Thursday, December 23, 2010

Back to the Future: It’s About Time Review

Back to the Future: Episode 1 - It’s About Time
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Genre: Point-and-Click Adventure
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Platforms: PC, iPad and PlayStation 3 (TBD)

In my last post, I said would be posting a review of the first episode in the five episode series of Back to the Future by Telltale Games. I posted this thinking that games almost always are released on the Tuesday of the week. Half-way through the day, I realized that Back to the Future wouldn’t be released until Wednesday, December 22 (the next day). So that afternoon, I went and saw Tron: Legacy with my brother. I will be posting a review of the film sometime during the weekend after the Christmas festivities, but I’ll also be using that time to watch the first Tron, a film I haven’t seen in over 10 years.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It’s a Christmas Miracle

The Holiday Steam Sale just went live today, and I don’t think its hyperbole to say that every single game is on sale. The sale runs until January 2nd, but you can find new daily deals each day. Here is a list of today’s featured games:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2010 VGA Picks

The list of nominations for this year’s Spike Video Game Awards was released today. After going through the list, it really reminds me of how much of a great year in gaming its been. While there are some obscure nominations (Danica Patrick as Herself in Blur for "Best Performance by Human Female”), generally all the nominations I agree with. So while these might not become actually winners, they are who I would choose.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sometimes I wish I was a Console Gamer

I love being a PC gamer. The number of reasons why PC gaming is superb is more than just a handful, as opposed to what console gamers might suggest. Mouse and keyboard support is the most precise control on any system. The ability to switch DPI on the fly for sniping is invaluable. An analog stick on a controller just doesn’t match. High resolutions and true HD gaming are a standard for the PC. While consoles of this generation are just now approaching 1080p, resolutions of 1280x1024 and higher have been a staple of PC gaming since the early 2000s. The fact that resolutions range as high as 2560x1440 nowadays shows how far ahead PC gaming is in terms of computing power and graphics. The modding community is a strong sub-culture in PC gaming. Fans of many games have taken their existing architecture and used them to create new maps, weapons, items, or entire new games. Counter-Strike originally started as a mod for Half-Life, and it grew into a full fledge title. The number of mods that can be found for Unreal, Quake, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, StarCraft, Fallout, and many more games show that while the shelf-life of a title is finite, the modding community can extend it’s prevalence to near infinite.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Best Parts

So after pouring over the 72-page transcript of yesterday’s Supreme Court case of Schwarzenegger v. EMA, a couple of things surprised me. As much as I’ve feared what could be a worst-possible-situation, the Justices seemed to hover on the side of reason and common sense rather than protectionism. The Justices also seemed to be much more familiar with the games industry and the games within than the California lawyers were. Over the course of the hour proceedings, it showed that some of the briefs filed by organizations, such as the ECA, did have a favorable effect for the case. I wanted to highlight a couple of quotes that I think standout and sum up the oral arguments. These are direct quotes taken from the case transcript which can be found here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Firefall Trailer Shows the Future of Free-to-Play

A new trailer was released earlier today for the upcoming free-to-play game Firefall, which was first revealed during PAX 2010 back in September. Developed by Red 5 Studios (awesome name for a development house), the game is a combination MMO persistence with FPS features. Red 5 Studios was founded by Mark Kern, former World of Warcraft team lead back in 2005. While not much is known about gameplay, Red 5 has said that the game will feature, “large, open-world cooperative campaign that can be shared with hundreds of other players as well as a competitive multiplayer component that incorporates things like ladders, tournaments, clans and leagues.” The art style is similar to that of the hit game Borderlands, using a mixture of cell-shading and stylized art to create a feeling one might find in comic books. While the free-to-play in past has been overrun with second-rate games, the trend has shown that AAA titles can use the same business model, and Firefall is just another example of this.Firefall will be available for PC sometime during the fourth quarter of 2011.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Not Everything Needs Multiplayer

Multiplayer is a strong feature on games and consoles since its first inception on the Sega Dreamcast back in 1999. As the console generations have matured and grown, multiplayer had a foothold on the generation as a way of bringing together gamers over long distances to play their favorite games together. Halo and the Call of Duty franchises are at the forefront of multiplayer games. The wide-spread popularity and the polished and refined gameplay helped keep these games among the top played games online. So when other game companies see the kind of numbers these multiplayer franchises are getting, they want a piece of the pie as well.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

BlizzCon 2010: Recap and Impressions

After my week from hell, I was so happy to get away for a weekend and head down to Anaheim for this year’s Blizzcon. In case you live with earmuffs and blinders on, Blizzcon is an annual convention held by Blizzard Entertainment to celebrate their games and fans. Some of the biggest names in gaming are created by Blizzard, specifically their main three franchises, Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Busiest Week Ever

This is going to be a small update since I still have to pack and get things in order. My midterms were this week and I swear I’ve never been more stressed in at least the last five years. However, that’s all done and now I have the weekend to look forward to. Yes, I’ll be heading to BlizzCon in Anaheim, CA. BlizzCon is an annual convention for fans of games created by Blizzard Entertainment. This includes World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. I will be posting daily updates on what’s happening on both my Twitter and Facebook, so be sure to keep those bookmarked. If you have any questions you want me to ask, feel free to send those along too. This is a great way to end a really heinous week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between

Ah what a week it has been. This post will be a little less journalistic than my others and more of covering what I’ve been playing lately. This post was supposed to be up last week but one of the topics here will explain why it’s up today instead.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Call of Duty: Black Ops Singleplayer Trailer is Intense

When you think of the Call of Duty franchise the first thing that pops in many people's head is multiplayer. So much so that the same logic is being applied to the new Medal of Honor, which released today. Multiplayer has been a huge feature for the series since its inception and it shows no sign of stopping with the introduction of Call of Duty points and wager matches in Call of Duty: Black Ops. Singleplayer, on the other hand, has had more of a throw away feel to it. Many of the narratives told in Call of Duty games are derivative, short, and don’t have much impact on the game as a whole. However, with Call of Duty: Black Ops, this may change. Treyarch released a singleplayer trailer last night and it shows a heavy focus on secrecy, deception, and playing the lone wolf in missions that have been stricken from the record. Call of Duty: Black Ops will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Nintendo Wii, and DS on November 9, 2010.

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Batman: Arkham City Screenshots are Gorgeous

New York Comic-Con just finished up this weekend and Rocksteady, the developer working on the upcoming sequel to the 2009 game of the year Batman: Arkham Asylum, released some screenshots detailing Gotham City and its environments. Due sometime in 2011, Batman: Arkham City will take place outside of the Asylum (though in what capacity is unknown) and will feature the talent of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill’s final performance as the Joker. Other characters appearing include Mr. Freeze, Talia al Ghul, Two-Face, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Call of Duty: Black Ops Outsells Modern Warfare 2 in Pre-Orders, and in 3D

In November 2009, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, developed by the now shell of its former self Infinity Ward, set the pre-order record by selling nearly 3 million copies before its release. Day one says reached almost 5 million between the US and UK, generating $310 million in revenue and making it the biggest entertainment launch in history. The game went on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide and amass over $1 billion in sales.

But that was so last year. The newest iteration of the annualized Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops, is already shaping up to break records set by last year’s model. GameStop’s Senior Vice President of Merchandising Bob McKenzie told Gamasutra that the game is looking to overtake where Modern Warfare 2 was last year.

“GameStop is tracking to all-time, record reservations on Call of Duty: Black Ops. We are ahead of where we were with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 last year, which previously set the industry standard.”

Treyarch, who is developing Black Ops, also announced this week that game would ship with support for stereoscopic 3D for all platforms. VG247 had a first hand experience with the 3D enabled version, which you can read about here. A 3D TV and 3D glasses are still required, but it is a nice gesture for early adopters who have already invested in 3D technology for the home.

I haven’t played a Call of Duty game since 2003 when the first one was released, so I’ll be picking up Black Ops, though I’m not sure how close it will come to actually breaking Modern Warfare 2’s record-setting sales. EA’s reboot of the Medal of Honor franchise, being released on October 12, is sure to take some of Black Ops’ potential customers, but Call of Duty: Black Ops will surely reach high sales numbers. Whether those numbers actually beat Modern Warfare 2’s in the short or long term, is a toss-up.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light Review

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Eidos Interactive/Square Enix
Genre: Action Puzzle Platform
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Platforms: Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, PC (via Steam)

Though not technically part of the Tomb Raider series, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is a great example of what can happen when fresh ideas come to a seemingly dead franchise. Available only through download, Guardian of Light takes a detour from the normal experience of Tomb Raider, setting the player in an isometric perspective. High replay value combined with local or online co-operative play makes Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light one of the best Tomb Raider games in recent years.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Thing About Release Dates

The thing about release dates is that they can always change. Companies announce games way ahead of time to build not only hype, but community around that game. Community drives word of mouth, which builds onto the hype already created by the game and its company, without any external work. As release dates get closer and closer, hype about a game escalates. Sometimes this can work in the game’s favor, as with the evidence of the hype machine I Love Bees, the alternate reality game that helped market Halo 2. Other times hype can be so overwhelming that it is beyond capable, and the the audience is disappointed. I could name numerous MMO games where this scenario occurred. Through my own experience and being observant of those around me, I’ve learned not to get carried away regarding hype and release dates. For example, Bioshock Infinite was announced earlier this year, but isn’t slated for release until at least 2012. I am looking forward to seeing what Irrational Games' final produce will be, but my anticipating will certainly be quelled by the string of great games coming 2011.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Taliban Changed to Opposing Forces in EA’s Medal of Honor

Following the controversy surrounding the use of the name Taliban in publisher EA and developer Danger Close’s upcoming first-person shooter, Medal of Honor, Executive Producer Greg Goodrich posted on the Medal of Honor blog about an upcoming change to the game’s multiplayer component.

“...we have also received feedback from friends and families of fallen soldiers who have expressed concern over the inclusion of the Taliban in the multiplayer portion of our game. This is a very important voice to the
Medal of Honor team. This is a voice that has earned the right to be listened to. It is a voice that we care deeply about. Because of this, and because the heartbeat of Medal of Honor has always resided in the reverence for American and Allied soldiers, we have decided to rename the opposing team in Medal of Honor multiplayer from Taliban to Opposing Force.”

So after only a month of EA defending the decisions to include Taliban in the game’s multiplayer, saying that when kids play cops and robbers, someone has to be the cop, and someone has to be the robber, EA decidedly buckled to the pressures and renamed it to Opposing Forces. This doesn’t change anything in terms of gameplay, players will still be able to play as each side in multiplayer and the game will still look the same.

In early September, it was reported that the commanding General of the Army and Air Force Exchange Services decided to have Medal of Honor pulled from GameStops on US military bases worldwide, due to “well-documented reports of depictions of Taliban fighters engaging American troops,” in the game. It is currently unknown if this decision will remain or not, due to opposing force change being implemented.

I’m a little disappointed in EA. I was glad that they were sticking with their guns and going using the name Taliban despite who or what groups may be offended. I don’t want to call into question our freedom do whatever we want, or say whatever we ant, but it seems ironic for a game to effectively censor itself when the game’s essence is about fighting for freedom.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Beyond Good & Evil HD Coming to PSN and XBLA in 2011

Ubisoft announced today they are in the process of remastering the Michel Ancel adventure game Beyond Good & Evil. The game originally was released in 2003 on Gamecube, Xbox, PlayStation 2, and PC. The remaster, titled Beyond Good & Evil HD, is tentatively scheduled for a 2011 release as a downloadable game on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade. Ubisoft said the new version will run at 1080p resolution and feature updated character models, high-res textures, and a remastered soundtrack, along with the inclusion of Trophies and Achievements.

Beyond Good & Evil was well received when it was originally released, garnering critical acclaim and awards. However, it was not a commercial success. It was released in time for the 2003 holiday season but quickly saw its price cut due to poor sales. Ubisoft did not put much marketing behind the game, and its odd premise didn’t lend itself to heavy advertising.

I’ve never played Beyond Good & Evil, but I’ve heard from many that it is one of their top games of all time, and that it stands shoulder-to-shoulder next other great games like Psychonauts, so now might be a great time to play. Gameplay is decribed as Zelda-ish during the Zelda 64 age. It currently is available on Steam for PC and playable in higher resolutions but I’ve heard controls are wonky, not customizable, and that it feels like a clumsy port.

During the Ubidays 2008 conference it was announced that work begun on Beyond Good & Evil 2. Although currently in development, there is no word on when it will be released. No news about a release date after more than 2 years of development lends itself to vaporware, but we all saw how that turned out with Duke Nukem Forever.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh no, Politics

Hello fall, oh what’s that? You brought your sister summer with you? Oh goodie.

Let me first get a couple of updates out of the way. The NO News has shut down. So instead of an external site, I’ll be posting and updating on New Sanctuary. What you can expect is daily posts through-out the week, including new articles, editorials, and short interest pieces. You’ll see an expansion of what is currently being posted and I hope you enjoy it .

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

That's a Good Look

In my previous post, I said I wanted to try to keep updates coming out every two weeks. I can see how well that went. I’m still going to shoot for that goal, but also insert short posts in between. I realize that not every post needs to be 700-1000 words. Sometimes ideas only need to be planted and left alone to grow, rather than being groomed. With that being said, today’s post will be more of a longer one, but its something shakes my ideas on what gameplay can be.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Comic-Con Rampage

I know I promised to have this up by the end of last weekend at the latest but with all the Comic-Con news I got a little wrapped up in other things. So instead you get a mid-week update.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

This Post has Nothing to do with Real ID

I meant to post this last weekend, but I got busy with family and celebrations, so this will go up today. First things first, I've made a new schedule for when you can expect new blog posts. The goal is to have a new entry every two weeks. This will not only allow for extra time I there happens to be a week or so where nothing of note happens, but will also give me extra time to formulate a educated exposition should a topic arise.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mass Effect 2 Review

I originally wrote this in April for a chance to go to E3, but seeing as today is Monday and E3 festivities already kicked off starting last night, that didn't happen. However, I may get a chance to do something even more exclusive and once I get more information I'll share

Mass Effect 2 Review

Developer: Bioware

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Genre: Role-Playing Game

ESRB Rating: M for Mature

Platforms: Xbox 360, PC

Mass Effect was one of the decade’s best science fiction games. It combined RPG elements found in classic Bioware games like Baldur’s Gate with an epic space opera setting that created a galaxy of its own. Mass Effect 2 takes all the best parts of the first game and improves on the rest, taking the criticism and feedback and turning into a game that feels right and personal.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Star Wars In Concert

Last week on Sunday, I went to Star Wars In Concert at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, CA. I got the tickets a week previous to that for my birthday, three tickets in total so it was my dad, mom, and I.

Friday, May 21, 2010

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

I’ve been on a mission the last couple months to play some of the great games that I’ve missed. Either by reason of just not bothering or not having time, these were games that received great scores and reviews. Some were even Game of the Year. Sadly, I’m reminded why I skipped several of these games; they are all too short.
I created a list a while back of great games I had missed that I wanted to catch up and play. Some of these included
games I talked about last time (Mass Effect 1 & 2, Fallout 3) but some were critically acclaimed games. The rest included Batman: Arkham Asylum, Bioshock 2, and Splinter Cell: Conviction. I also have not played Assassin’s Creed 1 or 2, but I haven’t felt inclined to play an open world collect-stuff game.

Monday, May 3, 2010

RPGs and Los Links

I haven't updated in a while. In part that's because I've been busy with other projects (including one that I will be able to talk about hopefully in a week here). The other part was because I've been trying to find topics to write about. I don't really feel like I should write about just anything on here, and that if I bring something up, I should have something significant to say about it, so it’s not as easy to find topics as you would think.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Small Update

This is going to be a shorter update than normal. I originally started this blog so I had a way to share things that were interesting to me, share my thoughts about topics, and help improve my writing skills. Since then, I am now a writer for The No News ( and am a staff writer for The Coyote Chronicle ( I also in the process of a third venture, but I can't share anything about that now. My point being that there may be some times where I may not update for up to two weeks at a time here. However, the major features that I do for these other sites will be linked here, so you will still be able to stay informed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

'Breach' thief gets court date and Warhammer Billing Bug

Justin D. May, the suspect who allegedly stole over $6 million worth of code to Atomic Games' "Breach" at PAX East, is now scheduled to appear before a judge at the Boston Municipal Courton on May 19. According to the Suffolk County Distric
t Attorney Press Secretary Jake Wark, May was originally to appear before a court on March 30.

May is accused of stealing code from Atomic Games' upcoming first-person-shooter game, Breach, valued at over $6 million. He is charged wit
h with larceny over $250 and "trade secret, buy/sell/receive stolen." If found guilty, the sentence for such crimes is a maximum of five years for each of the the two theft charges and fines. When asked if May would face any additional charges for skipping bail, press secretary Wark said, "No, no additional charges at this point. He actually contacted the court upon learning of the default warrant and made arrangements to postpone the court date. Given that he and his whereabouts are known to authorities, that he has no criminal record, and that he affirmatively contacted the court, his request was granted. At the end of the day here, we aren't exactly dealing with John Dillinger, you know?"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pay-Per-Demo and Wannabe Thomas Crown

Last week Nick Earl, general manager of EA-owned Dead Space studio Visceral Games, revealed a new strategy that may involve selling "premium downloadable content" before a packaged game's release. According to analyst Michael Pachter, "The PDLC would be sold for $10 or $15 through Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, and would essentially be a very long game demo, along the lines of 2009’s Battlefield 1943." Essentially what this does is "limit the risk of completing and marketing the full packaged version, and serves as a low-cost marketing tool," (His words, not mine). Insert slippery slope here. This worries me a gamer because of the implications this could mean. According to David Jaffe, creator of the God of War series, gamers would rather have bite-sized portions they can play for 3-4 hours at a time and see the fruits of their efforts, rather than sit down for a 20, 30, or 40 hour experience (paraphrased). The problem with this line of thinking is that it allows game developers and publishers to cut back on production and instead of giving more to the gamer, the gamer gives more to them. DLC in my opinion is already a bane on the video game industry, as it justifies the developers to hold back or cut parts of a game that were intended to be included in the final packaging, and instead deal them out arbitrarily to garner more money out of the consumer. With this new strategy that EA-company Visceral Games has in mind, the free demos that pushed titles such as Bioshock, Portal, and the recent release of Just Cause 2 (which hit 2 million downloads) could potentially hurt the company and gamers alike. Instead of building word-of-mouth about your game, the companies will push away consumers and box sales will suffer because of it.

Friday, March 12, 2010


The Oscars
In the end, I think everyone came out a winner. The Hurt Locker went home with the trophy and they definitely deserved it. The film really used the setting of war to tell a story of addiction and self-conflict. Many people may claim that it only won because of its political agenda, but they would be wrong and I would even question if they actually saw the film. The war is merely a background in the story and at no point can I remember the film showing why one way of thinking is better than another. Avatar's nomination was understandable for the pushing of technology that the film presented. It really took a grandeur approach to melding computer technology and live action film. Its story was not the strongest point, but it didn't need to be. The story simply needs to move the direction and actions of the characters along. I feel that too many people went into Avatar expecting a new and original story. That wasn't the point of the film, the point was to tell a story in a new kind of presentation, and I think that presentation worked.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Hello and welcome to my blog. I realize I'm a little late to the game but I have only recently begun to take part in the Web 2.0 stratosphere (I only joined facebook about 3 months ago). Anyways, this blog will serve a dual purpose. Firstly, it will allow me to get my thoughts and ideas out into the world, meaning both the internet and real life media. Secondly, this blog will help me in some upcoming projects and plans I'm working on, but I don't have enough information to talk about that now.

What sets this blog apart from the other 50 billion blogs on the internet? Well I would say that a major theme in my life for at least the past 10 years has been the idea of 'escapism'. I'm not really sure if thats the correct term or if thats a term at all, but thats what I call it. Basically escapism proposes the idea that life is boring. Everyday we wake up, go to work/school, and come home. We spend the weekends either catching up, or doing something fun. We take vacations to get away from it all, but how many of you reading this can tell me the last time you had an adventure?

Well thats pretty much what you will find here. Things relating to films, books, television, radio, video games, technology. All of these are way to escape from the mundane and boring in life and find the new and fastastic. The name New Sanctuary comes from the meaning of the word. Safe place, haven, place to escape to.

This blog will be updated about every 2-3 days, maybe longer depending if there is nothing to write about. Any comments, questions, or ideas feel free to submit them and tell me what you think!