Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Xbox Live to Raise Prices in November: What's Included in the New Features?

When Microsoft named Kinect at E3 this year, I don't remember anything about raising prices on Xbox Live. They didn't mention it when talking about ESPN on Xbox Live, either. So I was pretty shocked yesterday when I got an email saying prices are going up starting November 1, 2010.

Sure, it's not that much money-$10.00 extra for a year subscription. But, what gets me is the fact that not everyone who uses Xbox Live is going to be interested in the new features like Kinect, ESPN, or Hulu Plus. So they're paying extra for nothing? Maybe I'm being too harsh and I admit Hulu Plus might be tempting. But Hulu isn't coming until 2011. Besides, that the Hulu service cost an extra $10.00 on top of the extra $10.00 Xbox Live is going to charge. Still,  it's cheaper then cable.

As you can see I'm conflicted over the price hike, it might be justified, but I'm not into ESPN or Kinect. (unless they start releasing games that look really cool, which may take awhile)

For the full story on the Xbox Live price hike:


Monday, August 30, 2010

Video Games with Terrible Controls

Everyone has played a game with terrible controls at one time. What sucks is no matter how much you wanted to play the game, the controls are so bad, they force you to stop. One example that always comes to mind for me is Destroy All Humans Big Willy Unleashed for the Wii. My husband and I had such a good time playing Destroy All Humans 2 that as soon as Big Willy came along, we snagged it right away. Unfortunately, the controls were so terrible we traded it in soon after we got it. The camera would spin out of control if you weren't careful, nothing worked like it should, and the whole control scheme was too sensitive.  What a disappointment.

There are other games notorious for crappy controls like Superman for the N64 and tons of third party mini-games for the Wii. What terribly controlled games can you think of?

I must say I really did think about adding Resident Evil to the list for their "tank" controls. But for me, at least, I was able to get used to the controls and beat the older RE games. Video games with really sucky controls can't be learned and then the game is essentially broken, imo.

Here's what I think are some games with the worst controls:


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

3D Dot Heroes: a Love Letter to the Legend of Zelda

Ever wonder what those nifty 8bit games of the past would look like if they were updated, pixels and all? 3D Dot Game Heroes gives us  a glance. While some criticize the game  for being too close to Zelda (and I admit I was a bit surprised  at some of the similarities), overall the game does has a style all its own. You can create a character block by block or pick from pre-make ones. You just don't create a person either. Any sort of creature is possible.

The world of Dotnia is place of exploration, filled with towns and people who joke about games. It's close enough to Hyrule that players feel comfortable, but unique enough to stand on its own.  While I can understand how some would feel it's "ripping of Zelda",  I tried to look at the game differently and found it's not a cheap knock off, but a solid, fun game. And isn't that what gamers want?

Read my full review here:


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Hardest Final Boss?

Recently, I wrote an article about 5 difficult video game final bosses. When taking the assignment, I had a few in mind.  I featured final bosses I have personally fought and that weren't only hard, but fun too. I'm sure every gamer has seen that youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQZuidKexBQ. And that's all well and good, but I've never played that game, so how can I say that's the hardest boss?

It was easier to pick out the hardest game because some games are ridiculous from start to finish. A boss fight is different and everyone seems to have radically different opinions about what gave them the toughest time.  Some boss fights require strategy that is easily thought of by one gamer and not another. Others require loads of time, health kits, and ammo where people die from lack of planning.  Some of it's just luck.  So here are my favorite difficult boss fights:


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Watching Someone Else Play a Video Game

Ever watch someone else play a video game? Do you scream instructions? Tell them where to go while grabbing the controller out of their hand?

These are no-nos. While it can be exciting and fun to be the "backseat gamer" most of the time, it's just plain annoying. So I created a handy guide about common mistakes people make when watching someone else play. These are things I've noticed through the years that drive me crazy when I'm trying to play a video game. So the next time you're a watcher, keep these tips in mind.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Back to Hyrule

It's no secret I love the Legend of Zelda games. I could probably babble on endless about all the Zelda video games, judging one against the other, comparing all sorts of things. In the future, I'm sure I will.

Today I wanted to focus on the enemies in the Zelda world. Not the mini-bosses or boss, just enemies lurking in the temples or wandering around the map.

Since I was a kid, I have been making a mental list of all the hardest, most annoying Legend of Zelda enemies. I know many other Zelda fans will agree that my list of 10 are some of the worst. Or maybe they won't get why I picked one over a different enemy.  Either way, it's just my opinion of the hardest, most annoying enemies in the entire series.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Hardest and Easiest Video Games

What exactly makes a video game difficult or not? A lot of it comes down to personal experience and opinion. What I think is easy or hard, someone else might struggle or breeze through. There does seems to be a general agreement on hard video games. Battletoads is often noted as being nearly impossible. The entire Ninja Gaiden series from its beginnings on the NES to recent games on the PS3 and 360 are always a challenging experience for even seasoned gamers.

Easy games are more difficult to pin point, I think.   There seems to be some games mentioned a few times like Yoshi's Story. But when trying to come up with an "easiest games" list.  I had to ponder the topic a lot longer then the "hardest games" list. I included games like GunGrave and Lord of the Rings Conquest. I wonder if these games were as easy for other gamers as they were for me.

Take a look at both of my Hardest and Easiest video games list here and see what you think: