August 2007

This weekend at PAX07, Telltale Games showed off the new trailer for the second season of Sam & Max. That exclusive trailer is now available from the Telltale website.

Today they released a new set of screenshots for the upcoming season of the crime fighting duo. Here are 8 brand new screens:

Those of you that have an account on, and if you don’t you should, and also have a copy of Brain Age 2 are in for a real treat. Nintendo offers neat online promotions from time to time and now happens to be one of those times. Simply login to your account, register Brain Age 2 using the unique serial number provided inside the cover, and you are eligible for a free DS Lite Stylus Gift Box with seven brightly colored DS Lite styluses.

I know, styluses, woo hoo. But tou get them for simply registering your copy of the game so it’s worth the 5 minutes. After you register your game, you should be given the option of viewing the current promotions. If not, register your game and then go here.

For a list of all of the current promotions that Nintendo is running, you can visit this page after signing into your My Nintendo account.

I caught wind of this today. I have no clue how old it is, but it’s impressive none the less. Kevin Herron decided to build an application that would play Guitar Hero perfectly. It’s built up of a hardware portion that triggers the buttons and multiple software portions. One portion of the software, called Tom’s Eyes, analyzes a video of the song frame by frame to build a note and timing chart for the song. Tom’s Mind allows you to modify the note chart that was automatically built to ensure perfection. Tom’s Fingers allows you to manually activate actions on the controller as well as play back the note chart to a serial port.

In all, this is a wholly impressive accomplishment and I applaud the guy who built all of this. There are videos and source code if you want to try and build your own Tom Hannu, the nickname for this Guitar Hero playing bot.

With the Leipzig Games Convention, think E3 of Europe, now over, there is a lot of new information about some of the top upcoming games to talk about.

We’ve heard quite a lot about Metal Gear Solid 4, but the identity of the bosses, who are one of the most important and exciting parts of the games, have been kept secret… until now. To the fans of the series, these baddies should look and sound very familiar. The bosses go by the names of Raging Raven, Crying Wolf, Laughing Octopus, and Screaming Mantis. Collectively they are known as the Beauty and the Beast Unit.

The newest trailer is also availabe on YouTube. I suggest getting new underwear before watching it, as you will most likely need it. You can check it out here.

A few new screenshots have also surfaced from the upcoming Far Cry 2. Far Cry 2 is shaping up to be a sequel in name only, as the setting and protagonists have changed from the first one. Nevertheless, it looks amazing. Check out the screens here.

Warhammer: Mark of Chaos – Battle March was announced a few weeks ago, but until now, no information had been released. No additional information was released this time either, but some beautiful screenshots have surfaced. The game will not only be released for the PC, but for the Xbox 360 as well with the original game as part of the package. Mark of Chaos will be the third RTS that will be released for the 360; its predecessors, Battle for Middle Earth 2 and Command and Conquer 3, have been highly successful.

James Bond is also making a return, according to Activision. Activision purchased the rights to the James Bond name last year, but until now, they kept quiet about what they plan to do with 007. The only thing that they revealed was that the game will be developed for PC, consoles, and handhelds. Let’s just hope it won’t be another Rogue Agent.

Jeffry Kaplan, a lead designer in World of Warcraft said that the true WoW feeling will return in the upcoming expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Many people felt that Burning Crusade, the first expansion to WoW, lacked the real feeling that WoW provided. As a result, Blizzard said that they will try to make WotLK much darker and fantasy-like. Time will tell if they achieve this result or not.

Despite the rumors, it was confirmed that there will not be a PS3 version of Bioshock. Kevin Levine, the lead designer of the game, stated that Bioshock (apart from the PC) will remain exclusively on the Xbox 360. Sorry PS3 owners…

Ubisoft has joined the list of developers and publishers to be a part of the Games for Windows brand. What does this mean? Support for Vista, high definition, and widescreen resolution, among others. The first game to be released under this brand will be Settlers: Rise of an Empire.

After getting banned in several countries and receiving an AO rating in June, Manhunt 2 was suspended indefinitely. 2 months later and Rockstar is stating that Manhunt 2 will soon be released. The makers of the game have been hard at work reducing the violent content, and now have received the highly coveted M for Mature rating. Release is slated for an October release on the PSP, Wii and PS2.

I remember from PAX05 that, for the most part, Sunday is pretty lazy and my expectations have been fulfilled. The most exciting thing going on is trying to arrange getting my gear from the Sheraton to the Days Inn while participating in an all-day Starcraft board game tournament.

This means I may miss the final of the Omegathon – the very climax of PAX it could be said – which is a touch disappointing, but I’m sure videos of it will hit YouTube soon enough.

There are a lot of children around today which seems slightly incongruous to me, don’t their parents know where they are? They seem to have a strong draw to console free play which makes some sense: PAX is basically a giant 3 day arcade for locals. The only non-local I’ve discovered were the SE++ crowd from the Penny Arcade Forums who I managed to party with until 3:00 AM. Forum posts indicate that they went until 6. I don’t party like that unless I don’t need to move the next day.

PAX underscores, for me, a lot of the problems I have with gamer culture. There is a terrifyingly bearded man stalking Handheld Lounge B in order to secure buttons for the distributed handheld tournement and he exemplifies the antisocial undercurrent on which “gammingdom” hangs its hat. I don’t pass judgment on such people, but a conference for an inherently antisocial subculture is kind of amusing to watch, the social exchanges are all clumsy and brash. It is the mathematics of the John Gabriel Internet Fuckwad Theory subtracting the anonymity, and I was disappointed with how most of my line conversations worked out.

And in terms of gender dynamics, 99% of the few girls that are here are wearing anime-style short skirts and impenetrable frowns. I don’t even know why they came – aside from the ones being visibly dragged by their boyfriends.

I only lurked at the concert last night for the Jonathan Coulton set, and seeing Skullcrusher Mountain performed live allays any misgivings I could possibly have about the entire adventure. While he was pelted almost disrespectfully by the audience with requests between every song, he handled it with ease and made enough nerd-friendly jokes to earn the favour of the audience despite not responding to the requests. M.C. Frontalot was up next and I can’t understand a word of what he does in a live performance.

There are some more intimate thoughts I have regarding PAX07 but I’ll save those for a summary post when I have more time.