure many of you have sat down with a couple of fellow gamers and argued over the epic questions. One of those might have been regarding what the most successful console has been when it comes to game sales. So what I did was pour over a ridiculous amount of sales and console data to provide you with the answers, and the outcome I eventually developed is one that might surprise a few people. Not only that, but the list that follows behind it is equally as intriguing and controversial.

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My experience with Bionic Commando has been limited, but then again hasn’t everyone’s? The original game for the Nintendo Entertainment System was far too hard for a five-year-old to complete, so I never went far beyond renting the game once or twice then crying to my Dad who couldn’t beat it either. Thankfully the demo for the upcoming Bionic Commando is not the single player, and perhaps I’ll do a bit better when I pick up the game next month.

I took an hour to check out the new Demo for the X360, impressions after the jump.

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A Boy and his PSP
By: | April 28th, 2009

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Back in 2005, in the midst of a stormy Thanksgiving break, I came to a decision.  For weeks I’d seriously contemplated the purchase of a PSP, weighing the appurtenant merits and demerits of such a (for me) hefty expenditure, and in the end I came down on the side of indulgence; practicality and common sense, far less gratifying, were peremptorily shown the door.

For, the handheld’s immediate appeal lay less in its then-meager library than in that same, nigh on irresistible charm to which so many new gadgets lay claim: it was just so damned neat.  I had precious little genuine need for a portable gaming platform, and its lineup back then hadn’t even begun to show the promise that it’s fulfilled in the years since – it was simply that the thing was too cool not to buy.

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I am: Left4Dead
By: | April 27th, 2009

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This week in I am, I get twitchy with Left 4 Dead‘s new survival mode, in which myself and three other players must hold out as long as possible against an endless horde of infected. Things get tricky as we’re assaulted by dozens of enemies at a time, often including multiple boss infected per wave. Hit the jump for a play by play of the action, multiple instances of gender confusion, and a few examples of what not to do during a zombie apocalypse.

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Confused by Controversy…
By: | April 24th, 2009

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As aspirations go being the winning triple point score word in a tie-break game of Scrabble may not ever appear on the pages of an English student filling an hours worth of support-teacher led lesson detailing what they want to be when they grow up, and anyone wishing that to be so may well find themselves being slowly squeezed out and ostracized by their peers until they eventually end up on the evening news being named as the one responsible for all the people shaped chalk outlines in the school gym.

Having seemingly failed sniper school and being bereft of Glock, controversy has instead gone for a complete make-over, and now stands as a powerful but misunderstood tool in the world of selling and marketing. Need to shift something really quick and get the money to Fat Tony before you lose your toes? Get a backdrop, a bucket or two of blood and a lady of questionable, but affordable, morals and shove the whole thing on a billboard and breathe a sigh of relief as the sales stave off the equestrian wake-up call pencilled in for the morning. Read more… »

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When’s the last time you had to close your DS because your friends walked in on you playing Pokemon? Have you ever been caught by your girlfriend playing a particularly racy anime game? Guilty Gaming is a new feature that chronicles my sometimes guilty-pleasure related gaming habits, which could include anything from games that are universally hated by critics and gamers alike, or titles that most people wouldn’t be caught dead playing.

Say hello to Hello Kitty in: Sanrio Smash Ball. Read more… »