Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Walking Dead, Toy Soldiers DLC, and Escape Goat Shirts!  


GIVEAWAY: First things first, I'd like to start off by giving away the Darksiders 2 swag that I promised in the last update.  Eugaet, WeskerJ, Andrew, VDH360 and Marcela, you guys all win! Please send me an e-mail (my addy is to the right à) and I will hook you up with your goods.


Games: Started playing (and finished, actually) The Walking Dead, Episode 1 – A New Day on 360 last night. It runs about two hours and costs $5. For fans of the comic/show, it's an absolute must-play

It's best described as a combination of point-and-click gameplay with some Heavy Rain thrown in, and the mood and atmosphere are just perfect. I'm really not a fan of the obtuse, nonsensical puzzles this genre often relies on, but I'm happy to say that they are mostly avoided here. There were two times when I was scratching my head a little bit, but for the most part, all the focus is on the story and the puzzles are solved pretty logically.

The pace is fast, some familiar faces from the show/comic make an appearance, and there are plenty of significant choices and heavy situations that crop up. It's not perfect (my full review is on the way) but it's absolutely worth the cost of a double tall mocha and is a great addition to the Walking Dead franchise.

By the way, I played it on 360 and found the picture to be quite dark at times... I've heard that both PS3 and PC don't have that problem. Heads up!


In other heads-up news, the good people of @SignalStudios have stealth-launched not one, but TWO new add-on DLC packs for Toy Soldiers: Cold War.

I'll skip the run-down since I'm guessing most people who read this blog already know about Toy Soldiers. The series has been one of XBLA’s all-time best sellers since it debuted, and if you crave more, both Napalm and Evil Empire are available and ready to play at this very moment. 

I haven't cracked them yet myself (going to do just that once I post this blog, in fact) but these guys don't make bad games. If you didn't know these DLCs were coming -- and really, I don't think many people did -- then you have just been informed.


Games: I finished the Wolfenstein RPG today (iOS) but only after much heartburn... like most iD shooters, the developers take some absolutely cheap shots at the player in terms of design, and what starts out as a clever, fun title turns into something that will make you gnash your teeth and go to GameFAQs in search of a God Mode. (And yes, there is one, although I am proud to say that I did not use it to finish...) 

I still recommend it, but I would caution anyone starting it to be aware of what they're getting into. iD can be some real bastards at times.


While I was still raging over the infuriating cheapness of Wolf’s endgame, I jumped back into Trials Evolution and used my fuming anger to complete the last two Extreme tracks that I hadn't finished. I knocked them out one right after another, and the day before I had finally gotten around to finishing the final Extreme in Trials HD that had been left undone for two years.

At this point, I've now at least Bronzed every track in the series, and I've got to say, it feels pretty damned good. Trials on Extreme is some of the hardest, most brutal stuff in all of gamedom if you ask me, so being able to complete the tracks (even if my times/faults are garbage) is definitely good enough for me.


I mentioned it on Twitter the other day, but I recently played through the demo of Sniper Elite V2 (360) and it was a hell of a lot of fun.

I'm a sucker for sniping in games if it's done well, and I had high hopes for the original Sniper Elite. I'm sorry to say that it completely did not scratch the itch back then, but V2 seems to take the same concept from the first game and polish it up quite a bit. The graphics are a thousand times better, the controls feel smoother, and the developers have added frequent and varied kill-cam shots that Never Get Old. There’s even one that mimics the new Mortal Kombat’s X-ray supermoves… it’s pure giggles.

I was only partially interested in it before playing the demo, but it's definitely going on my must-play list now. If the full game is as entertaining as that little section I saw, it will make for one fine weekend.


At the time I'm writing this, there are approximately 19 hours left for fans of SoulCaster and Escape Goat to buy limited-editionT-shirts offered by @MagicalTimeBean

Both of these titles (XBLI) are FAB-U-LOUS, and if you're a fan the way I'm a fan, you'll want to jump on this before time is up.



One final thought for the night before I sign off -- I'm not a fan at all of on-disc DLC (AKA ransomware) and I see common sentiment in gamedom echoes that. However, I was thinking about it the other day, and it struck me as a little odd that Skylanders is one of the biggest offenders out there, if not THE biggest, and nobody has said a peep about it.

Don't get me wrong, I think the game is great and having little figures to collect is fun, but unless I'm totally incorrect, the disc has something like thirty characters, four new environments and a few random odds and ends on it, and buying these figures just unlocks them. I mean, I'm not an expert on exactly how the chips embedded in the figures work, but it doesn't seem likely to me that the information necessary to access a character or whatnot is completely contained within the figure itself.

If my guess is correct about the extra content already being on the disc, that adds up to something like $400 needed to see it all (not including the initial game purchase) and that's no small sum, yo.


Nexgen, one of the oldest developer and publishers of mobile titles in Singapore, announced today its newest title, Elven Legends:  Rise of Nightshades for the Apple® iOS platforms.  As a sequel to the multi-award winning mobile game from 2008this game will deliver AAA quality along with its signature RPG gameplay.   There will be a KickStarter campaign later this month to help raise money for this long-awaited title.

Elven Legends:  Rise of the Nightshades is an action-RPG in the same vein as Diablo.  The object of the game is to fight through vicious enemy mobs and destroy a powerful boss on each level using a hero that can be leveled up and also strengthened through magical items.  Players use a unique touch system to cast spells by dragging a finger across the screen to affect the terrain and any enemies in its path. Dungeon explorers can rely on different magical spells in combination with their attacks to form complex strategies on the battle field and even use the environment as a weapon.  The game is being developed using the ground-breaking Unreal Development Kit (UDK) to bring rich visuals to this mobile title, and it will also showcase its art in full HD quality. 

This new game is coming hot on the heels of Nexgen's newest title, Deep Sea Catch, a AAA quality iOS title that will be free to play when it's released later this month.  Both of their new titles are being made for the New iPAD® by using enhanced graphics capable of shinning on the iPAD's new display. For more information on Elven Legends:  Rise of Nightshades please visit


Total ArKade Software today announced AbraWordabra, an original word game for iPhone, iPad, Android and Bada systems,will be released on May 2nd.

AbraWordAbra mixes word games with arcade action to create an utterly new and addictive experience in word gaming. Marvo the Magician has turned everyone into Blocks! Now it's up to you to change them back into human form.

AbraWordabra features a mix of great characters, from Lufty and Tufty, Shrieking Shirley and 'Baaaad' Baby through to Fanny, crazy guy Tongue and The Don, who'll make you an offer you can't refuse...
AbraWordabra is a Universal app for iPhone/iPad and will also be available on Android and Bada formats. It will be on sale from May 2nd and will sell for 99 cents. The trailer can be seen at or the AbraWordabra channel on Youtube. A Lite version will also be available on day of launch.

For all the latest news and info, visit the official website at


Get ready to live the lavish life of kingpin Tony Montana! Mobile game publisher Fuse Powered today announced, in conjunction with Hothead Games and Universal Partnerships & Licensing, that its latest mobile game, Scarface, is now available on the iTunes App Store for free.

Based on the epic film that inspired a worldwide phenomenon, Scarface is an action game that allows fans to relive the meteoric rise of cultural icon Tony Montana. Thirsty for power and money, players can work their way to the top of Miami's underworld by building their empire and expanding their businesses Montana-style. In addition, users looking to increase their status can do so through in-game transactions.
Scarface is now available on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.  


Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Half-Life and Counter-Strike) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today announced the free Portal 2 DLC titled "Perpetual Testing Initiative" will be available for the PC and Mac on May 8th.

The "Perpetual Testing Initiative" allows players to easily create, share, and play Portal 2 puzzles. The Initiative comes with a simplified puzzle maker that allows that creation of mind-bending puzzles without ever leaving the game.

 The puzzle maker can directly publish maps to the Steam Workshop where users can browse, vote on, and select to play them. Selected puzzles will automatically be downloaded and installed inside Portal 2.
For more information on Portal 2 and its downloadable content, please visit


What good is that new iPad if games aren't optimized for it? The proudly Polish professionals at 11 bit studios think the answer to that question is, "not very good at all," and  have jumped into action. The team behind one of the best-reviewed iOS games available has gone and updated Anomaly Warzone Earth to include support for stunning Retina graphics, so you can start blasting the crap out of alien towers in unprecedented detail.

To celebrate this wondrous occasion, the game is available for half price on the App Store -- that's $1.99 for the HD (universal) version and $0.99 for the standard one.


Strategy First, Inc. and indiePub are proud to present the high speed arcade racing game Fireburst to more than 40 million Steam users.

Order Fireburst between April 25 and May 2, 2012, and receive a red hot 20% savings off of the regular $9.99 price. Blast opponents off the road with Fireburst, an explosively fun and fast-paced arcade style game developed by exDream using the Unreal 3 engine. Rev up to scorching speeds to outrun opponents on a dozen different tracks, setting them ablaze in your flaming wake.

Get behind the wheel with 16 eccentric drivers and customize your ride with hundreds of unlockable skins. Fireburst includes single-player and multiplayer modes with up to eight drivers competing online. Keep opponents at bay in blazing fashion thanks to the innovative Fireboost system that delivers thrilling action and explosive graphics. Choose from 16 cars in four different categories, each with its own unique Fireboost ability.

Fireburst is fully integrated with SteamWorks and features twelve Steam Achievements increasing the re-playability value.

Fireburst is available now for PC (Windows) via Steam( for $9.99 (20% discount through May 2, 2012) and will be available summer 2012 for Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.

To learn more about Fireburst please visit


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Darksiders II Giveaway, Dragon's Dogma Demo, and World Gone Sour  


It's my night to blog and today has been a long day... we are gonna to do this sharpish so I can get myself in bed before it's the day after tomorrow.


The good people behind Darksiders 2 have given me some codes to help promote the brand-new Avatar gear that's now available in the XBL Marketplace. You can get the full scoop in the PR/News/Info section down below, but for right now, let me give away some stuff...

I've got two Necro Armor (male), one Necro Armor (female), and two Reaper props on hand. Want one of these? Then tell me which of the seven deadly sins is your favorite, and why. Keep it short, make it long, tell me a joke, be serious... whatever.

Post your answers as a comment here at the blog and I'll draw winners the next time I update. (Oh, and when you comment, please tell me which item you want!)


The Dragon’s Dogma demo is now out for both XBL and PSN, apparently. I haven't had a chance to play it yet, but from what people have been telling me, it sounds extremely similar to the demo they had running at last year's PAX.

Given that we currently have a huge, yawning gap where a new Monster Hunter should go, it seems as though Capcom is intending Dragon’s to sort of (maybe? kinda?) fill it. I have no idea how successful that will be, but I am wondering how the PR teams behind it are intending to sell it... apparently some people are expecting it to be the next Skyrim, some (like me) are expecting a Westernized Monster Hunter hybrid, and a whole lot of people don't know what to expect. There have also been some major quality concerns raised, though who knows how that will play out in the final version.

Given that the game is due to hit stores fairly soon, it's a little alarming that there are still so many major question marks surrounding it…  I am definitely hoping for the best, though.


Oh, what have I been playing? Not much... game time has been in short supply lately, but I have two Extreme tracks left to finish in Trials Evo, and I've been inspired to go back and try to complete the final Extreme that I never polished off in Trials HD. (and boy, did I come thisclose to doing it today...) Props to @FatShadyLive for all his tips and words of encouragement!

Besides that, the wife and I were craving some two-player, so I dug Skylanders out again and we started a new quest. My oldest son and I almost beat it when he was here for spring break, but we didn't quite get the job done. 

In the interim, I picked up some new characters thanks to a mercy shipment from @llandamaar in the UK (yes, I can confirm that overseas Skylanders DO work here) so it's almost like playing a new game thanks to these new additions. Stump Smash, I CHOOSE YOU!

Also, although I haven't played it yet myself, the wife started World Gone Sour on XBLA and I have to say that it kind of blew my mind. I expected a cheap, crappy license tie-in for Sour Patch Kids, but the game seems to have a pretty solid platform and base and the writing is totally mental. Swear words, a dark nihilistic tone, and several not-too-subtle sexual references including a ‘your momma’s dildo’ one that almost had me falling out of my chair.

I was only half-listening when my significant other was playing through it, but I heard more than enough to convince me to pony up $5 and check it out for myself a little bit later...


Bloodforge out Wednesday – Tobuscus Hosts Live Release Day Event

Microsoft Studios has teamed up with several popular YouTube gamers, known as the “Arcade NEXT All-Stars”, to host a live streaming gameplay event showcasing each week’s new release, and Tobuscus will be hosting the second live streaming Arcade NEXT event this Wednesday, April 25 at 5pm PST on Twitch.TV, playing Bloodforge.  With a brutal combat system, stunning art style, and a deeply compelling story, Bloodforge empowers you to slaughter hordes of demonic soldiers, deformed worshippers, and the gods themselves, using ferocious Rage Kills, devastating Rune attacks, and furious Weapon Combos.  

Watch the Bloodforge “Aftermath” trailer here: and visit to stream the live event Wednesday. There will also be a chance to win prizes!


THQ Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI) today launched a premium Avatar collection for 
Darksiders II on the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

The Xbox 360® Darksiders II Avatar Collection features a broad selection of different items to customize your Avatar’s appearance ranging from full armor sets to animated props and clothing. Prices range from 80 to 400 Microsoft Points an item. A premium collection for the PlayStation®3 is expected to be released at a later date.

 To celebrate the launch of the Darksiders II Avatar Collection THQ will be giving away a free Xbox LIVE Avatar t-shirt featuring a design by game creator Joe Mad while stocks last. To find out how to claim your Avatar t-shirt visit the Darksiders II Facebook page

Fans of the game can still pre-order copies of the Darksiders® II Collector’s Edition while supplies last. This ultimate package includes the Limited Edition version of the game as well as a life-sized replica Death Mask with display stand, a unique in-game Shadow of Death armor and scythe set with enhanced stats, a digital copy of the Darksiders II sound-track and a hard-cover Darksiders II art book. The Collector’s Edition will be available in limited quantities as a pre-order item only and is anticipated to sell for around $99 USD.

For full information on the Collector’s Edition, Limited Edition and pre-order bonuses available for Darksiders II check out the Pre-order tab on
Darksiders II is scheduled to be available for console and PC in August 2012 with a WiiU™ version coming at a later date, for more information check


What is Super Monday Night Combat?

Super Monday Night Combat is a free to play, strategic, multiplayer shooter… and the most popular lethal sport of the future! It blends intense tactical combat, a deep metagame, an ever-expanding roster of Pros, and an ever-growing amount of customizations. Why fight in bombed out cities or desert wastelands when you can have every kill streak judged by hilarious sportscasters and cheering, or jeering, fans?

Key Features:

Free to Play
Super Monday Night Combat is free to play! Players can choose from a rotation of free Pros to play every week and have a chance of winning most customizations and gameplay improvements from our Post-Game Prize system!

Unique Strategic Multiplayer Shooter
Super Monday Night Combat blends intense combat of a shooter with lots of strategic depth. Shooting enemy players and bots, upgrading skills, and using money wisely is key to being victorious.

The Rules Have Changed
Super Monday Night Combat has increased the roster of Pros, the strategic depth of gameplay, the customization options and the amount of metagame over it’s predecessor. On top of all that, the rules will continue to change! Super Monday Night Combat is updated every week with balance and gameplay improvements, and new content such as Pros, uniforms, taunts, weapons, game modes, and maps!

Playable Pros
Each Pro comes with its own unique look, voice, taunts, uniforms, weapons and skills. Pros are broken up into Commandos, Defenders, Enforcers, Strikers, and Sharpshooters so you’ll have multiple to choose from to fit your play style!

Customize how you look with mix and match Pro uniform pieces, different weapons, and taunts. Then customize how you play by unlocking and setting up endorsements and products.

Deep Metagame
Playing Super Monday Night Combat allows you, the agent, to level up and earn combat credits to unlock lots of gameplay improvements. Players can also collect various customizations to perfect your look!
Steam Trading (Coming Soon)

Share and trade items for Super Monday Night Combat and across games using Steam Trading!

Super MNC Gameplay Overview Youtube:


Gamenauts today announced that their mega hit iOS game, Ninja Fishing, is now fit to set sail on all iOS devices! After doubling its content—a new world and new fish—since launch, a universal update has since been made available on the iTunes App Store and is free for a limited time!

Now, iPad wielders can see the hefty ninja Otoro in full screen mode as he sails through the Tranquil Seas and shores of Dinosaur Island. There, Otoro will encounter a colorful cast of 60 modern and prehistoric fish to make the best plate of sushi. Earn gold with every fish slashed to purchase better hooks, more drill fuel, and a fancier boat, five in total including the Flaming Pumpkin Boat, Viking Ship and even a Time Machine!

Draw your rods and swords once again and fill that ever-growing ninja appetite that has already hit 4 million players worldwide! An even wider variety of sushi, more worlds, fish, and game modes are on the way to Ninja Fishing with the upcoming Treasure Hunting and Shipwreck Cove update coming soon!


The creator of The Escapist’s Zero Punctuation Reviews (TM) and author of 2010’s runaway hit novel Mogworld is back with his hilarious follow-up! Jam takes the prophecies of the Mayans and turns them on their ear, with a twist on the apocalypse that no one could have expected! The first chapter will run in the newly released digital edition of Mogworld, available today for Nook and Kobo eReaders.

Since 2007, Yahtzee Croshaw’s animated Zero Punctuation reviews have packaged prescient criticism with frenetic animation, off-color humor, and rapid-fire delivery, making him a household name in the gaming community. Mogworld was his first foray into published fiction and has sold through multiple printings! Now, the debut novel finally makes it’s way to tablet readers, marking the beginning of Dark Horse’s foray into digital prose!

Additionally, readers will have a chance to get their first look at Jam, which is set for release later this year. Jam, a dark comedy pitting a handful of twenty-something slackers against a singularly sticky apocalypse, which is set for release later this year. Mogworld is available today for both Barnes & Noble’s NOOK™, as well as the Kobo Vox eReader. Jam arrives on sale on October 10, in print as well as digitally.


Wizkids and National Entertainment Collectibles Association (N.E.C.A.) today revealed the 
2012 Free Comic Book Day figure to be distributed at no cost to collectors, enthusiasts and fans at comic shops nationally on Free Comic Book Day, Saturday, May 5th. The physical figure, Thor, comes from the Marvel’s The Avengers HeroClix collection and will also contain a code for its digital counterpart.

This year marks Wizkids’ fourth year participating in Free Comic Book Day, offering comic book shops around the country a free Super Hero figurine to distribute to shop-goers.

The free figure will be available on a first-come, first-served basis starting on Free Comic Book Day, May 5 at comic and hobby shops nationally. Single-figure boosters with “Free Comic Book Day” and “Avengers Marquee” packaging will contain the figure.

Each figure will contain a free code for the figure’s digital counterpart, which can be redeemed and used in the online game, HeroClix Online. For a list of participating shops, visit


QuakeCon 2012 online pre-registration is set to open Wednesday, April 25th!

While general admission to QuakeCon remains FREE for all attendees, when pre-registration opens we will be offering premium packages. These premium packages are limited and will be available on a first-come first-serve basis. For details see below:

Swag Pack | Full of Limited Edition Items: $40 (Limit of 500 packages available)
·         An Official QuakeCon 2012 T-Shirt
·         A Dishonored Tallboy T-shirt
·         A Special Limited Edition Poster

BYOC Select-a-Seat | Includes Guaranteed Reserved Seating: $30 (Limit of 1,500 packages available)
·         Select and Reserve a guaranteed seat of your choice in the BYOC area
·         An Official QuakeCon 2012 BYOC T-Shirt

QuakeCon done Quick | Includes Fast Passes for the Duration of the Event: $50 (Limit of 350 packages available)
·         Select and Reserve a guaranteed seat of your choice in the BYOC area
·         Express lane fast-pass registration for the BYOC
·         Express lane fast-pass to every speaker, panel, and public event at QuakeCon
·         Limited reserved access seating for all panels, presentations, and events
·         An Official QuakeCon 2012 BYOC T-Shirt
Pre-registration for QuakeCon will begin Wednesday at 7:00pm CST/8:00pm EST on
QuakeCon, the ultimate video game festival, will take place on-site at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, TX. Doors to QuakeCon will open on Thursday, August 2nd at 9:00am Central and will remain open through August 5th.

As always, the event remains FREE to general admission and BYOC attendees thanks to the support of id and Bethesda Softworks, as well as the QuakeCon volunteer staff and the 2012 event sponsors and exhibitors.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Trials Evolution, Chairlift, and Arcane Events  

So, I had a pretty save epic blog post all written up and save ready to post last night. I was pretty happy that I was save a little ahead of the game, and I figured save once that went up, I would be free to do other things save for the weekend.

Of course, you save can guess what happened save next...

I hadn't saved it since I was save still working on it, I opened save another document, and then the one that had the blog post save disappeared. I have no clue how or save why that happened, and I don't have any save explanation. It's been a long save time since I've lost so save much progress on a save document like save that, and I save had forgotten save how much it stings.

…Anyway, it's not as good and a lot shorter than what I lost, but here's save what I've got on tap for save tonight.

save save save


Games: Trials Evolution.

You know what it is, and you're probably already playing it. 

Apparently it’s set the Xbox Live record for first-day sales (over 100,000 last I heard) and it's got a phenomenal Metascore of 91 at the moment.

It couldn't have happened to a better game. It's every bit as good as people say (including me) and I'm quite happy to hear that it's found success.

I just "completed" it tonight (as in, rolled credits) and I thought it was quite merciful of developer RedLynx to let players get to "the end" at such a reasonable level of difficulty. Of course, that's far from the real end of the game, and I immediately moved on to the higher levels of difficulty. Before getting to Hard and Extreme, I felt like Evo was a little too easy. That opinion changed pretty quickly, though...

I'm working on a review at the moment, and I'm happy to compare times with anyone who wants to. If you're even halfway thinking about checking it out, just buy it. This has been a pretty great year for XBLA so far, and Trials Evolution is another big winner.

(By the way, it’s stuffed with nods to other games… check out this Limbo homage. SO COOL.)

Total thumbs up.

Music: A lot of current music I hear these days doesn't stick in my head for very long, but I was jumping around on the radio and heard a tune from Chairlift. After poking around on YouTube for a little bit, it appears that I like every song they've ever done. 

Check out their video for “Amanaemonesia” and see what you think. 


Comics: If you're in the Seattle area and you read comics, you may be interested to see that Arcane Comics (my local haunt) is having a series of events and guests. The schedule is as follows:

*Saturday April 21st @ Arcane Comics 1pm-5pm

SHOOTERS GN signing with authors ERIC TRAUTMANN and BRANDON JERWA! Come on in
and help us celebrate the release of their new Vertigo book!

*Friday April 27th @ Arcane Comics from 3pm-6pm

BRIAN HURTT-(Artist/Creator of The Sixth Gun, The Damned) will be signing to
promote the release of Sixth Gun TP Vol.3!

*Saturday May 5th, open to close.

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!-Sale info to be announced later.

Special Guests (so far):

MORITAT-(Artist for All Star Western, The Spirit, Elephantman etc.)

MATT SOUTHWORTH-(Artist and creator of Stumptown, artist on Spider-Man Grim
Hunt and Punisher with Greg Rucka.)






Microsoft Studios Presents: Arcade NEXT

Experience the next level of downloadable games with Arcade NEXT, a four-week promotion featuring the NEXT in Gamerscore, the NEXT in visual fidelity, and the NEXT in platform-defining gameplay! Beginning April 18, each Wednesday brings a new adventure with increased gamerscore and achievements.

Available April 25
Live Event Hosted By Tobuscus Wednesday, April 25
With a brutal combat system, stunning art style and a deeply compelling story, Bloodforge sends you into battle. Slaughter hordes of demonic soldiers, deformed worshippers and the gods themselves with Rage Kills, Rune Attacks and Weapon Combos. Seal Crom's fate in this dark, visceral story.

Fable Heroes
Available May 2
Live Event Hosted By Katers17 Wednesday, May 2
This action-packed, hack-and-slash adventure delivers a fresh spin on the Fable franchise with a unique art style and gameplay that takes playful competition to the next level. Whether on the couch or playing co-op on Xbox LIVE, work together to defeat enemies and collect gold coins.

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition
Available May 9
Live Event Hosted By Seananners Wednesday, May 9
The infinite possibilities of Minecraft just got bigger, bringing the phenomenal experience to a game console for the first time. The Arcade version includes an innovative new crafting interface, natural controller movements, plus local and online multiplayer modes.


Experimental Gamer Reveals “Boot Hill Heroes” – Kickstarter Announced

After an alleged attack by the Chepakwik Indians, the people of Bronco County are on the brink of war.  Only a farm boy who knows the truth that can stop it.  Together with his three friends  - a gunslinging desperado, an Indian princess, and a calamity jane - he must expose a conspiracy by bringing to justice the six outlaws of the notorious Saints-Little gang.  

Their journey will take them through cowtowns, Indian villages, ranches, gold mines, prisons, and into the very heart and soul of the American Wild West.  But on their epic adventure to right the wrongs of the past, will they see justice done or discover an even darker secret lying in wait behind the scenes?

“Boot Hill Heroes” is retro RPG set in the American Wild West in development for Windows and Xbox Live Indie Games fusing elements of spaghetti western film – like gunslinging outlaws, brave lawmen, and the untamed wilderness – with classic fantasy storytelling of good versus evil and order versus chaos.  It’s an experimental combination of ideas intended to bring a new and unique experience to gamers.

The game features a team of four characters – Kid, Doc, Moon, and Rosy.  A single player can control the entire party, or friends can play cooperatively by taking controlling of certain characters.  Players can seamlessly drop-in and drop-out just by picking up an Xbox controller (or an input device for the Windows version).  The menu system is designed so that four players can simultaneously manage their characters’ equipment and abilities.

On this adventure, players can find and equip various “job hats” that not only change the look of their characters but also allows them to learn new abilities associated with that job.  A “Stetson” teaches special pistol attacks while an “Indian Headdress” reveals magical support dances.  Players can then customize their characters by choosing which of these abilities they want to have equip and build a character that matches their style of playing.

Experimental Gamer is currently looking for funding to add music and sound effects to “Boot Hill Heroes” in order to meet an October 2012 release date.  We have created a Kickstarter page to raise $5000 and are offering special rewards to backers, such as NPC appearances and cake.

Boot Hill Heroes Trailer:

Super Ski Runner is obnoxious, provocative, and at the same time very unassuming. It's like Ski Free (remember that skiing game we all used to play on old PCs?) meets every possible hallucinogen in existence. Sure the graphics are cute, but the experience is one of a kind.

Super Ski Runner has power ups, unlockable hats, masks, achievements, online high scores, and even more bonus content packed into the Gold Edition for those who purchase the game for $1 or more: 5 secret characters, 4 extra music tracks, secret endings, a digital soundtrack album, 2 HD wallpapers, an exclusive art asset pack, Full screen mode, Rager mode, and your own name forever on Ironzilla's website as a Gold Supporter.

The crazy graphics were done by Jimp, critically acclaimed artist who has been involved with ArmorGames and hit games like Sushi Cat, This is The Only Level, Shore Siege, and more. The life like menu painting of the fearful Ski Boy was done by Mike Puncekar, featured on sites like Kotaku and in Nintendo Power Magazine.

John claims Super Ski Runner isn't meant to suggest drug use like most people think, but rather an outlet to get energized and positively enlightened. The fallout he experienced with publishers was an eye opener, as many wanted to change the pills to any other other edible and tone the graphics down, but John was unwilling to do either. The "controversial" game now stands as a testament to the many indie developers who are striking out on their own and finding success.

"The original Ski Runner was my first hit game, which I made when I was 16 years old," John says. " I've come a long way since then, and Super Ski Runner is my farewell to the series. I just want to say thanks to our fans, they rock! Ironzilla isn't done yet, we have plenty more surprises for you guys this year."

What are you waiting for? Super Ski Runner awaits!

More About Super Ski Runner:


Wonder Northwest, Portland’s Comics & Pop Culture Expo, returns for its second year on May 26th and 27th of 2012. Located at the Crowne Plaza hotel near Lloyd Center, features a dazzling array of vendors, guests, events, activities, music and general fun. Wonder Northwest is a wider and much more all encompassing presentation of geek and pop culture than is currently made available by the more specialized comic, anime, gaming and sci-fi shows in the area.

This year will see the addition of the MicroMini Geek Film Festival to the schedule. Presented on Saturday May 26th, this event will feature screenings of projects both long and short that all feature local talent. The inaugural lineup will include a brand new outing from the Planning to Fail (Spectacularly) web series, a sneak peak at Galaxy Sailor Productions’ Part of the Ship, Part of the Crew by Martin Vavra – an upcoming documentary on a local group of pirates and the construction of their colossal ship, a screening of last year’s Trek in the Park performance, and much more. Everything shown will be immediately followed by a Q&A session with people involved in the production of each project.

Another new addition this year will be live music in the main panel room following the daily events. Saturday will feature geeky girl duo the Doubleclicks and geeky boy band Asteroid M. Sunday night will be a cosplay dance party with Seattle area video game re-mixer the Icarus Kid, comic based entity Robot Uprise and hometown heroes the Slants.

Guests at this year’s show include street art heavy-hitter Bigfoot.  Hailing from the bay area, Bigfoot will be unveiling and taking preorders for his newest vinyl figure, The Forest Warlord.  PDX Yar, Portland’s local Pirate crew, will be making their triumphant return.  A popular and prominent feature of last years’ festivities, they will be presenting a panel, singing sea shanties, and performing live mock-battles for attendees to enjoy. Portland’s vibrant geeky podcasting community will be represented in full force and will feature live recordings by popular podcasts Nerd Fight and KaijuCast.

Attendees will also have a wide variety of events, signings, and contests available to partake in.  The most inclusive of these will be a costume contest with local celebrity judges and fabulous prizes distributed through multiple judging categories.  The vending hall will be host to an impressive array of vendors from many locations on the west coast and will feature a staggering variety of toys, comics, vintage collectibles, games and more. Each night will also see a special after party hosted by local businesses.  Saturday’s after party will be Heroes vs. Villains Power Struggle pub crawl hosted by local costuming do-gooders The Alter Egos Society, which will end at Firkin Tavern, and Sunday night’s will be a special performance of Critical Hit Burlesque’s Geeklesque: Destroy All Humans at the Bossanova Ballroom. There will also be a special pre-show kickoff party as a special edition of the Space Room’s normal Geek Out party.

Wonder Northwest is open to attendees of all ages with the exception of the after parties which are 21 and over due to their locations and content.  Tickets are available at the door or in advance via the Wonder Northwest website.  A one day pass is $8 and it is $15 for admission to both days of festivities. 

For more information and a schedule of events please visit


Capcom announced the impending arrival of the MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 2 App on the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch in North America and Europe. Sporting a robust 56-character roster featuring Wolverine, Ryu, Iron Man and Mega Man, MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 2gives players the opportunity to pit their favorite characters from the Marvel and Capcom universes against each other in an insane, action-packed, tag-team arcade fighting experience. 

Staying true to the original release, MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 2 will include the “Variable System,” which allows players to tag in other team members at any time. This system, specifically designed for MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 2 is also key to the execution of the most powerful attack, the “Team Hyper Combo,” where all three members of a team combine their ultimate powers.

The MARVEL VS. CAPCOM 2 App will be released on iPhone and iPod touch on April 25, 2012.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Transformers Prime, Pandora's Tower - MIA, and Game Talk!  


TV: Although I don't talk about it much, I'm a pretty big fan of Transformers and I have been since they first came out way back in 1984. Although the intensity of my passion has waxed and waned over the years, I've always kept a finger in the pot.

If I had to pick one era when I was really fanboyantly-out-of-control, it would have to be Beast Wars. While there was quite a stir when the line first launched for various reasons, many of the toys turned out to be quite cool and the TV show was the best thing that has ever been produced for the franchise. That was truly a glorious era. Since then, I've picked up a few toys here and there, but the various series after BW never grabbed me that much. Until now, that is.

Recently, the first season of Transformers Prime became available on Netflix and I started watching it on a lark one day. Within just a few minutes, I was strongly reminded of Beast Wars thanks to the small cast, serious tone, and CGI production style. Although I'm only a few episodes in, I am really, really liking what I'm seeing.

Staring Peter Cullen *and* Frank Welker - RECOGNIZE!!!
Ironically, while this show seems to be another high point for the Transformers franchise, the accompanying toy line has got to be one of the worst. It’s not the figures themselves, since the actual toys are of a great quality and look very attractive -- clever transformations, great design, and a good balance between robot and vehicle modes. No, the problem with the toys is that it's almost impossible to figure out what should be on a checklist thanks to some truly bizarre distribution, canceled figures, first editions of figures, multiple lines of size and complexity featuring the same characters, and certain things being available in other countries but not here.

I've been buying Transformers toys as long as they've existed, but this has got to be the most confusing, most messed-up system Hasbro’s ever had for getting these ‘bots on shelves. At this point, I've essentially given up on trying to decipher all the marketing/rarity nonsense and I've resigned myself to simply walking into my local Target and picking up whatever’s there.

It's a real shame since the show seems totally great so far, but I have no interest in chase figures, multiple versions or playing games with psycho availability. I'm a fan and ready to buy product, so what's up with this? The number of consumers hardcore enough to really put up with all of this garbage has got to be a tiny percentage of the overall market, so these shenanigans make less than no sense to me.


Games: I was talking to someone who would know, and the current word is that XSeed games currently has no plans to localize Pandora’s Tower (Wii) for the states.  Out of the three Operation Rainfall titles, this was the one I was most interested in and after seeing XSeed step up for The Last Story, I'd hoped that they would do the same for this one as well. 

They may change their mind in future, but as of right now it seems as though no one wants to take a risk on Pandora’s… I sure hope that changes.


Games: So what have I been playing? I'm glad you asked...

I just submitted a review for Elder Sign: Omens (iOS) which was a fantastic experience, even though the Very Hard campaign featuring Cthulhu was perhaps a bit too Very Hard. Look for that soon.

I'll also be finishing up a review for Anomaly: Warzone Earth (XBLA) either tonight or tomorrow. I'm not a big fan of Tower Defense, so it was a pleasant surprise to see this game flip that formula and put the player in the role of the oncoming enemies. It feels a bit like riding around in a lethal choo-choo train that has no brakes, really. It didn't blow my mind, but it's solid.

With that stuff out of the way, I'm sitting down with the 360 version of The Witcher 2 for a Second Opinion/new platform review to follow @RichardNaik’s take on the PC version. I'd say I'm about three or four hours into it so far, and it's pretty interesting. I can't say that I’m sucked in quite yet, but this game seems like it will be quite a slow burn.

Finally, since there isn't a single thing on the Vita that I'm interested in the moment (BOO!) all of my mobile gaming time has been going to my iPhone. By sticking to recommendations that people on Twitter have tossed my way, I've been quite happy with it. Recent notables? 100 Rogues and the Wolfenstein RPG are both big winners.

BJ is back in action!
If you're in the market for a new app, you can't go wrong with those.


Games: Here are a couple of good links to check out, if you're in the market for some game-oriented reading...

If you've ever found yourself playing a game where the difficulty is just insanely out-of-control, it could be because the challenge kept getting upped thanks to the devs being so good at their own game and losing sight of how tough it might be for someone who doesn't spend twelve hours a day with it. This opinion from the Indie Gamer Chick perfectly encapsulates this phenomenon that I've been thinking about for quite a while, yet never put down on paper. Now there's no need, since she nails it right on the head.

This piece by Chris Kohler has been all over journalism/review circles lately, but if you haven't seen it, he does a great job of explaining why blaming used game sales for the woes of the industry is really missing the point. As far as I'm concerned, he's right on the money (pun intended) with this one and I agree with nearly everything he says.

This last link is about one of my favorite games, Trials HD, and the bizarre, incredibly well-hidden secret that's taken a few years for the most dedicated fans to figure out. It's a little “inside baseball” if you're not familiar with the game already, but if you've played even casually, I think the hidden Easter eggs and camouflaged message here will impress. 

If nothing else, the amount of work and thought that went into embedding it into the game is fairly stunning.



ATLUS, the video game brand of Index Digital Media, Inc., today announced that after two and a half years of operation, the North American online servers for Demon's Souls for PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, the "Greatest Hits" hardcore multiplayer action RPG hailed as GameSpot's 2009 Game of the Year, will finally be shut down at the end of the final hour of May 31, 2012.  The game's substantial single player experience, which provides users with a dark, daunting realm to explore and towering bosses to topple, is unaffected by the server cessation.

ATLUS also today revealed plans to alter the game's online World Tendency twice in the month of May, once on May 1st and again on May 16th, based on fan vote via the ATLUS Faithful mailing list (  In addition, the publisher called upon all Boletarian adventurers--both past and present--to sign in on May 31st and celebrate the title one last time before the online servers close forever.

Demon's Souls is out now for PlayStation 3 system as part of its prestigious "Greatest Hits" library.  For more information, visit the game's official website ( 


Capcom is pleased to confirm that the previously announced playable demo of Capcom’s forthcoming open world action–RPG, Dragon’s Dogma, will be available to download globally via Xbox LIVE Marketplace and the North American PlayStation Store from Tuesday, April 24 and on the European PlayStation Store the following day, Wednesday April 25. 

With your party of three Pawns, the demo allows you to experience the different styles of two of the game’s character classes in two challenging encounters.

A melee specialist skilled in both attacks and counterattacks, as the Fighter you will make your way through underground tunnels and chambers before taking on the deadly Chimera in a Prologue quest, set before the events of the main game. 

Swift and nimble, the Strider’s weapons of choice are bow and daggers, use them well if you are to defeat the mighty Griffin in the open plains surrounding the capital of Gransys.

Let your imagination run wild and design both your playable character and main Pawn using the game’s incredibly in-depth character creation tools before you take on the Griffin; purchasers of Dragon’s Dogma will then be able to export both these characters into the full game on its release.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Indies & Self-Promotion, and a Containment Giveaway!  


The other day on Twitter, I had a discussion with a friend about being dissatisfied with the current types of games produced by the industry. He countered by saying that there were games in the indie space that filled that need, and that it was important for critics to seek them out and spread word of their existence.

I certainly agreed with that point, but I mentioned that there are so many small games on the Internet and that they are so widely dispersed, it's a real challenge to sift through the massive amount of content out there in the search for the gems worth discussing and sharing. 

I mean, it's just not feasible to sit down in front of a computer and play every indie game out there -- the amount of time required would be massive and not something easily accomplished, especially when other factors are taken into account. Things like review obligations, having a day job, having a wife and children, or just generally having a life mean that a critic must be very selective and use their time wisely. Brute force searches do turn up interesting discoveries, but there's a lot of detritus to dig through in order to locate one.

As the discussion continued, I mentioned that it would be much easier for an indie game developer to reach out to a critic than it would be for that critic to search the Internet and happen upon that particular game. If there's no buzz and no word of mouth about a title, the chances of a critic finding it are quite slim. 

We went back and forth on this point for a bit, but as senior editor of GameCritics for the last twelve years, it's been my experience that it's rare for a indie developer to reach out and promote their own game, at least as far as my site is concerned. It just doesn't happen all that often.

Maybe it's that indies don't think GameCritics is the right site to approach? Maybe people don't think I’m the right person to e-mail about their indie game?

Who can say for sure, but what I do know is that the overwhelming majority of information I receive about upcoming games is from professional PR reps, and I find that situation to be quite puzzling. I mean, if I had spent a year (or more) working on a game that I really thought had a chance of making it and I’d staked my financial future on it, I’d want to get the word out, tell as many people as possible, and do everything within my power to make sure that the people who would most likely purchase my game would know about it.

This isn’t a concept native to video games, it's something that’s true for any product or any business, anywhere. The successful entrepreneur doesn't create a product and then sit on it, waiting for customers to happen along and make them rich. No, someone who's successful in business understands that the most important thing to that success is reaching out and educating customers (or in this case, players) that they exist in the first place.

I get it, I get it... not every game developer is a natural self-promoter or PR whiz. It "feels weird" to talk about yourself, or it’s that people don't want to come off as fake or like shills. I'm sympathetic to that, I really am, but anyone thinking that they can make a game (or any other product, service, etc.) and then sit back and watch the money roll in might as well be holding their palms open to the sky and praying for a magic cloud to come along and rain gold coins. 

Making games is making games, but there is a business side that’s necessary to grasp if part of the goal is to become successful. It may not be palatable or enjoyable for some, but it's just the reality of how it's done. If people don't know about you, we can't play your game or talk about you, and we can't help you become a hit. 

That’s Just How It Is. ™

Very soon after this conversation wrapped up, it became apparent that the universe had been listening in. That same day, I got an e-mail from… a small indie developer who was promoting their game. 

The irony was not lost on me.

Star Prospector
While I had never played their title nor ever heard of it, this random e-mail out of nowhere was doing everything necessary to get their game in front of someone who should see it, and I just had to smile. These guys got it, and not only did they understand it, they did it well. 

Forgoing a generic e-mail blast, they took the time to research my site and their message was addressed to me, personally. It was very clear that they had taken a moment to do a little homework, and because of that, I was much more inclined to read the entire message and hear them out. It was a perfect pitch done in an honest way, and while I always appreciate that, I appreciated it even more considering that it arrived just as I was talking about this very topic.

As my way of congratulating them for doing things the right way in the right place at the right time, I told them that I would run their message here and help get the word out about their title. I haven't played it and this isn't an endorsement, but I like to walk my own talk and this was the perfect opportunity to do so.

From Jason McGrevy at

Star Prospector is a single player sci-fi RTS game where the player assumes the role of a "Prospector", a one man mining person piloting a rig, which serves as a mining, salvage and combat vehicle. The game generates a random galaxy with each new profile, offering approximately 100 planets & missions to explore. The player will need to mine for resources, build and defend their base, construct and upgrade robotic units, and explore the planets, completing missions along the way.

Star Prospector is not a typical RTS in that it was designed to offer the player many elements of typical RPG games such as leveling up, player customization and upgrades, loot drops, stats points and perks. In addition, individual units within missions will gain experience and level up, and can also be upgraded with shields, armor and damage. The basic RTS elements of building a base, managing forces and resources, and expanding to strategically control the map, and defeat enemy forces are still a large part of the game.

We recently released a rather large free DLC update for the game that includes a number of upgrades and additions to game play as well as a new bonus game mode. We made a number of improvements to the UI and game controls as well in response to feedback that we received from players and a couple of reviews, including increased game speed, command and building queues, as well as some significant changes to level balancing. We have also updated the demo on our website to also include these new features and improvements.

If you're interested in checking out the game, you can find it at these locations:

If you check out Jason’s game, please tell him I sent you. Also, if you're reading this and you're an indie developer, I welcome any and all contacts. I would love to hear from you! If you've made something great, let help me share it with others! 

Like I said before, it's a lot easier for you to find me than it is for me to find you, so don't be shy!


Contest: In keeping with the indie vibe of tonight's blog so far, I've got five Steam codes to give away for Containment: the Zombie Puzzler. I think this game is fantastic, I reviewed ithere, and I would love for more people to know about it.

Want to win a code for free?

Let's say the zombie apocalypse finally happens. You've got a vehicle with a full tank of gas, you've got a weapon with plenty of rounds, and you've got enough food and water for weeks. Post a comment here at the blog, and tell me… what you would do?

Would you go somewhere and do something you've always dreamed of? Would you work tirelessly to build a really big fence around a safe place? Would you go crazy and start shooting everything in sight?

Post at the bottom of this blog and just tell me what you’d do. It can be funny, it can be serious, it can one sentence or a paragraph, it can be anything you want to be. 

I'll pick five winners at random and hook you up!