Tag Archives: gaming

Crackdown 2 on Xbox 360 Review

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Crackdown 2 is about to hit the stores and we were lucky enough to get a review copy early. Community member (and professional DJ) Dan Guru-Meditation Wood was kind enough to play the game for a while and then create a video review for all of us to enjoy.

The story for the game takes place in Pacific City which is filled with infected humans who attempt to kill anything that gets in their way. You alone have to attempt to save the city from certain doom. According to Dan, the disaster is of epic proportions, much like that found in I Am Legend and 28 Days.

Crackdown was one of the original titles released with the Xbox back in 2007. This game takes place some ten years later. The freaks have escaped from the research center they were contained in during the original release. The virus is now starting to spread through the city and affect the general population.

You join the game as the Agency goes back online and is trying to regain control over the city. Your character is one of the first agents who is back on the streets of Pacific City. There’s an interesting three-way power struggle within the game. Not only are you out to kill nearly anything that moves, you also have to dodge those who are after you and your blood.

The more Agility Orbs you collect throughout the game, the more your skill improves. Chasing them around as they fly through the air can be challenging, but the reward is very worth your effort. More kills mean more strength. The game rewards the player for doing things. THe more you do, the more your skill improves.

The game isn’t only about walking around and shooting people. You are trying to regain control of the city, remember? There will be a series of challenges you’ll have to complete.

This game has pretty much everything you could ask for: a great storyline, challenges and skill-ups, racing elements, third-person-shooter elements, awesome weapons and more!

By the way… according to about 80% of the commenters on YouTube, Dan has an amazing voice and should start a Lockergnome radio station. What do you think of that idea?

Are you a game reviewer, too? Can you produce high quality reviews for the Lockergnome Network? Let us know! Email my assistant and Community Manager Kat for details.

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Top 5 Tips for Game Developers

David is an active community member who goes by the handle Paru-Sama in our chat room. He is a budding game developer, and has some tips to pass along to those of you who are thinking of getting into the same field.

  • Play Video games. – You can’t go for a game developing career if you don’t have any idea what a game is or how the player plays it without experiencing it for your self. Game play and originality are the key factors of designing a game
  • Learn Scripting and Calculus. – The video game developing career involves A LOT of math along with the complications of scripting/coding. C++ is a powerful programming language, but I don’t recommend it as your first. It is very difficult to learn so I recommend learning easier programing languages that are made for beginners, such as Visual Basic.
  • Enroll in a Digital arts and Graphic Design or Multi Media course if you’re planning on being a Graphical Art Designer. – This is (In my opinion) the most enjoyable part of being a game developer as it employs your visual creativity and originality. 3Dmax and Maya are two of the tools used in this course. There is also a program called “zBrush” which is a 3d sculpting program. This uses your dexterity instead of your calculating abilities to build 3D models. There are also other graphical programs used in this course such as Photoshop from Adobe.
  • Try out open source software developing kits. – There are game developers that allow the community to twinkle with their games by giving them tools to make maps, mods or whole games . One popular game developer that does this as a strategy is Valve. If you buy a game from them, they will allow you to download the “Source SDK.” This is a software developing kit based on their game engine (called “the source engine”) which will allow you to map for a game that they already created – or make a game of your own.
  • Apply to be a video game beta tester. – This job is what the names says. You can get paid to play games in their early state as long as you give the developers some feedback about their games. This isn’t like you play a demo game and they pay you for it. It requires you to have a sharp eye and ears to spot some bugs and glitches. It also requires an ability to criticize the game. The feedback you give will help them improve the game’s gameplay.

If you’re a game designer, what other tips do you have for the Geeks in our community who plan to enter this field?

Eyefinity is Perfect for PC Gaming

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Yes, I like to drive a big truck with the pedal to the metal. Eighteen wheels will be rolling until the break of dawn. I decided to try my hands at playing the Rig’n’Roll game on my sweet ATI Eyefinity setup. Running in 5760×1080 resolution is just… beautiful. I know I use that word a lot, but it seriously applies here.

Eyefinity isn’t just a multi-monitor setup. It’s considered to be a single large surface (SLS). In order to get the full experience for this game (and others) with the Eyefinity technology, I asked Logitech to send along the G27 Racing Wheel. This has a four-speed steering wheel, and flippers that allow me to change gears. There’s up to six gear settings on the gear shift. There are other controls that can be mapped to different views, in conjunction with your Eyefinity setup.

Yes, there are three screens hooked up to this computer. However, the important thing is that the operating system sees it as ONE screen. Eyefinity won’t only work with this particular game. It can make your experience with any game about a hundred times better.

I have to thank the team at AMD for hooking me up so that I can experience the beauty that is Eyefinity in my own home. Playing the game with perfect resolution across three screens this way is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s nearly impossible to translate to you via a video or text. You just have to try it for yourself.

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Play With a Kinect Demo in Microsoft Stores

The Microsoft Store announced via their Twitter account earlier today that the Kinect demo is ready to play with in their stores. Sadly, there are only four Microsoft stores in this country. If you don’t live close to one of them, you’re out of luck.

Kinect is a system that does away with controllers entirely, instead using technology to scan players, detecting motions as subtle as a smile or a frown. This is impressive, but the slight delay between movements and onscreen effect is something to be concerned about.

Are you looking forward to Kinect’s launch? Do you think this is a device that could change gaming forever?

When Gamers Give Back, it Makes a Difference

Mario Marathon is an event that takes place once a year to help raise money for Child’s Play Charity. Child’s Play is an organization that sends books, toys and supplies to young patients of hospitals worldwide. Beginning June 25th 2010 at 11:00 Eastern, you can tune in to watch the guys scramble to save countless princesses.

The goal is to raise as much money as possible throughout the event for the charity. None of the donations go through the players – it all goes directly to Child’s Play. The more money raised, the longer these guys have to play Mario. There are over 800 levels across the nine Mario games chosen for the Mario Marathon 3. Your donations determine how many of those levels the team will complete.

In Lafayette, Indiana, Brian, John and Chris take turns sleeping and playing the games throughout the weekend. They use a video capture card to show what’s on the TV game-wise, as well as a camera to view them in the living room. The live streaming event is hosted by Ustream.TV. While the event is going on, they will have several contests for the viewers to participate in for a chance at prizes. These events will be spread out during the event where you could win by tweeting, skyping in, or just being a viewer.

If you want to help out with the event, promote it as much as possible. Tweet out the information, blog about it, and get your friends interested on Facebook. The more people who know, the more viewers and possible donations Child’s Play can receive. Remember, the more you donate, the more time they spend cracking down on the controller to entertain you and give back to the community.

When gamers give back it makes a difference!

Eyefinity Setup Review

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I recently attended the 1C Company “nother Night in Moscow 2010″event. While there, I had the opportunity to talk with Shane from the AMD team. We were standing in front of a huge ATI Eyefinity multi-monitor display, giving us the perfect opportunity to introduce you to this technology if you’ve yet to witness what it can do. Playing games (such as those titles from the 1C Company) with a setup such as this is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.

What’s interesting to me is that the 1C Company approached AMD and asked them to be a sponsor. They were that excited about this technology. At the time, none of their games were able to work with Eyefinity. However, they worked quickly to bring the titles up to speed.

The genius of Eyefinity is that you can connect it to monitor as long as the video card is Eyefinity enabled. You can set them up in three or six-panel configurations. You can choose to use it in either portrait or landscape mode. It’s customizable to fit your needs and lifestyle. Don’t think you’re limited to only playing games with this amazing multi-display technology. Imagine the amount of work you’ll be able to get done if you had this much seamless screen real estate.

I am a person who needs a multi-monitor setup due to the amount of things going on on my desktop at any given moment. I totally get the need for Eyefinity technology to increase productivity. Since I am not much of a gamer myself, it literally astounded me to see how the games spread out so perfectly across the monitors. There aren’t any “gaps” or breaks in what you’re seeing. With many titles, you’ll often even see more of a game than you ever possibly could without the usage of Eyefinity.

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Xbox Fail

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In conjunction with the E3 event, I am now a part of a super elite group of Xbox 360 enthusiasts. We were hand-selected by Microsoft to receive advanced (beta) copies of games. If you’d like to join the group, you can submit your application for the “Red Ring Club” online.

With any luck, you’ll be able to play it at some point in the future. I know you’re jealous and can’t wait to get your hands on this. The lines are likely already forming down the block.

Don’t be a hater just because you haven’t gotten this yet. I’m sure that at some point, you’ll get your turn. Just be patient, young grasshopper.

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Super Mario Bros Crossover Will Bring You Back to the Future

I’ve said many times over the years that I’m only a casual gamer. I don’t play any of the new-fangled games that you guys seem to be addicted to. I enjoy a few hours of Tetris, sure. However, I have to admit I miss the old days. I LOVED the original games that I lost myself in for hours: Asteroid, Super Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong and even PitFall. These classic games are hard to beat, even with the amazing graphics we have in games today.

Thank god we now have Super Mario Brothers Crossover to keep me sane. The game is a remake of the first Mario game, but with six playable 80s-era characters. This awesome little slice of heaven mixes the classic platform levels with the variously controlled platform heroes from other franchises.

You’ll find some pretty cool characters to play around with, including Bill R from Contra (who shoots directionally) and Mega Man with his blaster. Samus from Metroid will turn into a ball and drop bombs. Mario is still starring as himself, of course. The cast is rounded out with Link and Simon Belmont from Castlevania.

I admit I’m already hooked. God only knows how long this game will be available, so I’ve been playing every chance I get. It may sound too “old school” for you based on my description. However, that’s exactly what I like about it so much. This game takes me back… while bringing me right smack into the future at the same time. Can you imagine the gaming possibilities if other games you love were to combine characters as this one has?

Tap Tap Radiation

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Tap Tap Radiation is a free iPad app in the iTunes store. I admit to getting completely caught up in this game. It’s more fun and addictive than you might realize! I even sang along with it!

You can play along with a song already in the library, or create a whole new track of your own. You can even download about 30 free tracks in the app store, including songs by Pink and Lady GaGa!

With four difficulty levels to choose from, Tap Tap Radiation creates intense single player action for music enthusiasts and gamers of any age. At this point in time, the game is only a single-player one. However, perhaps in the future we’ll see the ability to play against others. For now, you can always grab a friend and have them help you since the iPad screen is so big!

If you know of other cool games for the iPad, let me know. I’d love to check them out and possibly review them here on my blog.

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What is the Future of Arcades?

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Arcades. That’s such a beautiful word which brings back a lot of good memories for me. I spent as much time as possible during my younger days in the local video game arcade, feeding quarters into my favorite machines. Eric called from California the other night to talk about the olden days, and to ask my thoughts on where the future of arcades in the U.S. is heading.

I know that in some countries, game arcades are still a huge deal. I honestly think it’s the social aspect that attracts people. However, I’m not sure why we aren’t as social here anymore. Have we really turned in to a country that would rather just stay inside alone, rather than have to interact with others? I hate the thought of that.

I do still love classic games. Heck, I have a video game system right in my office! I can’t begin to count up how many hours I spent shooting things in Asteroids, or trying to rescue the princess in Donkey Kong. We cannot leave out PacMan, Mario and so many other awesome games, either.

Do you still play classic arcade games? Do you GO to an arcade, or do you prefer to play games in the confinement of your home?

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