Gaming Archive

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Pokemon X and Y Giveaway – August, September, October, November 2014

If you’re a fan of Pokemon, than odds are you’ve beaten the X and/or Y versions long ago. However GameStop and Nintendo recently teamed up in a special giveaway to rekindle interest in the last two installments as well as promote the next games in the series, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

The current promotion is running until September 17 and is in two parts: the first being an Internet giveaway through Nintendo and the second being an in-store giveaway through GameStop. For the first part, all you have to do is start your copy of Pokemon X or Y, go to “Mystery Gift” on the main menu, and select to receive the gift through the “Internet.” You’ll get a level 50 Pinsir for X and a Heracross for Y. Once you’ve received the gift, load up your saved game and visit the delivery girl at any Pokemon Center in the game.

The second part is the main reason I’m making this blog post. Once you’ve received your Pinsir or Heracross, Nintendo states on the Pokemon website that you can “look for a flyer at GameStop that contains a serial code.” This code will entitle you to a Mega Stone that matches the Pokemon you received in the first step: Heracronite in Pokémon X or Pinsirite in Pokémon Y. The statement also makes it clear, “while at GameStop, you’ll be able to preorder your copy of Pokémon Omega Ruby or Pokémon Alpha Sapphire and receive a special preorder bonus poster (while supplies last)!” Some internet game reviewers and Pokemon fans have reported that their local GameStop has actually held off on giving the code out without a preorder of the game, which goes against what Nintendo stated.

I visited my local GameStop today and encountered the same problem. The store manager told me that the code (which actually comes on a special card stock rather than a paper flyer) only comes with a preorder, and that he never heard about a special preorder poster. If you run into the same problem or are looking to get the code for yourself, do what I did: enter GameStop armed with all of the aforementioned information as well as the link to the official Pokemon statement about the code being a promotional giveaway unattached to any preorders. Once I stated my case and showed the link, the store manager just gave me the card. Don’t be rude, be respectful, and you’re sure to get the same treatment!

Pokemon X and Y Pinsir / Heracross Giveaway

The “flyer [and] code” in question–available at your local GameStop.

 

The next promotions were announced today by GameSpot: “From October 13 through October 26, players can visit a GameStop store in the US to receive a card containing a code for a Shiny Gengar for use in Pokemon X/Y. This Gengar will come holding a Gengarite Mega Stone, allowing it to Mega Evolve into a Shiny Mega Gengar. Following this, from October 27 through November 16, GameStop will be offering Diancie (the previously unobtainable Mythical Pokemon) for Pokemon X/Y. Once you’ve gotten your hands on one, you’ll be able to take it with you into Pokemon Omega Ruby or Alpha Sapphire, where you’ll then be able to get a Diancite Mega Stone that allows it to Mega Evolve into Mega Diancie.”

Only time will tell if Pokemon fans will have to jump through the same hoops as the first Pinsir and Heracross giveaway to get their “cards” containing the next waves of special codes.

Heracross and Pinsir Giveaway Information

Shiny Gengar and Diancie Giveaway Information

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Who’s Sponsoring What, and Why?

In January 2009, BioShock 2 released for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Both a sequel and prequel to the original BioShock in a single player story and multiplayer story, respectively, fans across the globe rushed to stores to pickup their copies. After a few short months of offline single player campaign and online multiplayer gameplay, a downloadable content package (DLC, for short) was released on the consoles’ marketplaces. As fans downloaded the DLC, they realized that the size of the file they were downloading was 128.00 KB.

You don’t have to be a Computer Science major to know that anything in KBs is pretty small. Usually, Text Edit and Notepad notes are only 10KB or so. How could a full DLC package for a fifth-generation console game (complete with high-definition video and audio) only equate to 128.00 KB? It can’t. What the fans discovered was that they were downloading a virtual key of sorts that would unlock the DLC content which came pre-installed on the original game disc.

This sparked a large debate over what constituted “DLC” and what people were really paying for when they purchased a game. On one side, the content was already on the disc, and since people paid $59.99 for that disc, shouldn’t they have been allowed to access all of it? On the other side, the content was not pertinent to the single player or multiplayer experiences and only added to the overall experience, so didn’t the developers, 2K Games, have a right to moderate when the unlock code for extra content was released? In the end, no true verdict was reached, and people eventually just moved on to the next problems life threw at them.

Many were felt bothered and betrayed by the realization that they already owned the "new content" they were purchasing.

Many were felt bothered and betrayed by the realization that they already owned the “new content” they were purchasing.

 

In the case of the recent announcement of Sony’s PS4, a similar thing happened. People noticed that of the two posts published on BuzzFeed, one was “sponsored” by PlayStation while the other was not. Both appeared to be identical posts, minus a sponsor acknowledgment and off-white background color. The problem that arises from these two posts is that readers can’t be certain what is the true, objective opinion of the reviewer, or what is the information sponsored and written in by PlayStation’s own marketing team. Like with 2K Games, fans are left with a feeling of distrust towards the company.

Andrew Sullivan of The Dish writes that what’s not being respected here is the ” divide between editorial and advertizing,” a sort of unspoken boundary that exists, much like the separation of church and state. As times have changed and the line between journalism/criticism and industry advertising has widened and dissipated, it’s no longer clear what constitutes a totally unbiased piece of writing.

The infamous PS4 announcement was where the new PS4 controller was unveiled. Will we be able to navigate true journalism and editorial criticism with it? Or just loads of sponsored, influenced content?

The infamous PS4 announcement was where the new PS4 controller was unveiled. Will we be able to navigate true journalism and editorial criticism with it? Or just loads of sponsored, influenced content?

 

Editorial writing and media advertising need one another for both to survive, so sponsored content must continue to exist–without it, many companies wouldn’t be able to continue operating due to lack of funds. However when the two things become indistinguishable, “aren’t we in danger of destroying the village in order to save it?”

The Dish blog post can be read here.

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BioShock Infinite Premium Edition Unboxing and Review

As a DIE HARD BioShock fan, BioShock Infinite is the game I’ve been most anticipating for the past couple of years. It was just released yesterday, four times after its original release date was pushed back due to all sorts of different glitches and issues. Regardless, the world finally has its hands on what could quite possible be the 2013 Game of the Year.

I hope you enjoy my unboxing and review. If you do, please LIKE the video, LIKE us on Facebook, and SHARE the video with your friends! Thanks everyone.

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The Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses Mini-Concert @ Nintendo World

Yesterday, September 14, Manhattan’s Nintendo World hosted a one-of-a-kind Legend of Zelda event for fans. The night featured a short info session on the history of the ocarina, the magical instrument that Link uses throughout many of the Zelda games, an ocarina tutorial with the legendary ocarina player, David Ramos, and a mini-concert version of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses tour.

David “docjazz” Ramos teaching Zelda fans about the ocarina.

 

As Nintendo and Zelda fans alike started lining up outside Nintendo World almost 24 hours early, they knew that this was going to be an event to remember! One of the most well-known Nintendo fans of all time, Triforce, even showed up to kick ass and play ocarina (but he was all out of ass). A big shout out to him for always rocking his Power Glove, and another big shout out to “Mii Man,” who made my experience on the line a much more enjoyable one. As Mii Man said, “we Nintendo fans are a family!”

One people starting moving into the store around 6:20pm, fans flocked towards the merchandise table and David Ramos’ ocarina booth. David Ramos taught everyone about the history of the ocarina while playing a few tunes. Believe it or not, the ocarina has been around for over 15,000 years, but it was first titled and used mainstream in Italy, making it an Italian wind instrument. It moved from the East to the West throughout the 20th century, and it was chosen to be used in Zelda (first used in The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening) because of it’s calming, adventure-like nature. Below is a short video showcasing one of the songs he played alongside some of the Zelda fans who had ocarinas.

Ocarina Tutorial with David “docjazz” Ramos

The mini-concert with the Zelda Symphony Orchestra began closer to 7:15pm and lasted one full hour. There were at least 200 people inside Nintendo World, so space was very limited. Some lucky people found space to sit down on the floor, but most fans had to stand up the entire time. No one seemed to care much though, because the music that the orchestra produced was beautiful. They moved through a bunch of different games in the Legend of Zelda timeline and showcase some exquisite music (like the Shop Theme from Ocarina of Time and the fan-favorit Opening Theme from Skyward Sword).

The miniature version of the Zelda Symphony Orchestra!

 

After the concert ended, fans were able to visit a signing table with David Ramos and the creative team/conductor behind/of the Zelda Symphony Orchestra. I myself had my ticket signed, and I later framed it alongside my wristband and the Zelda 3D game card included with the 3DS. This event made for a magical night that brought together a lot of Nintendo fans. I truly enjoyed myself, and I hope that everyone else who attended had as much fun as I did. Thanks for your love, Nintendo!

My framed ticket, signed by the Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses team!

 

By the way, if you’re interested in seeing the real tour this November, all of the information you’d need can be found here: http://zelda-symphony.com/schedule.

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Explosions in a canyon

Miniclip.com has always been a fun site to visit when you need to pass that time (both at home and school), and one of my top favorite games on the site has always been “Canyon Defense.”

This game falls under the category of “tower defense games.” They involved building things to protect your objective from either being destroyer or raided, and in this case you’re protecting a canyon. You’re not supposed to allow any enemies to make it through the opening at the end of the canyon you’re fighting end. You’re only allowed to have ten things pass through before the game ends, and making sure that that number doesn’t go over ten is very challenging.

Installing missile launchers in Canyon Defense is easy.

 

You can build all sorts of little defense towers like gatling guns, missile launchers, goo guns (to slow vehicles down), etc. You can also establish buildings that can give you bonuses of sorts. For example, a missile silo gives you the ability to launch a nuclear missile anywhere on the field, and a recycling facility gives you an extra amount of money to use on buying other towers whenever you destroy an enemy vehicle.

Enemies become increasing harder to stop, and I guarantee that beating the game on hard on the right-most map will take you a long time to do and a large amount of attempts. I’ve been playing this game since high school, and I’ve still never beaten it on that mode and map combination.

You can try the game out for yourself by clicking on the following link: Canyon Defense @ Miniclip Games

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Webbed Menace: A new ARG for “The Amazing Spider-Man”

Being that we’re in the age of computers, “i devices,” smart phones and interactive television sets, it’s only right that companies start focusing on online promotional campaigns for products like video games (example: BioShock 2’s There’s Something in the Sea), chewing gum (example: 5 Gum’s Human Preservation Project), and now movies.

The new Spider-Man film, The Amazing Spider-Man, is getting fans involved with an online ARG (Alternate Reality Game) and viral phone number.

The Amazing Spider-Man's very own ARG.

First of all, if you didn’t know, this is all about a brand new Spider-Man movie that’s releasing on July 3, 2012. To be completely honest, I’m not sure why this is necessary for the series. Spider-Man is my favorite Marvel super hero, so you’d think I’d be really excited, but I wish they just left the original 2002 version alone (the good one with Tobey Maguire).

Anyway, this viral campaign is all about getting people to post pictures and / or videos of encounters with Spider-Man. The site has a large collection of pictures with people dressed up as Spider-Man, random spider webs, explosions, and other things you’d associate with the super hero.

It also features a video of NYPD Captain Stacy Speaks (the same one that’s going to be in the actual movie) talking about how all New Yorkers need to work together to take this masked vigilante down. A number on-screen reads “877-651-8503,” and if you call it, you should hear a recording telling you to visit webbedmenace.com. I called a week or so ago and heard the recording, but when I called earlier today, I got a busy signal. I’m not sure if that means that so many people called that it crashed or that it’s not playing anymore, but either way, things are bound to happen with that number up until the film’s release.

All in all, this is a very cool way to promote a film, and it’s interesting to see more and more company in varying industries trying out these new forms of advertising. I’ll definitely check out the film when it comes out, even though I’m not majorly excited for it. Who knows, maybe it’ll be better than Maguire’s version?

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Miss your old point-and-click PC games? Play ’em on your Mac with ScummVM!

When I was much younger, my dad always bought me all sorts of really fun point-and-click adventure games. Most of them were made by a company called Humongous Entertainment. Some of their most famous series were Putt Putt, Pajama Sam, Freddi Fish, and my personal favorite, Spy Fox. I still have all of my old CD-ROMs, but the only problem is that they don’t play on my MacBook with OS X Lion. The “Classic Environment” (which allowed users to run old Mac applications and software) is no longer supported on new Apple products, however after months of searching, I’ve finally found a program that will allow you to play your old adventure games on modern day Macs. It’s called ScummVM.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “That’s a dirty name for an application!” But no, Scumm actually stands for Script Creation Utility for Maniac Mansion, a scripting language originally developed by LucasArts for creating graphics adventures (The Secret of Monkey Island is a prime example). The VM means Virtual Machine, and this free app basically converts the data files from these old games into modern day Mac-compatible files, allowing you to play them when you want.

The only catch is that you need the files. If you have the CDs, you’re set, but if you don’t, you’ll have to find the files for the games you want some other way. I’m not a fan of torrenting files in any way, nor do I wish to promote it (mainly because it’s often times dangerous for your computer and illegal), but I know their are many people out there who would just try to find the files that way. However you obtain the files, you have to copy certain ones onto your computer. There’s a full list of compatible games and the corresponding files need to play each game available here.

Although Humongous Entertainment was purchased by Atari, you can still play all your old HE games thanks to ScummVM!

After downloading the program from the home site, all you have to do is go to “Add Game” and then select the folder where you put the game’s files. ScummVM takes care of the rest, and in no time you’ll be having flashbacks to a simpler time when your biggest concern was stopping The Poodle Menace from destroying the ozone layer with her hair spray (Spy Fox 3: Operation Ozone reference).

One other really cool thing about ScummVM is that it saves the games you’ve imported into the program on a list, so you don’t have to keep searching for data files whenever you want to boot up a game. This is a great resource to have if you’re looking to play your old games, and it’s also a great way to get rid of your old CD-ROMs (just copy the files and toss the disk)!

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Elroy Goes BugZerk and Elroy Hits the Pavement

Does anyone remember these games from years ago? Headbone Interactive was the company responsible for ’em, and they’ll always have a special place in my heart. I grew up with these computer games (alongside the Humongous Entertainment games, but we’ll save those for another post). Check out my video review of the two games.

A screenshot from Elroy Hits the Pavement.

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Going in search of hope

How many of you chew gum? Alright, now how many of you buy 5 Gum? Okay, now how many of you have noticed the little bumblebee-looking things on the packages and the links to a website? This was the series of events that led me to survivalcode.com, otherwise known as the Human Preservation Project (HPP for short).

I’ve only been a part of one other online viral campaign in the past, and that one was for a video game called BioShock 2. I plan to make a different post talking about that one, because it’s a whole other story. As for HPP, a lot of people thought it was for Halo 4 when it was first discovered. Since the viral campaign for Halo 2 was called “Ilikebees” and was a site all about bumblebees (in a way), it was only natural for gamers and geeks to see this HPP hornet and associate with that. However, HPP was and is not related to Halo 4. In the words of Paul Blart, “it’s its own thing.”

What visitors to the survivalcode.com homepage will see.

 

The tag line for 5 Gum is “stimulate your senses,” and that’s what HPP is all about. You start in the first facility in a series of facilities located somewhere in a very icy climate, Antarctica maybe. In each of the six facilities, you need to do certain things like solve puzzles and input codes from 5 Gum packages to power up a central core. Along the way, there are achievements to be unlocked, unlockable online comics to be read and famous stars to be seen. Turns out that both Terry O’Quinn and Summer Glau (both of these people are famous sci-fi television show actors, most notably from LOST and Firefly, respectively) play a large part in the HPP storyline.

Another cool thing about HPP is that they will actually mail items to your home address. When I joined it was a few months ago, so I’m not entirely certain if this still happens, but 5 Gum will mail you a padded black envelope with an ID badge (as long as you complete the personality test and fill out personal information section on the site) and a free pack of 5 Gum. A very cool way to promote the site, if you ask me.

What an HPP package looks like.

 

HPP is a really fun ARG, and it’s clear that the creators of it put some serious thought into what they were doing. When you think about it, it sounds a little silly to make an ARG about gum, but I say give it a try before you knock it. It’s definitely worth the online trip and the dollar or so per pack of gum.