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Morning Hangover

Final Fantasy XIII Screens Are Fang-tastic

I don't understand Final Fantasy XIII. While it's beautiful and impressive in creating a whole universe, it's the most linear, non-interactive game I've ever played. You walk down a straight hallway, meet some dudes, press "X" and the battle eventually ends. I'm like 10 hours in, and this is all the game is for me. Impressive cut-scenes, but no game.

Before Heavy Rain was released, the rap on it was "It's not a game. It's a collection of cut-scenes." I say, Heavy Rain is much more of a game than Final Fantasy XIII.

Help me understand Final Fantasy XIII fans. Tell me what you like about it.

Coffee

At the risk of sounding like an observational comic: "What is the DEAL with Daylight Saving?" The only farming I'm familiar with is in Farmville, and I don't even play that. I need my extra hour of sleep, or at least an extra cuppa coffee.

Speaking of coffee, it's my gaming (and life) drug-of-choice. I'm going to make a pot now... be right back! Discuss whatever you like below.

Sony Cuts The PlayStation 2 Price To $99.99

The NPD sales numbers for February 2010 were released yesterday, and two figures that stood out to me came in the hardware sales portion: 613,200 and 101,900. That’s how many Nintendo DSs and PlayStation 2s were sold, respectively, last month. The DS sales figures continue to blow my mind, but what I really want to ask you about is this:

Did anyone here purchase a PS2 last month? If so, what made you buy it? I'm just fascinated by the fact that Sony can still move over 100,00 PS2s in a given month after 10 years on the market. Am I alone?
 



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Morning Hangover: The (Emotional) Road To The Show

MLB 10: The Show’s Road to the Show is the one of the most challenging and rewarding gaming experiences I have ever had. It’s an emotional rollercoaster the likes of which I’ve rarely seen in any game, let alone a sports game.

This is due largely to the fact that the role-playing aspect (leveling up your character’s abilities and attributes through practice and games in the hopes of moving onto the major leagues) is so expertly crafted that you can’t help but be sucked into the baseball fantasy the game creates, and you end up feeling genuine emotion for your up and coming (and oftentimes struggling) ballplayer.

Why am I telling you this? Because I want to know what you all consider to be the most rewarding/challenging/moving/emotional/etc. experiences you’ve had in gaming, and what it was about those experiences that made them so impactful. It can be a full game, a particular game mode, a single level, a co-op mission. It's all fair game. What are the experiences that have moved you the most?

GDC 2010Today is the first day of the Game Developers Conference 2010 in San Francisco, and you better believe the G4 ground troops are in position and ready to bring you so much coverage you won’t even be able to see what’s going on, because it’s going to be so covered by our…insane coverage…

The point is there’s going to be a ton of content flying at your eyes over the coming days, and we’ll be bringing it all at you hard and fast, so I figured I’d open the floor to you all and let you have control over today’s morning discussion.

GDC predictions? Final Fantasy XIII release? That burrito you had for lunch yesterday? The return of Gossip Girl? Go wild.

GDC battlestations await.
 

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Morning Hangover: Oscar Winning Movies And Their Video Games

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards have come and gone, and I’m pretty satisfied with the results. Christoph Waltz, Michael Giacchino, and, of course, The Hurt Locker and Kathryn Bigelow all took home gold dudes, and while I’m kind of bummed District 9 didn’t win anything, it will forever be an Oscar nominee, and that’s awesome.

Ok. That’s enough of that movie business talk. Let’s get to what really matters here: the fact that despite Steve Martin’s joke about Precious being “the one film that really lived up to its video game,” there were actually two best film nominees that have video games based on them: Avatar and UP (the first time this has ever happened by the way).

Naturally, this led me to ask the following question: How many best picture winners have been adapted into video games? Well, here’s the list: Ben-Hur, The Godfather, The Godfather II, Rocky, Platoon, Braveheart, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

When you include best picture nominees, the list gets even bigger: The Wizard of Oz, Jaws, Taxi Driver (cancelled), Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Beauty and the Beast, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Interesting, no? Which of these games would you consider to be the best (We all know what the worst one is)? And which best picture winner had the best video game? What Oscar winning movies do you think would make great games?

‘Battlefield: Bad Company 2’ Impressions

It's Oscar weekend, people, and I don't give a rat's. The idea of sitting around for four hours and watching a bunch of millionaires give each other trophies just doesn't appeal to me. Instead, I'm going to be digging into the single player campaign of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and shooting some dudes in the face. What about you? Are you an Oscar watcher or not... and what are you doing this weekend?

BFG 9000

For nostalgia's sake, I was playing Doom 2 last night on my 360. That game hearkens back to a day when games were hard. There's much less hand-holding in Doom and Doom 2 than in modern games. I like that.... until I get completely stuck. Then I hate it.

But I LOVE the BFG 9000. First, it has the funniest name of any video game gun, and secondly, Doom gives you just the right firepower at the right time in game. There's something downright satisfying about the blob of luminescent green death that shoots from the BFG.  So this post is a tribute to the BFG 9000. What's your favorite game gun and why?

Aliens Vs. Predator Dated For February 2010

On Monday, all the PlayStation 3s in the world (just about) freaked out at once and stopped working. On Tuesday, Activision officially revealed that two of the heads of Infinity Ward were no longer with the company. It's Wednesday; what will happen today?

I predict an alien invasion of our nation's pool halls (see screenshot above)... either that or nothing of any note.

What about you? What big, unexpected video game story do you think will break today?

Why Did BioWare Spoil A Mass Effect 2 Ending At E3? Ray Muzyka Answers

Maybe it's the end of the Olympics, or maybe it's the weather, but something about this Monday morning is dreary. It's the kind of day where you want to just stay in and play video games and let the world spin around without your help--or maybe it's just me.

My favorite Monday kind of game is big, immersive RPGs. So, if I were going to spend all day playing a video game, it would be Mass Effect II. What about you? What do you play when you have a wicked case of the Mondays?




First Look At How Transformers: War for Cybertron Will Look Like

You'll be able to read about my first look at Transformers: War for Cyberton later today, but here's a small preview from the small slice that I've seen: the developers are on the right track. There have been some okay Transformers games over the years, some far better than others, but it's crazy to think it's taken this long before I'm able to say: hey, we might finally have a great Transformers game.

What other licenses are due for a good video game? List your biggest grievances below.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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You guys are probably a few hours into Heavy Rain at this point, right? Some of you may have already finished the game (at least your first playthrough) in a marathon sprint. I'm still working through the game as we start planning for the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next month, but I have to say that my favorite, emotionally-charged moment so far -- spoiler alert! -- is when you enter the apartment of a mentally deranged, god-fearing man.

I managed to survive the tense encounter before, well, the man pulled something out of his pocket and I reacted by doing what I imagine most people accidentally ended up doing.

Boom.

You? Let's try to keep the discussion limited to the first few hours of the game, please!

DICE 2010

We had a small but very hardworking crew at DICE last week in Las Vegas. Andrew Pfister, Adam Sessler, myself and some key behind-the-scenes personell helped make everything possible in collaboration with the kind folks at DICE. With that behind us, what was your favorite panel?

As mentioned on Feedback, I couldn't help but marvel at the science panels at DICE 2010. No doubt part of that is being three years out of college and remembering what it's like to sit in a classroom atmosphere again (it almost made me miss it). Many of those presentations were only tangentially related to video games, but by the end, gave you a better understanding of what makes them tick.

In terms of games, the short-but-sweet speech by Activision CEO Bobby Kotick had me furiously tapping at my keyboard. You couldn't help but feel sympathy for the guy by the end, but as he's apologizing to Harmonix for dividing the music games business and shutting down RedOctane at the same time, it feels...disingenuous. It's hard to tell how much more we really got to know about the man steering the ship at the biggest game publisher right now. It was fascinating, nonetheless.

Have something to share? Sitting on a news tip? E-mail me. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Heavy Rain

Heavy Rain is out today. Finally, everyone can check this unique game out, and If you have any feeling for games that tell stories or games as "Art," you really should get a copy. We've had a couple advance discs of Heavy Rain sitting around our offices for a few weeks, and it's literally the only game G4 has been talking about. But G4 is made up of people who, in some capacity, are gaming "professionals;" I'm curious what you guys think about Heavy Rain.

Morning Hangover: Real Life Achievements...For Real

Everyone around the office (and by everyone I mean Jeff Kanjanapangka, Stephen Johnson and myself) pretty much agreed that Carnegie Mellon professor Jesse Schell’s "Design Outside the Box" presentation from DICE 2010 was easily one of the most mind blowing speeches we’d seen in a long time. If you haven’t watched it yet, click here and do so.

One of Schell’s more disturbing propositions was that sometime in the future, everything we interact with (toothbrushes, musical instruments, cereal boxes, etc.) will include some kind of “game” tied to "achievements" that will be used to determine your "progress" in every aspect of your life.

Now, while it’s easy to imagine a time in the near future where this reality exists, does that mean it’s something people actually want? To be honest, it sounds rather terrifying, but mostly because of its 1984-ish sense of possibility. What about you? Where do you think all this real life achievement incentive talk?

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