Gamer Mania 2

Saturday, September 30, 2006

GM2- Meet SmilesD

What's up GM2ers? The owners of this here blog have extended their hands to me and asked me to become a member of the GM2 team. Needless to say, I gladly excepted the invite -- for a small fee.

So, you might be asking yourself, who is this new guy? Probably you're just saying who cares about this new guy. But either way, I'm going to give you a little background info.

I'm 24 years old, I'm in grad school, and I have a blog of my own. The blog is called Smiles That Kill, and it has very little to do with video games. I go by the alias SmilesD over there, just like I will be here. When you have time, you can hop on over there to get a feel for what I'm about, and how I write.

My gaming credentials are quite simple. Santa gave me an NES in first grade, and since then I've never looked back. From that point on, Mario and SmilesD needed to be together, and together often. I've had an NES, Sega Genesis, N64, PSone, DreamCast,PS2, Gamecube, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, and Nintendo DS.

I'm a simple gamer. I miss the days of old when anybody could pick up a controller and get into a game. That's probably the main reason I love the Nintendo DS, and can't wait for the Wii. More then likely the posts you'll get from will deal with Nintendo or the upcoming PS3. I have no love for the Xbox, or it's big brother the 360.

Now that you know a little bit about me, let me say that I'm looking forward to being part of GM2. I've been a long time reader here, and it'll be fun to put my own little stamp on the place. Stop by Monday when my gaming specific posts will start.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dance Factory Review

I think you've probably heard of the games that make you think you can dance when you're really just jumping around like a monkey on crack, the ones called Dance Dance Revolution. Well there's a new spin-off called Dance Factory and its main feature is that you can use your own music to dance.....

The good comes first. The biggest plus to this game is that you can use your own music of course, which should mean you have as much music as you want but sadly it doesn't really. The problem is about half of the music you use is not going to make good dances, either because the game can't do it right or it's just a bad song to dance to. So.. yeah.

Another plus to this game is that it has all of the basic game modes from DDR, but it has a new multiplayer one that hasn't been done before called Creature Mode. What happens in this is you put a CD in and (I bet you didn't know this) according to Konami, there are creatures in your CDs. So each CD will give you a different creature you can use for the mode, which is pretty cool. It's also cool that a creature can fit in a CD.. I wish I could do that. As far as the actual creatures go.. well.. they look like what you get when you let crocodiles operate on each other, the legs, arms, and neck are all gone. But somehow their hands, head, and feet are all mysteriously still in place. Funky. You get to buy your creature accessories in 3 different colors, and each one has a different ability aside from making your furry look like a rock star.

When you play in head-to-head with these creatures, if you get a certain number of arrows hit in a row, all of them will turn to the color of one of your pimp accessories. If you hit them all, something will happen like half of your opponent's arrows will go away for a bit. It's pretty cool, but the fact that every accessory only comes in 3 colors and they each do the same things kind of sucks. That's about all for the good...

Now for the bad.. and it's a doozie. First of all, the dance steps are off a lot of the time, it's kind of like they just throw arrows down no matter what the song. They also put a lot of the same combos in a lot. Also... it takes about a minute for the dance routines to be made. They did have the niceness to add in a 3D Tetris game for you to play while you wait.. but it's kind of hard to play when the arrows on your dance pad are hitting themselves like they do a lot. Nice thought though.

Then the second big problem with this game is the graphics... if you've ever put a grenade in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and let it blow.. you know about how good these graphics look. Everything's bland and boring, the visualizations are stuck about 20 years in the past with lines all over the place (I will admit that a choice couple of them like the one in the pic below are awesome), the menus are boring, and the accessories for the creatures look like absolute crap. The arrows look pretty cool though.

The scoring in this game is messed up too, a lot of times you can't tell whether or not you hit an arrow or missed it. My last gripe about DF would have to be the lack of online, but that is very easy to forgive since there is no game disk in once you put your music in.

So.. overall Dance Factory has a lot of flaws, but they aren't too hard to forgive for the most part since it's running off of cache. I think there would a lot of potential for them to do a DF2 in the future on consoles with hard drives though, since they would have a lot more room for caching. I'll just go ahead and give it a 3.5 funky chicken monsters with floating body parts... out of 5, and tell you you should give it a go if you like casual DDR but not if you're really hardcore.

X06: MS is getting good at this

First off, Microsoft snatched up exclusivity on Irrational Games' Bioshock. Chosen by GameSpot editors earlier this year as the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006 Game of the Show, Bioshock was previously slated to be released on the PC and "next-generation console systems." An Xbox 360 version was shown behind closed doors at the event.

Another big exclusivity announcement from the media briefing was that the next installment of Splinter Cell would be coming only for Microsoft's next-gen console and the PC. And by "next installment," Microsoft didn't mean Splinter Cell: Double Agent, which hits multiple platforms later this year and was shown off with a new trailer. It was referring to the Splinter Cell game after Double Agent, which came to light just last week when assets for a whole slate of Ubisoft titles, including Splinter Cell 5, accidentally hit the Web.

Sony.. you better be watching your asses guys, if this is a sign of things to come, Microsoft is getting hella' good at this game dealing business and they already sort of have the upper hand. This is great for them though, SC5 and Bioshock are both gigantic games and are going to be huge hits to not just Sony, but Nintendo too in terms of SC5. I did not know MS has this in them to be honest. And there's more:

At Microsoft's X06 event currently taking place in Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft's corporate vice president of marketing Peter Moore gave gamers the latest on what's in store for GTAIV on Xbox Live Marketplace. He announced that Rockstar Games is working on two downloadable packs for the game--to be made available within months of the game's release.

A press release issued during the conference said only that the packs would add "hours of entirely new gameplay" to GTA4. No additional details on the downloadable packs were released, but industry sources have said they will be along the lines of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories in terms of length.

Whoaaaa, what in the world? Downloadable content the size of a full game?! That is totally crazy and once again, MS has done great with exclusivity.

X06: Time to break out your fake mullets... Guitar Hero 2 on the 360

As music has made the generational leap from cassettes to CDs, so too will music games. RedOctane today announced that the sequel to its popular Guitar Hero game is going next gen on Microsoft's Xbox 360.The companies did not release any more details on the X-Plorer (shaped like and presumably named after the Gibson X-Plorer guitar), but the controller was built specifically for the Xbox 360. RedOctane did not state whether the X-Plorer was wireless or not. It is also unclear whether or not this is the Xbox 360's version of the wireless PlayStation 2 Guitar Hero controller that was listed on GameStop earlier this week.

Bringing Guitar Hero II to a new platform means some new features. As expected, Xbox Live Marketplace will serve as a cyber jukebox for Guitar Hero II

RedOctane has not announced a release date for the Xbox 360 version of the game, but Activision CEO Robert Kotick recently said that the franchise would hit new platforms next year.
....Hell yeah RedOctane! This is my vote for news of the day. I have played the hell out of GH1 on the PS2 and have been hoping that it'd come over to the 360 so I could get some Achievement gratification and music off of Marketplace. Take a look at that kickin' controller too, if that's wireless I will start drooling right now (sadly they won't say). I can't wait even though I just bought 1 back in July. Thanks RO, you have made my day.

Halo Wars and A new Halo game by Peter Jackson!!!!

A trailer begins. There's a Warthog from Halo. Lots of them. They're tearing through a barren field with a few Scorpions. Another group of space marines is under attack. The Covenant wipes out the last of that group and prepares for the incoming Warthogs. A full-scale battle erupts, with tons of vehicles left and right. Spartan Group Omega shows up. "If they want war, we'll give 'em war." A logo for "Halo Wars" appears. The game is apparently a real-time strategy title for the Xbox 360 EXCLUSIVELY. Its official Web site is now live.

Yeeeaaaah, biaches! I would have never guessed this was coming, but hey I know I sure as hell ain't complaining. RTS games are awesome, and Halo is cool so this should be a very good game. Watch the trailer.

Jackson takes the stage to hollers and loud applause. He says the first project has been in the works for about a year. He talks about a "not quite a game, not quite a film" experience. He wants to take stories that could become films but maybe won't, and bring them into the world of games.

8:06: The game will be based on Halo!!! It's not Halo 4, and it's not the film, but it will be based in the world of Halo. It will NOT be a traditional game. Is this the much-rumored "Forerunner" game?

8:07: Jackson speaks! "Instead of making a film, we [will] make a form of entertainment that you can watch and enjoy like you would a film," but with interactive elements, he says. Jackson thinks the technology is to the point where games and film can blend, "and the fun of this is going to be figuring out where they can blend." He says it won't be especially for the hardcore game crowd. Moore says this means Microsoft is working on Halo beyond the movie, and Bungie is working on content beyond Halo 3. There will also be an all-new series based on stories from Jackson and Walsh.

Wow, two Halo games in a day, what in the world could MS have done better? This one especially interests me because it sounds like something totally new, in the world of something familiar. But having two Halo FPS (and Halo Wars) games come out in a year (probably) seems like a bit of overkill...

Yet, no news on Halo 3 except an announcement that a big announcement will be made by the end of the year.. Seems like a cruel joke by Bungie, I guess they like having love/hate relationships.

X06: 360's High Def DVD Drive for 199 smackers

When it hits stores in North America, the Xbox 360 HD-DVD player should retail for $199.99. Gamers in the UK can expect the player to run them £129.99 ($245), while those in France and Germany can expect to pay 199.99 euros ($254) for the hardware. All these prices have been called "estimated retail prices" by Microsoft, which noted that the actual retail price may vary.

A movie-playing machine with no movies to play wouldn't make much sense, so Microsoft is also throwing in a copy of Peter Jackson's King Kong on HD-DVD, and an Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote, as well. That's the film version of the giant ape's adventure and not the Ubisoft game adaptation--Microsoft has previously said the HD-DVD will be used only for movies.

Microsoft could do whatever the hell they want with this.. I don't care. I don't have an HD-TV and I probably won't be getting one any time soon. I'm sure this will keep visual junkies happy though, $200 for a high def player is a nice deal, especially with King Kong thrown in for free. The player still looks crazy cool, by the way.


We here at GM2 (Ton and I) have decided that we are gonna bring you a collection of new segs with "ology" at the end. Ton just introduced you to Musicology, and soon, we're gonna do Photology. But right now we're gonna do out new one, Videology. Videology is where we post a funny, entertaining, awesome, just plain stupid, etc. video. Here's a good one today. It's called "Dance Evolution". It where a comedian goes through a bunch of centuries of dance in a 6 minute video to so many songs. I believe it's one of the most popular videos on YouTube EVER! And it's great! So enjoy, "Dance Evolution":

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


One of the new segments, Zam or I tells you about a cool song and gives you a link to download it or listen to it. I've done it before but now it's going to be an official segment (with a funky name) and it's going to be much shorter. The official day might be Tuesday but we're not sure just yet.. Onward!

This week's song is a pretty old one from a band called The Verve. The song is called The Drugs Don't Work. I found the band through Rockstar Supernova and the song Bittersweet Symphony.. but this is just a plain amazing song. "Like a cat in a bag/Waiting to drown/This time I'm coming down" + the way it's sung = a few lines that could definitely make people cry. Those lyrics are pure genius.. they give a horrifying picture. Go give it a listen no matter what music you like, it's considered rock but it's not really.

Instead of posting it up as a download I'm going to direct you here as that's legal to use, me posting it probably isn't (I don't really care but this is easier). So go there, type in the artist The Verve, and click on the song, it should play after about 5 seconds of loading.

PSThrizzle games for $60, I am amazed

Gamers have known about the price of the PlayStation 3 since E3 (except in Japan, where the price was recently cut), but the costs of the system's games have been up in the air. The cat may be out of the bag now, as the online Sony Style store now has listings for seven games, all priced at $59.99.

Shoppers can now preorder Ubisoft's Blazing: Angels: Squadrons of WWII, Activision's Tony Hawk Project 8, Call of Duty 3, and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog and Full Auto 2: Battlelines, as well as Sony Online Entertainment's Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom

So this isn't exactly official, but even so it couldn't really be any closer to official, so I'm stunned. As much as I have been hard on Sony for everything PS3, I have to say this is a very surprising (and good) move for them since everyone was expecting something more like $70. It looks like they finally might be starting to do some things right..

And I have to say my interest in the PS3 has been re-sparked all of a sudden, maybe because I too was expecting $70+ games. I don't really know why but I suddenly am considering getting one again..

The Wee Wii will have free web for a year.. yay.

Opera Software, the makers of the Wii's Web-surfing software, cleared that situation up a bit today with news that its browser for the system would be free for a limited time. Gamers will be able to download the Opera browser from the Wii Shop Channel free of charge until June 2007, the company announced today.

After June 2007, the browser will be available to download for an undetermined number of Wii points, the virtual currency of the Wii Shop Channel.

The browser will support Flash and AJAX-based content, and while it will be customized for Nintendo's next-gen system, Opera promises it will have "the same complete standards support as the Opera 9 Desktop browser," with functions including bookmarks and zoom. The browser will also be designed to work specifically with the motion-sensing Wii controllers.

Ok.. so the deal behind this.. you're going to have to buy an internet browser for the Wii after June 07. I don't get why really, that should be free, it is on PC's. Here's to hoping it won't be expensive as crap (I'm sure Zam will be the only one who gets that joke), I would definitely like one if I get a Wii.

P.S. If anyone knows who that is inside the O please tell me...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Dun dun dun... it's Marked Down Mondays with special guest Mr. Walmart Smiley!

Heeeeey guys been a long time, but here we go. Marked Down Mondays!!! Just to let you know this is going to be mostly my segment, Zam and I have agreed, and he's going to be taking one of the new ones we haven't introduced just yet. But enough small talk; Our special guest, The Walmart Smiley says he thinks he's ready, so let's dive right on in:

  • First deal is a 2 for $15 DVD sale down at the Best Buy, they have a gigantafreakinmongous selection, with some new ones like Constantine and Hitch in there, and also older stuff like The Mummy. I'll be doing that one for sure. Linky.
  • Next deal is a bunch of games, starting with World of Warcraft down to $20 everywhere (the damn monthly charge is almost more then the game now..!). They also have a deal at Best Buy when you buy 2 $20+ PC games, you get $10 back. Good deal there, and good linky here. Also the brand new Madden 07 for $40 on PS2 and XBOX, and $50 on XBOX 360. More linky. One more game deal - any and all new NBA games come with $10 gift cards. Linkytastic.
  • And here's your every week deal, a 2GB Flash drive for $40 and a 512MB one for $15. Nothing very special there... special linky is here though for the 2GB. Pet him with your pointay cursor thingy!
  • Errrmm.. what else we got.. John Mayer's new CD, Continuum for $9. Crazy good CD, I suggest picking that up. Linky got all dressed up in his sextastic sumo wrestler outfit for this one (Be afraid)!
  • And for the last deal, PS3's $1 PRICE DROP!!! You can get them for $599 instead of $600 everywhere now, I guess Sony had a change of heart and thought you'd like a candy bar with your PS3... I can hear the fanboys now... "Thank you Sony, we LOVE candy bars.. who cares if they're drugged to make us love you guys.. We love you Ken Kutaragi! *dreamy sigh*"
That just about ends it up for the night, I'll see you next week for another MDM guys!

Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Preview

YAY! Marvel has a new game! Well, this isn't exactly big, exciting news, as some of their other games, weren't exactly................uhh............(they sucked). But anyway, this one looks good. It's called Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. That name just makes me want to play it. It's for basically every console (including the new ones) except for the DS. It's a huge RPG where you take control of over 20 Marvel characters including Captain America, Wolverine, Silver Surfer, Iron Man, Spider-Man (of course), and many, many great others. So, basically, the fate of the Earth and the Marvel Universe (run Stan Lee! RUN!). Kind of a usual story for RPGs. Also, you get to make a team, name it, have a main vehicle for your team, and gain a rep throughout the game. Sounds like Marvel Super Heroes are being put in GTA. But guess what, you don't just battle normal goons and carbon-copied foot soldiers, you get to battle, OTHER MARVEL SUPERHEROES! Awesome! (Well, there are foot soldiers, but just being able to kick superheroes' ass with other superheroes' makes up for it.) There are over 140 CAMEOS TOO! It comes with the usual mode, competetive (battle) and co-op mode. There's probably a free-play mode put in there somewhere. So, this game just sounds....pretty cool....but it's look awesome.

Especially the graphics, they're kickin'! They make all the superheroes' powers look awesome. Very well done. I think I'm gonna enjoy this game, especially since I love Marvel superheroes. So go check out this game when it hits stores on October 24.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

This Week In GM2

As part of our revival of GM2, each Sunday we're going to write this little summary of what's going on this week on the blog so you can find out if there's something you'll be interested in. If all goes well we might also use this to sum up what happened over the past week and give you links to it if you want to check back on what we've been up to. So here it goes:

This week in GM2 we're going to be getting back to the norm of a year ago, with me doing a review of the funky, weird, and sort of sucky Dance Dance Revolution poser Dance Factory and also one of the 360 MMOCARPG, Test Drive Unlimited. Zam's aiming for a few previews as well, but he hasn't decided of what yet (will update this when he picks which). We're also going to be restarting segments, with Marked Down Mondays a go for tomorrow, and a possibility of a new, revamped Release Recap on Tuesday or Thursday. We're also going to introduce a couple of new, quick segments this week, which we hope you'll like. And of course we'll have some interesting news stories as soon as they hit the e-Desk.

So that's what's happening this week in GM2, hope to see you reading this week (you don't want to know how we will see...).

P.S. Be sure to give major props to Zam for that bitching logo!

Halo 3 Logo Officialized

There you have it, that is what Master Chief's face looks like under that sexay visor of his. Ar wait that's not right... Being serious, that thing is awesome.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What's Next?

Ok, this is a new segment we're doing where we joke about how weird the ideas for games are getting and making our own game title we think is coming soon.

Lego Star Wars was definitely an excellent idea, but what's next? Are they gonna do Lego American Idol? Oh man, that game would be GREAT. You get to customize your own contestants to be part Simon, part Ryan Seacrest, and part Clay Aiken. Oh what a voice on that thing. Sounds like a gay, nasily british person. Oh I can see it now. The only problem with this game is that Lego's don't talk or at that sing. In Lego Star Wars no one said a thing they just did facial expressions. But everyone would love that to not hear Lego Simon say his comments and no more "Yo dawg" from Lego Randy (actually I would miss that). And no more "You did your thing" from a Lego Paula who's wearing a LEGO thong (ouch).

All we can say is, if this game comes out, What's Next?


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

No DVD Player On The Wii

It was comfirmed by Nintendo that the Wii will have no DVD playing of any kind. Even though the game disks are around the same size, it doesn't matter. The rumor of a DVD connector is false. This is ok, but not that great for all the people who don't want to buy both a Wii and a DVD player, and just want them in one. Oh well, I guess that is why the price is so low.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Wii's Price, Release, and Virtual Console prices out

Here comes the hard info. "One price, one configuration, one color." So there's only a white one (for now), it comes with the nunchaku and so-called "Wiimote" controllers, and it costs...$249.99! The system will show up at 25,000 retail locations, so it probably won't be too hard to find one--especially since Reggie just promised 4 million units shipped globally by the end of calendar 2006, with the majority share going to North America.

Where can I order one? Ok, ok, I shouldn't be saying that, $250 is over what was expected, and it seems like quite a bit of money for what you get. For $50 more you get the basic 360 which has a lot more to it... But back to the Wii, that $250 does include a nunchuck and Wii Sports (now with Bowling and Boxing), so it kind of softens the blow of the price. The only white color is a little disappointing, I might end up waiting for a black or red one which should be out sometime. But that 4 million units by the end of the year, that is nice. I think the 360 has only sold 3.3 million and it's been a year, so there should be no shortage of the Wii suckers when they come out. Come November 19th I think you'll probably be able to get them, pre-ordered or not. As for that release date, no surprises there.

In a little other news related, the nunchuck and remote set on its own will cost $60, which is $10 more then a 360 controller. That's a lot. Hell the games cost less then that. One last thing before I end up for the night:
Surprisingly, full pricing details are here. NES games will be available for 500 Wii points, Super NES games for 800, and Nintendo 64 for 1,000. Wait, Wii what? Looks like they're taking the same tack as Microsoft: Consumers part with fake money more easily than real money. A 2,000 Wii points card can be had at retail for $20--so that's $5, $8, and $10 a pop, respectively.

No surprises, I don't mind those prices at all. $10 for an N64 game is fine, most of them used at game stores cost $5-10 anyway. I'm sure I'll be buying tons of these, just like I did with the XBOX Live Arcade.

But now this gamer is off, and we'll get more into Nintendo's press conference tomorrow afternoon.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Every Gamer's Dream Room!

^^The place where every girl
wishes they had their first kiss.

^^It looks like he got that
at Wal-Mart of something

Wow, now that's a room. This guy must of spent thousands of dollars on this. Incredible stuff!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

iTunes 7

At today's Apple Media Event, along with new iPods, a new version of iTunes was released. It can easily be dubbed the biggest change since the original iTunes was released. Here are some of the new features:
  • New design featuring dark blue and silver instead of silver alone.
  • A 3D Jukebox view that lets you flip through your albums and choose what to listen to that way.
  • A Download Manager that tells you how much is left in whatever you're downloading and allows you to order your downloads by priority.
  • An iPod Summary page that sums up all of the data you need to know about your iPod.
  • The ability to get cover art for any ripped songs automatically added.
  • Gap-less playback for all music.
  • The ability to backwards sync your iPod with other computers and copy the music off the iPod onto other authorized PCs.
  • Downloadable movie trailers for your iPod.
  • Movies from the likes of Disney, Pixar, Miramax, and Touchstone; $15 at release, $13 to preorder, and $10 for old titles. They are now 640 by 480 instead of 320 by 240. Most movies will be available on the date of the DVD release.
  • iPod Games available for download; $5 a title with 9 games online now ranging from Pac-Man to Bejeweled. Not playable on PCs. Works only with 5G iPods.
  • And last but not least, a blue iTunes logo instead of a green one.
Of all of those updates, I like the album art one the best. It may seem kind of silly, but I spent forever over the summer finding album art for CDs I'd ripped. The pain in the ass now is deleting the Amazon stuff and getting the higher quality pictures from iTunes. The 3D Jukebox is pretty awesome too.

I'd like to be amped about the movies, but I only have a 5G with 1.5 hours of video playback, and I now don't plan on getting a new one since the 80GB ones are .55" thick. Not missing out on much though, they're only Disney anyway... And for $10-15 I would expect the ability to burn them to DVDs. The movie trailers thing is a nice feature, I've been waiting on that for a year. I'll try out one of the games in a few days and tell you guys what it's like playing Tetris or something on an iPod.

The problem with this new version of iTunes is copying music to your iPod. Instead of having one thing on the sidebar for your iPod, there's now the main iPod tab, and 4 sub-tabs that let you see the different items on your iPod. You can't just go onto the music sub-tab and press paste to add music. You have to go to the main iPod tab, which doesn't have a list of your music, and press paste. It's very annoying for me. If I were you and you're not itching to get movies or games, I'd wait for 7.0.1 or the next update because it can get to be a huge pain in the ass.

So overall it's pretty cool but could still use some work.

Next up: iPod and Shuffle get revised

After the Nano, what could Apple do but release new versions of the regular iPod and the Shuffle? Nothing. So the iPod is not really a redesign, more of just an update to it. Here's what's changing:

  • No more 60GB. The new models are now 30GB and 80GB, no news released on whether they will be the same form factor or the 80 larger then the 30 as in the last generation.
  • 60% brighter screen.
  • 3.5 hours of video playback on the 30, 6.5 on the 80.
  • Newly-designed headphones, not shown, hopefully they will be in-ear with increased quality.
  • New searching feature for music
  • 'Gapless' playback, no idea what that means
  • Games for $5 on iTunes, will work with the old 5G's and this, no information about the Nanos.
I don't care about the brightness. I don't care about the Gapless playback. I care about games and all that video playback. 6.5 hours of video playback in such a small thing amazes me, I will be getting that 80GB no question as long as it is not as big as the 60GB was last time. Now the games.. I will not buy the iPod just for that since my 5G does it just fine, but I am pretty excited about that too, playing Pac-Man, Zuma, and Tetris on my iPod sounds like it'll be fun. Only $5 as well. Sort of wish they would give us the same paint job options as the new Nanos, but that's an easy thing to let go. $250 for the 30GB and $350 for the 80GB. No release date.

So what I'm thinking is, one way or another, with this update, I'm going to get a new iPod after just a year as long as the 80 isn't huge. I hate Apple for doing this but I'm willing to pay for that extra video playback (especially with the movies I'll talk about next post), but it was getting a hella scratched up anyway. I wish they would just get the freaking Video out the door so I don't need another one next year again.. oh well. I'm also interested in the new earbuds.. I would be paying $100 for new ones if I hadn't heard this.. hopefully they are in-ear and not as tinny as the last ones.

The Shuffle is receiving a total makeover, and the new one will be as big as the iPod Remote is. If you don't know how small that is check the pic. That's crazy small, fo shizzle. Too bad it's a Shuffle, I can not have an mp3 player without a screen. It's that simple. Coming in 1GB next month for $80.

First, the new iPod Nanos.. They are teh pwnage!

What needs to be said, guys? Those things are simply put, BITCHIN'! Here's what the update changes:

  • No more cheap plastic, all Aluminum here.
  • 5 colors, no need to tell you what they are, unless you're colorblind you can tell from the pic. Hell if you're colorblind why should the colors matter?!
  • 24 hour battery life. Enough said, eh?
  • New charger, lanyard, and armband. Charger is way overdue, as is the armband.
  • 52% smaller then the original Nano, I honestly have no dayam idea how they did that, the original Nano's were freaking midgets. To be honest, I don't know if I'd want an iPod that small.
  • Will have the same software as the regular iPods.
So that just about sums it up, the coolest thing about these new Nanos is that the new design looks just like the old Mini's, but smaller and not the plastic of iPods past. For that reason alone, I would probably buy one, but I don't want anything that expensive that's that small. Just too easy to lose. Sorry Apple.

$150 for the 2GB Silver Nano, $200 for the 4GB Nano in all of the colors, and $250 for the 8Gigger in Black. Don't know why you can only get the 4GB in the different colors.. seems one of the biggest things going for them..

Will be back in 5, with more news.


Apple's Media Event Coverage Starts Now!

Earlier today Apple had a big media event, and they announced so many new things coming to iTunes and iPods, we are going to take about 5 posts to bring it to you. The news ranged from new iPod Nanos to the new iTV, but sadly there was no news of a true Video iPod.

So starting in say 10 minutes, the posts will start marching in like saints!


Monday, September 11, 2006

AudioSlave's Original Fire

Ok, so here's the deal. Back in August Microsoft's XBOX Live Artist of the Month was Audioslave. On the last day of August I decided, what the hell, I'll take the video, it's free anyway. After watching it twice, I knew Audioslave was a kick-ass band, and I had this song stuck in my head without any hope of getting it out. Oddly though, I hate their old music. This song marks their turn into more rock'n'roll and hip-hop influences in their music instead of alternative, and it makes the difference that got me interested.

This video is just plain awesome (even though the Youtube version is a huge step down in quality from the HD version on my 360), the tune is great no matter what kind of music you like, it's not too hard or too soft for anyone to complain, and the actual video is really unique. I love the pictures and lyrics going around in the background. And Tom Morello and Chris Cornell looks really cool, too. Without further ado, I present AudioSlave's "Original Fire". If you like that, I suggest going out and buying their new CD, Revelations, as it is very cool as well.

Edit: Until YouTube's new interface figures out how to work itself, I can't get videos on this blog, so I'm gonna have to just link you guys. Sorry. AudioSlave - Original Fire


Remember, Remember, the 11th of September.

It’s been five years since everyone’s lives were changed, either directly or indirectly, thanks to four terrorists hijacking separate planes and crashing into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. It was done for no apparent reason aside from inflicting us with fear, and to a certain extent, it worked. Now 5 years later most people have recovered from the shock, but the people who lost members of their family or friends will probably never fully heal. Let’s take a moment to pray for them…

Now on to a bit happier note: the Freedom Tower. In case you haven’t seen the design for the building, it’s going to be a 1776 (in a tribute to the year we got our independence) foot tall structure, with a slanted glass roof, and it looks absolutely awesome. Alongside the FT will be a memorial for the 9-11 victims, a museum, and four other towers. Construction will be started at the end of 2006 and is supposed to be finished in 2012… Sort of doubt that though, with how amazing that thing looks. Basically just have a look at that picture to see what it’ll look like. Find out more about it near the bottom of this Wiki article.


Friday, September 08, 2006

TV Talk

Ok, this might turn into a new segment. Well, the fall season of all the shows are starting off, and their coming with a kick. So, let's talk about them!

Let's start of with the new competition show called Celebrity Duets which premiered last Monday on FOX. It's a show that has some C-List or under celebs, including wrestler Chris Jericho, comedian Hal Sparks, "Xena:Warrior Princess" star Lucy Lawless, actor and comedian Cheech Marin, Fresh Prince's Alfonso Ribiero, and others, 8 in all. And they sing with A-List or a little lower singers who were hits back in the day. They include Micheal Bolton, Richard Marx, Gladys Knight, and many others. They have a duet with the famous singer, then are judges by a celebrity panel including Marie Osmend, Little Richard, and David Foster. One get elminated per week. It's hosted by one of my favorite comedians, Wayne Brady. So overall, I thought the show was entertaining. I like all the old songs they sing, good stuff. It's great to see how many celebrity singers they can get for this competition though. You should check it out if you like the oldies. I give it a 4 out of 5 so far. Check it out on FOX, Thursdays at 9pm, and the results show, Fridays at 9pm.

Next up, is the 3rd Season of the hit doctor drama "HOUSE" which premiered on FOX this week on Tuesday. And the third season is very good. For those of you who don't know about the show, it stars Hugh Laurie as a doctor named Gregory House who is a quick witted guy who just comes up with the crazy things to treat someone, and they usually work. His crack medical team include Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps), Dr. Allison Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), and Dr. Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer). They all work at Princeton Hospital in New Jersey, and the show is about them solving some extremely interesting cases. The show is great, loved it the first 2 seasons, and love the 3rd one more. If you watched the first few seasons, check this one out. If not, still check out this show, it's amazing. The first ep gets a 5 out of 5. Can't wait til next week. Check it out on FOX, Tuesdays at 8pm.

Now, let's talk about some sitcoms. One new one is Brad Garret's new sitcom "Til' Death". This show is about a married couple who were married for about 8,500 days, and arebasically sick of living with each other, but do anyway. A newlywed couple moves in next door, so they try to explain to them the complexities of marriage, but make it funny. The show is alright, not as funny as expected. But so far, it gets a 3 out of 5. Check it out on FOX, Thursdays at 8pm.

Another good show is the sitcom "Happy Hour" Thursday nights on FOX after "Til' Death". It's a great sitcom you guys should check out.

So, I've talked a lot about FOX tonight, but the truth is, they are basically the only network to talk about right now. But be sure to check out the new stuff coming soon on CBS. Including probably Ton and I's favorite show, "The Amazing Race", Sundays on CBS at 9pm starting on 9/17. "Shark" which is a new show starring James Woods who plays a lawyer who tries to succeed. It's on CBS Tuesdays at 9pm starting on 9/19.

Coming soon on ABC is "Help Me Help You" which stars Ted Danson who plays a therapist who has a group who comes together and talks about their promblems, and he tries to help them. But it seems, he has many problems of his own, and that's about it.

On NBC, check out "Heroes" on Mondays. They also have the comedy show starring Tina Fey called "30 Rock", and a drama called "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip".

So, seems like a great line-up this fall. Check them out.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Smiles That Kill

If you're a regular here, you know that we read a blog called The Only Opinion That Counts, which is run by a dude who is now known as SmilesD. Well, TOOTC is officially dead. But Doug has made a new blog called Smiles That Kill, and let me tell you, it is very cool. So go check it out!

On a side note, the blog "D" and I used to write, the Divine Opinion, is dead as well. It's good news and bad news for you guys. Good because you'll be able to just see all of my movie reviews here, but bad because there will likely be less of them.

That's all I've got to tell you, so I'm out.


XBOX Live Arcade Reviews: Week 1

Microsoft set out to make the XBOX Live Arcade popular around 10 months ago when they released the 360, and at the moment I own 8 of the titles from it, with about half of them good. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to give you short and to the point reviews of each and every one, and tell you which 4 of them are worth your money, and which 4 aren't. Today I’ll do… Pac-Man, and Uno.

Pac-Man: The original arcade title, loved by millions, was released on XBLA at the end of July. It features what the original did, and just about nothing else. Which is its biggest fault, all that’s there is the regular arcade game, and Live leaderboards. Same graphics, same levels, same everything. It just feels too basic, even for a $5 XBOX Live Arcade title. The other problem with this version is that using the XBOX 360’s controller is absolute crap, the analog stick sticks a bit when you use it for this, and the D-Pad is much worse. Also, as with the other classic titles like this, only 2/3 of the screen is used.

I know they just wanted to get it out there, easy as possible, to make some money off of an old title, but I really wish they would have put a little bit of work into it and maybe come up with some new maze designs or even Co-Op play on Live. Even if it wasn’t great, it would be a lot better then playing the exact same thing over and over, by yourself.

As you can probably already guess, this is one of the 8 titles I own so far that I can not recommend. Going to have to give this package a measly 2.5 out of 5. It would be lower if it wasn’t a classic like Pac-Man. Even for $5, I expect far more then one game mode and leaderboards. Only buy it if you want 200 easy gamerscore points.

UNO: One of the most popular XBOX Live titles, an adaptation of the classic card game UNO, was released back in May. It’s arguably the most loved arcade title, because it’s simple yet has a lot to it. It’s basic UNO, with standard, partner, and elimination modes. You could play against the computer if you wanted, but where the game lives is on Live. It’s incredible fun to hook up with 3 friends and just play Uno while you’re having a chat. Or you can use it to make friends, which I have done quite a few times thanks to this game.

The Uno cards look amazing in high def or standard, yes I know it’s kind of funny to say that about cards, but they are very shiny. You could probably complain about the music which is basically a ukulele or guitar tune that loops endlessly, but to be honest I doubt you’ll notice it. Or there’s the custom soundtrack feature if you really hate it that much. Last but not least, there’s the ability to use different deck skins, which add some effects, make the cards look different, and change the rules up a little bit. So far there’s only 2, the 35th anniversary one (free) and the PGR3 one ($1.25).

As this is one of my favorite XBLA titles with almost endless replay value, I can do nothing but recommend it. I’ll say it deserves a 4 out of 5 just because if you play it too much, it can get boring. After all, it is only a card game. The most amazing thing is, even though it’s an incredible game, you can get it for 400 MS points ($5). Go buy it.

So that’s it for this week’s XBLA reviews, I’ll be back next week with 2 more (likely Hexic HD and Galaga). See you then.


More Problems Head Sony's Way

When Sony's PlayStation and PlayStation 2 consoles launched worldwide, there was up to nine months between the Japanese and European releases. So European gamers rejoiced when, at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, it was announced that the PlayStation 3 launch would take place worldwide over a matter of weeks in November.

However, this morning Sony has issued a statement saying that the PlayStation 3 release date has been pushed back to March 2007 in Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, and Australia. Sony cited 'the delay in the mass-production schedule of the blue laser diode within the Sony Group' as the reason for the postponement.

I was sort of surprised, but as much as I’m not liking Sony lately, I honestly don’t feel like slamming them for this. I mean, hey, it’s understandable that Blu-Ray is new and they’re having trouble producing it. Two things that are total BS about this are: They’re having problems with the Blu-Ray in only Europe? I know we’re in the US, but I can’t help but feel bad for the guys over in the Euro, which leads me to my second BS note: People in Europe were made to put down 150 pounds for preordering this. Would you be pissed off if you were a parent buying one of these for your kid, put down 150 pounds ($250-300), and then were told you won’t be able to get it until 3 months after Christmas? That means either the kids won’t be getting gifts for 3 months, or their parents will be out all that money. Sad either way. Here’s what I’m really worried about for Sony:

After a large amount of confusion, Sony has now confirmed that it has drastically scaled back the scope of the PS3 launch in Japan in the US. Only 100,000 PS3s will be in Japanese stores when the platform goes on sale there on November 11. North America will only get 400,000 units for its PS3 launch on November 17.

The combined figure of 500,000 is one quarter of the 2 million units Sony predicted would be available at launch worldwide as late as this morning. The company has since lowered its worldwide 2006 shipment estimates from 4 million to 2 million-2.4 million. Officially, Sony's global shipment forecast of 6 million units for its 2007 fiscal year, which ends March 31, 2007, remains unaffected.

Ok, that’s 400,000 PS3’s in the US. About half will be the $600 ones. That’s 200,000 good ones, over 50 states, which is 4,000 good PS3’s per state. Say hello to $2,000+ sales on eBay!

Real problem isn’t the US though, only 100,000 of the things are going to Japan?! What the hell, the 360 isn’t selling over there so they think they can give them the short end of the stick? In case they don’t know, they are HUGE in Japan, 100,000 will go very, very quickly.

So, things just keep looking more and more grim for Sony, but even as much as I don't like them, I hope they don't go out this time. I would like to see a 3rd place from them, but they should stay in the market still. Crossing my fingers that they can get their act together, fast. On a slightly different note, this will be amazing for Nintendo and Microsoft in Europe and just about everywhere, I know very many people will cave in waiting that long for a PS3, as I finally did back in March.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

We're Expanding Our Focus

So, as you know, GM2 was originally all about video games, but then talking about those kinda got a little old and repetitive, so we expanded our focus a little by adding some movie reviews. But now, we're gonna expand it even more to include television, movies, music, video games, tech, and a lot more. So stay tuned for all around news and reviews.

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