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PlayStation Network Will Be Down Tomorrow 1/19: What Will You Do Instead?

January 19, 2012 Leave a comment

What Will You Do?

In case you missed it Sony announced on the PlayStation Blog that PSN will be down for scheduled maintenance Thursday from approximately 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. PST.  All PSN related options will be disabled including online play, PSN Store for PS3 and PSP, account management, PlayStation Home and Music and Video Unlimited Services.

What will you do without the PSN? Get some things around the house done? run some errands? Get a Job? Screw it, break out the SNES!

Categories: Playstation 3, PS Vita, PSP

Former U.S. Marine and Kuma Games Developer Sentenced To Death In Iran

January 10, 2012 1 comment

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During an alleged televised confession, former U.S. Marine and Kuma Reality Games developer Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, has been sentenced to death by the Islamic Revolutionary Court for, among other things, spying on the Iranian government and spreading negative propaganda about the middle east through Kuma Reality Games.

“After (working for DARPA), I went to Kuma (Games Company). This computer company was receiving money from the CIA to (produce) and design and distribute for free special movies and games with the aim of manipulating public opinion in the Middle East. The goal of the company in question was to convince the people of Iran and the people of the entire world that whatever the U.S. does in other countries is a good measure.”

As it was reported on Kotaku, an HTML5 game developer, Darius Kazemi, posted a link via his Twitter account to a U.S. Government website. The link had records of funding from the Department of Defense to Kuma Reality Games for a language education project for the U.S. Military. Tommy Vietor of the White House’s National Security Council denied allegations to the New York Times that Hekmati worked for or was sent to Iran by the CIA. The U.S. has demanded Hekmati’s release.

Tales have long been spun of video games being used for military training and political propaganda. Though the funding is clearly not recorded as a project for propaganda there clearly is no way to deny our government has a history of covering their trail.

Sony Reveals PlayStation Plus Perks for January

January 4, 2012 Leave a comment

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PlayStation Blog revealed the upcoming perks for PlayStation Plus subscribers in January. Starting January 3, the first PSN update of the month, Back to the Future The Game (the full series) and all the Syphon Filter PSOne classics (1,2 and 3) will all be free for PS Plus users for the entire month. And that’s not all, the PSN exclusive Sword and Soldiers will be free as well.

Sony also mentions, though not in detail, a “12 for 12 sale” where 12 popular PSN exclusive games will be on sale and if your a Plus member you will get a better deal at 50% off! Sony didn’t reveal which titles would be featured but did promise many first-time sales. The PlayStation Plus subscription continues to impress with endless amounts of perks and deals. Are you happy with your Plus subscription? Tell me in the comment section!

Comparing Video Game Blogs: What Makes a Good Blog

December 8, 2011 1 comment

There are literally millions of blogs out there and thousands of them are created everyday.  While many are abandoned, there are also many who regularly post and are sincerely committed to crafting a successful blog.  Unfortunately, when there are millions to choose from, hard work and determination might not be enough to build a loyal fan base.  I look at video game blogs daily but for this post I wanted to focus on the smaller, independent video game blogs that seem to be headed in the right direction of building a loyal fan base and acquiring enough hits daily to receive advertisement deals. I want to point out the pros and cons of each blog and explain how simple tweaks can make a world of difference.  Analyzing a handful will allow you to see what works or doesn’t work with each and compare.  These blogs represent the individual who worked hard enough at what they love to do and was successful at it. I hope to be as successful or more so with my online journalism.

The blogs I chose for this comparison are titled as follows: The Lone Gamer,  That VideoGame Blog and Video Game Blogger.  I will begin by talking about The Lone Gamer.  It is a blog about video games started and authored by a single soul named Marco Dimaano. I found this blog on more than one web site containing a top video game blog list.  It has a unique sense of character and without a doubt favors some game/topics more than others.  The blog is powered by WordPress and was recently upgraded to a premium WordPress site by the creator (Premium users receive better benefits, more options and most importantly get the “wordpress” lopped off their web address). The content of the blog aren’t updated daily and posts seems to come in spurts. I happen to even post more than this author,  still the blog has seen its fair share of success and continues to thrive.  The blog’s design theme and colors as well as the banner image at the top seems to match the authors personality (based on site content. I don’t know the guy) and I enjoy that.  Dimaano has all the essential sidebar tools including Twitter, search bar, tag cloud, monthly archive, blog roll and top posts. There are more but that is a good amount to have because you don’t want to over do it like he did with his categories.  The categories on this site are too specific.  These categories are basically another set of tags.  I also like that the ads are outside of the sites content.  A good blog if the Lone Gamer’s style is your style.

http://www.thelonegamer.net/

The Lone Gamer

The second blog I wanted to talk about was That VideoGame Blog.  This is a blog that shares little information about its origin but I really like it. It has minimal clutter, it’s easy to navigate and has a clean, simple layout. It lists posts from most recent to older with images to support each one. The four hottest posts are posted across the top of the page with enlarged images. The ads are seamless with the sites design. It has a search bar that returns easy to comprehend results and sports a virtual calendar that serves as an archive of past posts.  The sites content is updated very frequently with a up to 15 posts or more each day.  The blog currently has 16 authors on its “Staff” page, which makes a world of difference when trying to remain current with your posts and content.  It also gives the impression of professionalism.  These are reasonable expectations I have for my own blog one day.  However, this blog has minor imperfections.   It could use categories to easily sort past posts into relevant information to what the user is looking for.  I would also like to see an “About Us” page to give a little background information about how the site got started and what its goal is.  Other than those minor gripes this is the most complete blog out of the three I am comparing

That VideoGame Blog

The last blog I chose for this comparison is Video Game Blogger.  At first I was thoroughly impressed with this blog. It has an impressive interactive layout that, for the lack of a better term, provides a preview window (shows a picture related to the post) that rolls through the top 5 posts like a slide show.  As it cycles through the top posts you can jump to one by clicking in the preview window.  This is a feature that has been adopted by many top sites and one I would like to implement into mine.  There are categories lined across the top of the page that allow the user to reach the material he/she is interested in with a click.  There is also a search bar that basically serves as a custom category of your choosing though it is surrounded by ads.  At first I was impressed with the all the ads because ads mean money.  Then I started to notice how many of them there were crammed into the side bar distracting the reader from the content.  It is hard to differentiate between the ads and the useful sidebar tools like the search and the “Daily Gaming Update.”  I am all for ads to make some extra cash (Isn’t that what life is all about?) but that is just careless design that in a weird way shows disrespect to your readers. Still it is an easy fix but I honestly don’t see any maintenance in this sites near future as I there hasn’t been a post since January 2011. At first when I was looking at this sites posts I thought they were from November and December of this year.  Though it proved useful for this comparison the blog has most likely been abandoned.

Video Game Blogger

By comparing these blogs it is easy to see what does and doesn’t work.  Though it differs depending on the blogs content some of the hards and fast rules like posting regularly and readability without distraction are well, hard and fast.  Over all I give mad props to all the creators of these blogs because making one that is successful with fan base and all is way, way, way harder than it sounds.

 

Downloadable Game Content: Is it the best or is it the worst?

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Video games have came a long way since the introduction of the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972.  In fact they have made the transition to the digital age almost seamlessly with the exception of Sega which seemed to jump the gun with the Dreamcast.  It was the first console shipped with internet capability. No one used it. Sega never made a console again.

Anyway as time went on the internet was utilized more and more until now. Funny enough it seems hard to remember a time when there was no such thing as a downloadable game.  With the implementation of the internet into game consoles you can now stream or download videos, download games, download game demos and, the topic of this article, download game add-on content.

What is downloadable game add-on content, you say? Well it works like this: a game developer releases a game then after its release (sometimes very shortly after its release which we will come back to)  the dev will produce more content for the game whether it’s something small like a skin (or a costume) for an in-game character, something medium sized like a multiplayer map pack or it’s something big like a continuation or spinoff of the campaign/single player story.

Here is the problem that I believe many people have with downloadable content: It has been taken advantage of by devs and producers, even more so undoubtably, to make a profit well beyond necessary. Take Little Big Planet for example.  For months after release and even currently, though not as frequently, the devs release costumes and costume packs for the characters in the game. Each costume cost $0.99 or when buying a pack they usually give a discount of a dollar or two. Think about 300,000 people downloading one costume a week and those numbers are most likely generous.  It has become increasingly popular with multiplayer games, especially first person shooters, to release a map pack a month or less after the game’s release.  It is hard to believe that they couldn’t have shipped those maps with the copy of the game that consumers pay $60.00 for.  That is a lot of money.  That much money will pay my DirectTV bill or my internet connection for an entire month.  The part that gets me is it seems the devs and producers purposely ship newer games with less and less content so you are almost forced to buy the downloadable content to justify buying the game in the first place.  Granted these are extreme conditions.

To be honest, if I like a video game enough to want the experience to continue I will purchase the downloadable content the devs will supply me.  Especially if it’s a personal favorite dev of mine like Bungie.  Some devs are even kind of enough to drop a freebie for their fans every now and then.  I love video games and I probably would be pissed off if downloadable game-add on content went the way of the dinosaurs. But I don’t know, maybe they can lower the prices?

Do you think downloadable game add-on content is a rip off or do you think these devs deserve every dime? Tell me in the comment section.

Last Gamestop Midnight Release of the Year

November 21, 2011 4 comments

I went to the last Gamestop midnight release of the 2011 year in Fairbanks and it was a blast. Check it out!

Categories: PSP

PSN Store Weekly Game Update 11/8

November 10, 2011 1 comment

It's that time of week

Every week on Tuesday Sony updates the Playstation Network Store with games, demos and add-on content.  There are a few interesting pick-ups. See what you think.

Downloadable Game:

Fight Night Champion – $4.99
If you are a fan of boxing this is a steal, literally! I’m sure this game was $60 at one time.

Dead Space 2 – $29.99
Dead Space 2 didn’t fail in living up to the sheer horror of escaping a monster infested space ship.  not only that the price has dropped $30!

Monopoly Streets – $29.99
Everything you know and love about Monopoly but from a different perspective.

Dead Space 2

Game Demos:

Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One
The first multiplayer iteration of the Ratchet and Clank series. Not sure if it’s worth it? Here is a great way to find out!

Disney Universe

Rayman Origins
Rayman returns to the video game scene with a bang. This game received over 10 awards at E3!

Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7
The Lego version of the last 3 books and the last 4 films.

Notable Game Content:

Little Big Planet 2 Oddworld Stranger Costume – $1.99

Dead Rising 2: Off the Record: Firefighter Skills Pack – $1.99

Dead Rising 2: Off the Record: Gamebreaker Pack – $4.99

Motogp 10/11 Season update – $FREE

Red Faction Armageddon: Ruin Pack – $4.99

PSone Classics:

Chrono Cross – $9.99
The sequel to the Chrono Trigger and a classic RPG!

PS2 Classics:

Full Spectrum Warrior – $9.99
Squad based strategic combat.

Stuntman Ignition – $9.99
Take the wheel and fulfill your dreams of being a stuntman.

PSP Downloadable Games:

Cars 2 – $29.99

inspired by Disney Pixar’s fully animated film Cars 2

 

What will you pick up?

Categories: Playstation 3, PSP