Gaming Steve

January 2006 Archives

January 31, 2006

Xbox Live Gamercard Generator

Gaming Steve GamercardLike everyone out there I love my Xbox Live Gamercard (yeah, okay, I know that need to play some 360 games that give me points!) but it's a huge freaking pain when you try to post your card as your signature file. People always seem to get the coding wrong and that big honking Gamercard box usually looks bad in the small signature file space. Wouldn't it be nice if you could convert your Gamercard into a variety of sizes and shapes. Well now you can! (You knew I was going to say that, didn't you?)

Head on over to the Xbox Live Gamercard Generator which not only has a great selection of graphic options to choose from, but it's super-simple to use as well! Just jump down to the generate your Gamecard section, type in your Gamertag, select the graphic style, and the site does the rest. You'll get your new card in URL, HTML code, and BB code ... all you need to is copy and paste and your card will be dynamically generated wherever you place it.

This site is so simple to use and the variety of signature files is so great that I wonder why Microsoft didn't implement something like this on the Xbox Live web site. Oh well, in the meantime start generating!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 8:30 AM | Posted to Xbox |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 30, 2006

Dofus ... the Little MMO That Could

Dofus!I've been playing a bit of Ankama Games Flash-based MMORPG Dofus and so far I've been pleasently surprised just how much fun this game is to play.

Real quick rundown: at first glance the game appears to be the lovechild of WoW and Pokemon, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Once you load it up you'll immediately be struck by the stunningly beautiful animation and graphics (I'm having fun just running around the world to see all the amazing scenery). As for all the other MMO staples they're all here and accounted for: eleven unique character classes (no fighters, mages, or rogues here, instead you'll play Ecaflips, Sadidas, Sacriers, amoung others), twenty different professions, a deep crafting system, a small monthly fee of around $7 (you can also play a small portion of the game totally for free), guilds, quests, and all the other MMO stuff you know and love.

But my favorite part of the game so far has been the turn-based tactical combat engine. It's deep, moves along at a brisk pace, and requires serious thought on the higher levels (oh yeah, you can get your character up to level 200 ... ouch that's a lot of levels). Fans of Fire Emblem and Final Fantasy Tactics will definitely want to give this game a try just for the combat system alone.

I have not played Dofus enough to give a truly in-depth review just yet (look for that in a future podcast) but I can give a Gaming Steve "check it out as it's free to try and there is a lot of unique elements in there which should hold your interest for at least a few gaming sessions".

Ironically the game that I am really keeping my eye on is not Dofus but Ankama Games next project, Dofus-Arena. This game is still in beta-test and there isn't a whole lot of information about the game, but just the screenshots alone look intriguing. From what I can tell Dofus-Arena will allow turn-based tactical combat from a top-down isometric view in an MMO world mixed with a collectable card game. I only have six words ... oh my god that sounds amazing! I need to get into that beta-test right away! Anyone out there playing this one yet? Do tell!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 9:00 PM | Posted to MMORPG |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 26, 2006

Katamari Krazy!

Katamari Krazy!What is it about Katamari Damacy that makes people do krazy things?

Let's see, to date I have been able to find Katamari Hats, Katamari Cake, Katamari YTMND, Katamari T-shirts, Katamari Remote Control Cars, Katamari Papercraft, Katamari Ring Tones, Katamari Cookies, Katamari Cosplay, Katamari Dilbert, Katamari AIDS Advertisement, Katamari Text Adventure, Katamari Play, Katamari Pumpkin, Katamari Car, Katamari Crochet, and a Katamari Pillow.

Whew, that is a lot of Katamari. It really takes a special game to get so deeply embedded into the subconscious of so many people and become a cultural phenomenon. I just hope that we see a few more games so we can get those corporate bigwigs to jump on the Katamari bandwagon and we can become a Katamari Kountry.

Just imagine, a Katamari-themed breakfast cereals, ceiling fans, and underwear. Until then I guess we'll just have to settle for all the fan-based Katamari ... like the Katamari Da Vinci.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 8:00 PM | Posted to Culture |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 25, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 36 - 01.25.2006

Dragon Quest VIIIThis week I give details about the first official Gaming Steve Tournament for Mario Kart DS, a new contest about your "funniest" gaming moment, and answer a ton of show mail.

Gaming Steve Episode 36 Program

  • 00:04:17 Game News:
    • GameStop expects to fulfill 360 orders in February (but not online or EB Games orders).
    • Give thanks, the Revolution to be released by Thanksgiving.
    • Majesco no longer a "premium" publisher.
    • WoW nabs millionth European customer and more than 5.5 million worldwide.
    • China's online game regulations relaxed.
    • Gizmondo Europe bankrupt.
    • Heroes of Might and Magic V beta now open.
    • E3 dresses up the babes and games.
    • Nintendo snags 3 million online.
    • New Mother has a date.
    • 50 Cent sells through a million.
    • Star Trek: Legacy to beam onto PCs and the 360.
    • Sony zips up Zipper.
  • 00:31:12 SporeTalk: I answer lots of questions about Spore.
  • 00:41:09 Game Review: Dragon Quest VIII for the PlayStation 2.
  • 00:58:32 RetroReview: Baldur's Gate II for the PC.
  • 01:10:47 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and a very cool prize!
  • 01:14:26 Show Mail: I answer your audio and email questions.
  • 02:01:11 Final Thoughts: A new contest and details about the Gaming Steve Mario Kart DS Tournament.
Download the show (126 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 36 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
Vote for Gaming Steve on Podcast Alley.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 9:00 PM | Posted to Classic | Podcast | Review | Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 24, 2006

Poll: How Many Hours Have You Spent Playing World of Warcraft?

World of Warquest

Tonight I was speaking to a friend who was contemplating quitting World of Warcraft because he was starting to get "bored" with it. So I asked him what level his characters were and it turns out that he has two level 60 characters, one level 50 character, another level 35 character, and several other "miscellaneous" characters. In total he said that he's played around 1500 hours (and he's just starting to get bored?).

The crazy part is that my other friend, who was also present during this discussion and just recently quit WoW, managed to build up three characters to level 60 as well as "at least one character of each class to at least level 35". When I asked him about his timed played he wouldn't give me a definitive answer but he said that "all together it was over 100 days in total".

That's 2400 hours playing just WoW ... and he just quit ... and he said he was going to start it up again when the expansion came out. Wow.

I myself am a mere novice compared to my friends as I've barely logged 400 hours into the game. I don't know about you, but to me spending 400 hours on any one game represents a huge amount of time, but my commitment to WoW pales in comparison to them (as well as most of my friends).

So my question to those out there who are pouring your gaming hours into WoW, how many hours have you spent in the land of Azeroth? (FYI, you can determine your total time playing with any one character by issuing the "/played" command.)

This poll is now closed, but you can view the results.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 1:00 AM | Posted to MMORPG | Poll |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 23, 2006

Plug and Play Sega Games

Plug and Play Sega Games

I'm a big fan of those TV Game Systems where they cram a whole bunch of classic arcade and home games into a tiny controller. So far many of these games have been hit or miss, but on for the most part the selection of games has been surprisingly good.

Well it's about to get a whole bunch better as Sega has just announced that they're jumping onto the TV game system bandwagon! Details are a bit vague right now but two systems should be available in April, a 10-in-1 and 20-in-1 system. Games to be included are 7 Sonic games, 5 Alex Kidd games, 2 Phantasy Star games, and a whole lot of others (a total of 48 games are available for license right now).

The retail price is expected to be $29.95 for the 10-in-1 game systems, and at least $39.95 for the 20-in-1 systems. These should be available in April through as well as other stores.

I don't know about you, but getting the chance to replay the two Phantasy Star games again, two of the best RPGs ever made, is worth the price of admission alone. Yeah 21st century technology!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:00 PM | Posted to Classic |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 20, 2006

Old Games Never Die ... Nor Do They Fade Away

Adventure IIWhat is it about old computer and video game systems that people just can't seem to let go? It's amazing just how many people are developing new games (aka "homebrews") for systems which are ten, twenty, even thirty years old. There is even a two-day Classic Gaming Expo which is going into its ninth year. Then again, without this hardcore gaming niche where else could you find Adventure II, coming out for Atari 5200 and Atari 8-bit computers (you can even download the demo if you want to give it a whirl).

Pretty much every single classic system has a online community cranking away on new games. If you want to find some games for your ancient (but beloved) system, make sure to start your search at AtariAge which has tons of the information on homebrew games and is the central hub for the extremely popular Atari homebrew scene.

For other systems there are simply way too many sites to list here, but make sure to check out the Classic Gaming System List, the free monthly online newsletter Retrogaming Times Monthly, and ClassicGaming to find that new Bally Astrocade, Odyssey², Vectrex, or other hard-to-find game system.

So what is your long lost system of days gone by? Personally I'm going to download that Adventure II and give it a try.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:00 PM | Posted to Classic |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 19, 2006

Are Gold Farmers Really All That Bad?

WoW, Gold!In its February 2006 issue, PC Gamer announced that it would no longer accept advertising from "Gold Farming" agencies. Editor-in-chief Greg Vederman explained the magazine's decision not to accept ads from companies like Power Leveling and IGE in an editorial on Next Generation.

In his editorial Vederman states, "After months of behind-the-scenes talks with our sales department, I’m extremely proud to announce that starting with last month’s issue, PC Gamer will no longer accept ads or ad dollars from Gold Farmers. Screw them. As a company, we have agreed to turn down what literally amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual ad revenue so that you, as a reader, can game easy knowing that we’ve got your back. I challenge my fellow PC gaming mags and websites to follow our path and to help us close down these bastard companies by attrition."

On one hand I applaud Vederman on taking such a bold stance. Convincing his publisher not to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in ad revenue must have taken quite some doing and it's impressive to witness someone who believes in something with so much passion. Kudos Greg.

On the other hand, I don't really see what the big deal is about. Most everyone at this point knows about gold farmers and "in theory" everyone hates them, but they do provide a service that people are obviously quite interested in. I myself have bought WoW gold (and explained the process in a past podcast) and many of my friends, who have a family, full-time job, and kids, simply don't have the time to earn enough gold for an Epic Mount. But they do have disposable income and if they want to purchase WoW gold, why shouldn't they be allowed to?

Of course there is the whole "legal issue" where people will state selling gold or characters clearly break many MMOs' End-User License Agreements. But that legal argument hasn't been adequately resolved in the courts as of yet and many lawyers believe that most aspects of MMOs' EULAs aren't enforceable.

For example, according to many MMOs' EULAs they own everything, your character, your items, your gold, everything. You are actually paying a monthly fee to "use" or "rent" their items but you have no right whatsoever to transfer "your" items to someone else -- but yet how is it that you can use the WoW auction houses? Or the WoW mail system? Or trade with other characters? And what is preventing you from doing those above-mentioned activities in-game (which is seemingly legal) but if I ask you for money to perform this same exact activity those activities are suddenly illegal? Best not to think too hard on this I guess.

Back to the point, bravo Greg on taking a stand but I think it's like shouting into the wind at this point. Gold farmers are here to stay and are they really all that bad to begin with?

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:00 PM | Posted to MMORPG |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 18, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 35 - 01.18.2006

Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!This week I review a Japanese import for the Nintendo DS and actually play it on the show. The results are, err, interesting. Also the results from the "Final Thoughts Contest" from a few weeks ago and the list of your favorite games of 2005.

Gaming Steve Episode 35 Program

  • 00:01:45 Game News:
    • BloodRayne opening declared "a debacle".
    • EA trademarks "System Shock".
    • The Tetris are coming! The Tetris are coming!
    • 25 to Life (anyone remember this game?) is released.
    • 2005 a record year for US console gaming.
    • 2005 is also a record year in the UK.
    • Meanwhile Nintendo totally owns Japan in 2005.
    • US PC sales drop 14 percent.
  • 00:21:29 GameTalk: What is the future of PC gaming?
  • 00:36:33 SporeTalk: I answer lots of questions about Spore.
  • 00:47:43 Game Review: Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! for the Nintendo DS.
  • 00:56:30 RetroReview: System Shock 2 for the PC.
  • 01:06:10 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and a very cool prize!
  • 01:09:06 Show Mail: I answer your audio and email questions.
  • 01:46:00 Final Thoughts: Results of the "Final Thoughts Contest" from a few weeks ago, what were your best games of 2005, and getting "into the gaming zone".
Download the show (118 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 35 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
Vote for Gaming Steve on Podcast Alley.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 8:00 PM | Comments (4) | Posted to Classic | Podcast | Review | Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 16, 2006

Run Mario Run! Watch Hundreds of Games Completed in Record Time!

Run Mario Run!Think you're fast at completing games? Or do you just like watching other people zip through a game in record time? Then head over to Speed Demos Archive where you can view and submit videos of people beating some of the most popular games in record time.

According to the site "a speed run is a video of a player striving to complete a video game in as fast a time as they can manage. Sound easy? It's not! A large number of tricks are usually used, possibly skipping whole areas of a game in the process, and there will always be mistakes."

The list of speed runs is quite impressive with a little more than 200 games currently on the site. All of the runs can be viewed as a video and often the "runner" will provide notes as to how they accomplished their run.

What I really like about this site is the outstanding selection of games. Never got around to playing the legendary Chrono Trigger? Well now you can watch someone complete the entire game, including all the side quests! Of course the video of this run is 647 MB but many of the runs are broken up into several segments so even modem users can view most of the runs without too much trouble.

Looking through this list some of these runs are truly impressive, such as the run of Baldur's Gate 2: Shadows of Amn (1 hour, 11 minutes, 37 seconds -- how did he do that?), Super Mario 64 (19 minutes, 47 seconds -- that's crazy), and Blast Corps (41 minutes, 17 seconds -- this game gets crazy-hard towards the end and it has 57 levels ... how did he do that?).

So what are the longest runs? The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (6 hours, 42 minutes), Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (7 hours, 11 minutes), and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (7 hours, 46 minutes). Whoa, I knew GTA: SA took awhile to finish but when the very fastest run is nearly 8 hours long that's pretty telling.

And the shortest runs? Super Mario Bros. (5 minutes, 6 seconds), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (3 minutes, 35 seconds), and Marble Madness for the NES (3 minutes, 13 seconds). Wow, and you thought King Kong was a short game?

Posted by Gaming Steve at 10:00 AM | Posted to Classic |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 12, 2006

When Playing an MMORPG Becomes a Job

WOW is workYou play World of Warcraft, night after night, going on quest after quest, killing monster after monster and then it happens. You finally reach the pinnacle of power ... level 60! Finally! Your days of endless grinding and running the level treadmill are over!

Or so you thought ... oh no, once you get to level 60 your work really begins! You thought getting a mount was hard? Please. Try getting a complete set of insanely super rare Tier 2 armor for your character. Once you start on this seemingly endless quest you'll wish you never heard of WOW!

For those people not familiar with the WOW "end game" the only way to get the very most powerful weapons and armor is to go on massive 20 or 40-person raids of the most difficult dungeons and defeat the most powerful monsters. And since these monsters only drop a few random pieces of armor for you and your 39 other peeps, you will need to raid these same dungeons again, and again, and again, in order to get even a few of these choice artifacts. Needless to say, you need to join a guild in order to get even participate in regular raids and start tweaking your character.

So why am I bringing this up? Simple, since WOW first launched my friends and I have gone through a number of different guilds each with their own set of "rules". I thought I had seen it all until I spoke with one guild who required the following from its members (I took out all the mundane rules):

The guild performs dungeon raids on a NIGHTLY basis, with that in mind the following rules are expected of all members in order to stay in "good standing":
  • The guild raids seven days a week, you are expected to attend no less than five raids per week and must give advance notice when you can not attend a raid event.
  • All members are expected to attend the weekly guild meeting via TeamTalk where we discuss raid tactics, strategy, guild matters, etc.
  • Raid loot is awarded according to the standard DKP system, however new members may not bid on loot until their trial period of guild membership (90 days) has passed.

Attend guild raids no less than five times a week? Mandatory weekly meetings? A 90-day trail period? Uh, aren't we playing a game here? When did WOW become so much work? The sad part is that most WOW guilds have very similar rules in order to guarantee regular group raiding because you will need to perform hundreds of trips in order to obtain the very best equipment.

My question is do you belong to a guild in any MMO which has really strict rules? Are you past the "fun stage" of your MMO and fully entrenched into the "work" stage? Of course, how else are you going to get that wicked cool Tier 2 Epic Armor? Oh WOW, you are oh so evil...

Posted by Gaming Steve at 8:00 PM | Posted to MMORPG |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 11, 2006

World of Warcraft Guide to Cooking and Fishing

World of Warcraft Guide to Fishing and CookingThis might seem a bit out of place here, but I thought I should post this excellent guide that my formally WOW-obsessed friend wrote up on how to become an expert fisherman and cook in just a single day. Since my friend no longer plays WOW (that is, until the expansion comes out!) and his guide was going to waste, I thought it would be a good idea to share his wisdom to the world. So many thanks to Clapperoth for his excellent guide...

Clapperoth's Guide to Reaching Level 300 Cooking and Fishing in a Single Day

Every group of people I've played with have at some point made the error of asking guildmates to save their wolf and boar meat so they can start leveling up cooking. Oh those sad, sad people, not realizing where the real meat of the matter is.

The fact is that you can raise cooking to 300 quite easily just using the fish you pull up while raising up your fishing skill, and it only takes a couple of hours to raise both to expert level at the same time.

So, for the Horde, here is what you do:

1) Bloodhoof Village: There is a Fishing trainer along the lake, a cooking trainer in the large tradecraft hut, and a vendor on the north side of town that sells "Fishing Supplies". I mention this last one as this vendor sells the "Recipe: Brilliant Smallfish" that requires only 1 cooking skill to cook fish. (This recipe is also sold by the Fishing supplies camp in Tirisfal Glades between Undercity and the Scarlet Monestary).

But where can I go to find Brilliant Smallfish you ask? Why, right there at the lake next to Bloodhoof. You can raise both fishing and cooking to 50-75 skill without ever leaving town, and use the trainers there to go to journeyman in both.

2) Ratchett: The next step on your journey will be lovely Ratchett in the Barrens. Here, a kindly vendor who stands near the head of the dock will sell you the "Recipe: Rainbow Fin Albacore" which requires 50 cooking skill. And once again, these tasty fish can be found ... right there fishing off the dock, where you can wave at the nice elves, dwarves and gnomes leaping from the boat for an adventure before they are slaughtered by the Horde players who hang out there waiting for them.

You can raise your fishing skill over 100 here, and cook the fish up to about 100 as well, while also getting some random extras like Oily Blackfish, Firefin Snapper and some engineering supplies that can be used, sold, or given as gifts to your lower skill alchemist and engineering friends.

But ... before you leave Ratchett, visit the kindly fisherman at the end of the dock one more time, because there is another cooking recipe you will need: "Recipe: Bristle Whisker Catfish". Then you are ready for your next exciting adventure of standing in place clicking a bobber every few minutes.

*** For the lazy and rich: Ignore most beyond this point regarding good fishing spots if all you want to do is raise cooking and don't care about getting fishing up at all. At around 100 skill you can buy raw fish from "fish food" vendors and skill up cooking that way. I like the fishing vendor at Steamwheedle Port in Tanaris (building right next to the dock) for this method. You would raise cooking to 225 at least doing this, although without fishing you won't have access to the ingredients for some of the artisan recipes, like mana regen buff, +agi buff, etc. ***

3) Stonetalon/Milkfallom Lake: There are other spots where you can get the friendly Bristle Whisker Catfish (e.g. the river just south of the Orgrimmar west entrance), but in Milkfallom Lake in Stonetalon, about 4 out of 5 items you fish up are this delicious (and whiskered) delicacy. To avoid dealing with Alliance while there, I suggest swimming to the little island in the middle of the lake to do your fishing, but that's up to the individual's desire.

Fishing these up will take both your fishing skill and cooking skill to about 150 without much effort, at which point you need to go on a journey of exploration for the books to raise your skills to expert.

Expert Fishing: This guide can be found in Booty Bay for 1g. If you were to enter Booty Bay from the water via the sea ramp, there is a "Fisherman" NPC in the door to your immediate right.

Expert Cooking: This is sold in Shadowprey Village in Desolace again for 1g.

4) 150-175, Make It Up: No perfect fish for cooking skill 150-175 although the Bristle Whisker won't have become trivial for you so will still give you some bonus. Otherwise the tangy clam meat from clamshells that sea creatures drop can be used here for the 125 trainer recipe Goblin Deviled Clams (and is fished up sometimes in #5)

5) Grom'gol/Shadowprey/Booty Bay: Buy some +75 lures at any fishing supplies vendor (for Shadowprey and Booty Bay they are right there where you will be fishing). For Gron'gol and Booty Bay, the fish you are looking for is Raw Rockscale Cod. In Shadowprey at the dock you will be fishing up Mithril Trout. Both of these are 175 skill cooking recipes sold at the Cook in Booty Bay and the cooking supplies vendor in Shadowprey.

Doing both or either of these will take your cooking to 225 and you will have to do a quest to raise to artisan. Cooking quest details are found here.

It's possible that you will also get fishing to 225 in Stranglethorn Vale or Desolace if you work at it, but you will raise cooking to 225 well before you get fishing there as fishing skillups slow down as you progress. You really only need to get to late 100s anyway.

6) Cooking to 300: At around 190 fishing skill you can buy +75 lures and fish in the river in Ferelas right in town there (next to the flight master works). This river has the advantage that a wide variety of fish come up so you can play with several recipes, although the dock at Steamwheedle is also good (but again, alliance will pester you as opposed to Ferelas). All of the cooking recipes you will need are either sold there in Camp Monanche in Ferelas or at the merchant in Steamwheedle Port in Tanaris. There are about 8-10 recipes between those two merchants, I won't list them all, just visit both vendors.

7) Fishing to 300: May god have mercy on your soul because Blizzard certainly won't. That's really all I have to say on that.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:00 PM | Comments (32) | Posted to MMORPG |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 10, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 34 - 01.10.2006

Guild WarsWelcome to my first interview podcast for 2006 where I got the chance to sit down with Jeff Strain, Founder and President of ArenaNet, and makers of the hugely successful Guild Wars.

During our talk we discuss the upcoming expansion Guild Wars: Factions, Jeff's thinking behind creating a dynamically generated MMO world, the technology behind their worldwide servers and content streaming system, the upcoming schedule for new future content, as well as much more. Enjoy!

Gaming Steve Episode 34 Program

  • 00:03:16 GameTalk: Interview with Jeff Strain from ArenaNet, the makers of Guild Wars.
  • 00:31:00 Show Mail: I answer your audio and email questions.
  • 01:09:00 Final Thoughts on my contest from last week, the new Gaming Steve T-shirts, and what I'm currently playing.
Download the show (73 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 34 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
Vote for Gaming Steve on Podcast Alley.

Assassin vs Ritualist in new Arena
Assassin vs Ritualist in new Arena.

Isle of the Nameless (new training ground)
Isle of the Nameless (new training ground).

Male Ritualist looking all evil
Male Ritualist looking all evil.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 4:00 PM | Posted to Interview | MMORPG | Podcast |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 9, 2006

Are All Video Game Movies Unmitigated Disasters?

BloodRayneSo it appears that BloodRayne was an unmitigated disaster of this weekend. Not only did it only take in just $1.2 million this past weekend (and that's a generous estimate) but Romar, the company that is distributing the film, was supposed to distribute it to 1915 theaters. Instead is ended up showing in less than 1000 screens this weekend and that hundreds of theaters reported receiving prints of the film that they didn't order; needless to say, they refused to screen them. Not good, not good at all.

So I began to wonder, do "video game movies" ever actually make money? Or are they all nothing more than one disaster after another? So I went to one of my favorite sites Box Office Mojo and put together some numbers. I believe they are all there and they paint an interesting picture, take a look:

"Video Game Movie"Domestic GrossProduction BudgetEst. Marketing CostsRelease DateTotal Worldwide Gross
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider$131,168,070$115 millionN/A6/15/01$274,703,340
Pokemon: The First Movie$85,744,662$30 millionN/A11/10/99$163,644,662
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life$65,660,196$95 million$35 million7/25/03$156,505,388
Pokemon: The Movie 2000$43,758,684$30 millionN/A7/21/00$133,949,270
Resident Evil: Apocalypse$51,201,453$45 million$25 million9/10/04$129,394,835
Mortal Kombat$70,454,098N/AN/A8/18/95$122,195,920
Resident Evil$40,119,709$33 million$20 million3/15/02$102,441,078
Street Fighter$33,423,521$35 millionN/A12/23/94$99,423,521
Final Fantasy: The Spirts Within$32,131,830$137 million$30 million7/11/01$85,131,830
Pokemon 3: The Movie$17,052,128$16 millionN/A4/6/01$68,411,275
Doom$28,048,600$60 millionN/A10/21/05$52,719,567
Mortal Kombat II: Annihilation$35,927,406N/AN/A11/21/97$51,376,861
Pokemon 4Ever$1,727,447N/AN/A10/11/02$28,023,563
Super Mario Bros.$20,915,465$48 millionN/A5/28/93$20,915,465
House of the Dead$10,249,719$12 million$10 million10/10/03$13,818,181
Wing Commander$11,578,059$30 millionN/A3/12/99$11,578,059
Alone in the Dark$5,178,569$20 millionN/A1/28/05$6,459,986
Double Dragon$2,341,309N/AN/A11/4/94$2,341,309
BloodRayne$1,200,000$25 million$22 million1/6/06$1,200,000
Pokemon Heroes$746,381N/AN/A5/16/03$746,381

Wow, those Pokemon movies sure made a pretty penny. Perhaps Uwe Boll should try to do some animated movies instead. On second thought ... perhaps that wouldn't be a good idea. Maybe it's time that Uwe Boll try out his skill as an air condition repairman or auto mechanic as this film director career doesn't seem to be working out so well.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:00 PM | Posted to Culture |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 5, 2006

Hundreds of Rare Video Game Soundtracks ... Found!

Complete Sounds of Katamari DamacyDo you love video game music? Of course you do. Personally I love buying video game soundtracks, but they are often quite difficult to find. Sure you can hope over to Amazon to pick up Halo, Jade Empire, or Kingdom Hearts. But what if you're looking for some best, and most difficult to find, soundtracks of all time?

Well look no further than Japanese import site Not only will you find a huge selection of Japanese games, toys, and movies, but their selection of video game soundtracks is simply astounding. With well over 1200(!) video game soundtracks to choose from you can easily blow a couple of Benjamins in a matter of minutes. Just take a look at some of these choice albums (I feel like K-Tel):

As well hundreds more. Best of all, the prices are quite reasonable (especially considering that they're all import titles). Oh man, that iPod is going to be filled up mighty quick!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 10:00 PM | Posted to Culture | Random |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 4, 2006

Sega Genesis Lives! Beggar Prince To Be Released Spring 2006

Sega Genesis Lives! Beggar Prince!Sure a new game hasn't been released for the Sega Genesis in America since 1998, but that hasn't stopped San Diego developer Super Fighting Team from releasing a brand new game for Sega's beloved system.

Beggar Prince tells the story of Steven, a bored prince who decides to escape his castle dressed as a beggar to experience life among the commoners. Of course with the prince gone the evil Minister usurps control of the throne and now Steven is barred from re-entering his own castle. Thus begins Steven's adventure of who must prove his identity and retake the throne.

Originally released as "Xin Qi Gai Wang Zi" in Taiwan in 1996, the Super Fighter Team has worked with the game's original developers to translate the game into English and release it for USA and Europe this Spring. Beggar Prince looks like your standard Genesis-style RPG with towns to visit, people to talk to, quests to conquer, monsters to battle, and so forth ... your typical RPG of the time. Graphically the game looks stunning and the combat system seems quite interesting. After flipping through the Beggar Prince web site and viewing the bright, crisp graphics makes you almost yearn for the days of 16-bit gaming.

You can pre-order the game for around $46 and is set to ship in Spring 2006. It will play in any Sega Genesis, Megadrive or Nomad system regardless of region (it will work on both NTSC and PAL systems). Can't wait to break out the old Genesis and give this one a whirl!

Posted by Gaming Steve at 10:00 PM | Posted to Classic | Preview |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 3, 2006

Gaming Steve Episode 33 - 01.03.2006

Gaming Steve Spore Recruit TribetoolsWhy not start off the new year with a healthy dose of some Gaming Steve? I'm back with the first podcast of 2006, enjoy!

Gaming Steve Episode 33 Program

  • 00:02:17 Game News:
    • Pokemon USA threatens to sue cancer researchers.
    • World of Warcraft pop 5 million and counting.
    • Monster WOW patch released.
    • G4 takes on Trek.
    • EA adjusts earnings downward.
    • NHL checks EA exclusivity offer.
    • Judge blocks California game law.
    • Jack Thompson buys shares in Take-Two.
    • Video games get commemorative postage stamps.
    • Why was Take-Two's Paul Eibeler the "Worst CEO of 2005"?
  • 00:35:03 GameTalk: Too much mail! Moved this week to the Show Mail segment.
  • 00:35:53 SporeTalk: A look at my third exclusive Spore artwork and important Spore-related dates.
  • 00:42:19 Game Review: Condemned: Criminal Origins for the Xbox 360.
  • 00:58:30 RetroReview: The Bard's Tale for the IBM PC, Apple ][, Apple ][GS, Commodore 64, Atari ST, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, NES, Macintosh, and Sinclair ZX.
  • 01:11:33 “Name That Game!” contest winner from last week, a new clip, and a very cool prize!
  • 01:14:14 Show Mail: I answer your many email questions.
  • 02:13:12 Final Thoughts on ... does anyone listen to this section?
Download the show (136 minutes): Gaming Steve Episode 33 (MP3).

Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (MP3).
Add the Gaming Steve Podcast feed to your RSS aggregator.
Vote for Gaming Steve on Podcast Alley.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 10:00 PM | Posted to Classic | Podcast | Review | Spore |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 2, 2006

Farewell Asheron's Call 2: November 2002 - December 2005

Farewell Asheron's Call 2On December 30th the gaming world lost one of their own. Quietly, peacefully Asheron's Call 2 simply ceased to be....

Empyrean magic has once again fled this world. The battle for Dereth continues on a different plane now. As his final act in this realm, Asheron sealed every portal to contain the expanding horde and protect what is left of the races who called Dereth home.

As of December 30, 2005 the AC2 service is no longer available. Turbine and the AC2 development team would like to express our thanks to the many players who've been part of Asheron's Call 2 over the years. We hope you've had as much fun playing the game as we did creating it for you.

It's never easy to say goodbye to a place you've called home, but we hope to see all of you in Turbine's other worlds.

Many of you probably never played Asheron's Call 2, or even gave this game a second glance, but I'm sure you have heard of this game and its passing has to make one stop and think of the eventual fate of all MMOs. Eventually, perhaps in three years, perhaps in thirty, they will all come to an end. EverQuest, Ultima Online, even World of Warcraft will one day go quietly into that good night.

Asheron's Call 2 ... we might not have known you well but you will be remembered and missed.

Posted by Gaming Steve at 10:30 AM | Posted to MMORPG | PC |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!

January 1, 2006

Will Wright Discussing Gaming as a Form of Time Travel

Will Wright Discussing Gaming As A Form of Time TravelHappy New Year everyone! And what better way to start off the new year than by watching a presentation by Will Wright? Will recently spoke at the When 2.0 workshop at Stanford University and talked about the role of time in game play. CNET just posted a short video of his speech for all to view and even though its only four minutes long it is quite interesting.

For those who have never heard a lecture by Will Wright before, it is a truly memorable experience. Listening to him talk for just a few minutes and you quickly realize that Will is really on a whole other level when it comes to designing games.

Also make sure to view his presentation from last year's Game Developers Conference where he unveiled to the world his next game creation, Spore (which we at Gaming Steve are following quite closely).

Posted by Gaming Steve at 2:00 PM | Posted to PC | Random |  Add this story to  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!