My two favorite fights from EVO 2010

EVO2k10 wrapped up last night with Daigo “The Beast” Umehara taking the main event (Super Street Fighter IV) championship for the second year in a row. He beat out Ricky Ortiz in a great best of 5 match that had around 15,000 online viewers witnessing. The event was full of tons of fantastic matchups and hard fought victories, but two really stood out to me.

First, there’s the best salty moment (in my opinion) of the tournament when JuiceBox finishes off Scumbag in early round play. JuiceBox was already up a game and a round when Scumbag took a big lead in round 2 of game 2. Instead of keeping the pressure on, Scumbag decided to do a little taunting, and here’s how it ended.

Here’s the final between Ricky Ortiz and Daigo. Pretty entertaining to see the two go back and forth at each other. There were some more closely contested matches, but when they’re playing for the grand champion title it was great to watch.

Also, I love Adam Sessler, but G4 should have left the hardcore SSFIV players to commentate the final. Guys like Skisonic and Keits did a killer job early on during Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, and we could have used that for the final here.

Club Nintendo Gold and Platinum member awards announced

If you’ve been saving your registration codes and entering them in at Club Nintendo, today you found out what this year’s prizes were. Last year there were a few to choose from, including a Mario hat and Doc Lewis’ Punch-Out!! downloadable game for the Wii. This year the two prizes are cool for collectors, and you can also use your points to purchase items. I ended up getting the platinum award, and I used my points to grab a Game and Watch Collection for the DS. Here are the awards.

Platinum

Gold

It looks like my desk is about to get just a bit nerdier.

How the Nintendo 3DS works, what it looks like

Stereoscopic 3D has been around for a very long time. Many of us had toys that used the effect when we were kids in the form of a View-Master. The way the 3D works is that two nearly identical images are presented, one to each eye. Your brain combines the images into a single image, which creates depth in the single image. The reason the depth effect works is because each image is slightly different from a perspective standpoint, and when the image is fused in your brain, both perspectives are preserved, making the scene look alive.

Below I have a good example piece. To make it work you’ll have to cross your eyes until you see a 3rd image between the two. Focus on that 3rd (middle) image and it should come into focus. You may have to get closer to your monitor (10 to 12 inches) to make it work. If you do it correctly, the image should clarify and show depth to it. Try it now.

Now, the 3DS works in the same way, but the cool thing with Nintendo’s technology is that the LCD screen sends the images to your eyes without you having to do any headache-inducing eye crossing. The result is a constant and moving image that has a great sensation of depth. The slider for increasing or decreasing the 3D effect is simply affecting how much the two images vary from a viewpoint difference, making the fused image seem more or less pronounced in its depth.

Announcement: The Gamer Theory Forums

As development toward launching Gamer Theory creeps along, we’ve got the forum system up and running. Plenty of features and tweaks are still being added to the boards, so if you join now you’ll have to put up with some dust, but we’d be happy to have you join up and get posting. This weekend is the official launch of the forums.

If you want to register and start checking them out, head over to http://www.forums.gamertheory.com and post.

EGMi is fantastic

The resurrection of EGM comes in two forms; the digital version available online and the print version. After spending time reading the launch issue of the digital version, I finally get what they’re going for here with EGMi. The way that the articles are enhanced by little rollovers or stuff to click on goes far beyond traditional e-zines that are more like browsing PDF files or even scanned pages.

Take a look at EGMi and see if you don’t agree that it has a viable future: http://www.egmnow.com/egmi/238-1/

Also, it seems like the magazine does a great job of capturing the feel that EGM had when it closed its doors, but it also seems like they’re looking at how they can positively evolve. I’ll be paying for my subscription this week, hoping that the printed issues are just as promising.

Best Game Ever: Star Control II

Star Control II.
Originally on the PC but also ported to the 3DO with enhanced sound and added speech, this game was easily the best open world game of its time. It’s really rare, even today, to find a game that offers the same level of freedom, non-linear progression, and sense of scale. Here’s the lowdown.
Game is set way in the future after a big galactic war in which the Earth and its alliance lost. Earth is trapped under a slave shield and a race called the Ur-Quan rules the galaxy along with anybody else that chose to join up with them and avoid being annihilated or enslaved.
You’re a descendant from science team that left earth way in the past that had colonized a new planet where you’ve found alien tech. You go out to find out what happened with earth. After finding out that the alliance basically got curb stomped you decide to take it upon yourself to fly around the galaxy recruiting races to start the fight back up again against the Ur-Quan. Depending on the alliances you make the game changes and the storyline can get altered quite a bit.
Game is split into three main styles of gameplay. First there’s exploration where you’re looking for resources (money), new races to ally with, and alien technology to augment your ship. Secondly there’s the political aspect where you need to convince races to join your fight and keep them at peace with one another. Finally, there’s combat that plays out as a 2D top down battle. It’s all great stuff.
Here’s the intro video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4GB3FeqQVk
[youtube]J4GB3FeqQVk[/youtube]
Here’s a battle sequence:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRg6MfG7UUY
[youtube]cRg6MfG7UUY[/youtube]
A conversation with the Spathi, a coward race that you still want to recruit as allies because they make awesome starships.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afuWQonf4D8
[youtube]afuWQonf4D8[/youtube]
You can get the game for free here: http://sc2.sourceforge.net/downloads.php
Versions of the game are available on Windows, OS X, Linux, and a few other devices (including PSP).
I know it’s a busy time for gaming, but honestly, I doubt any game coming out in the next few months will be as good.

Note: Best Game Ever is a series of posts I’ll be doing dedicated to the best games ever made. Each game I profile will be a game I’d accept as someone’s answer to the question, “what do you think the best game ever is?” So please, do not email me and tell me I’m stupid for posting about game X when game Y is clearly superior. And you never know, game Y might be the next game profiled. For more in the series, check out the “best game ever” category in the side bar.

Star Control II.

Originally on the PC but also ported to the 3DO with enhanced sound and added speech, this game was easily the best open world game of its time. You can now download it FOR FREE (link at the bottom of the post) as it’s been made open source. It’s really rare, even today, to find a game that offers the same level of freedom, non-linear progression, and sense of scale. Here’s the lowdown.

Game is set way in the future after a big galactic war in which the Earth and its alliance lost. Earth is trapped under a slave shield and a race called the Ur-Quan rules the galaxy along with anybody else that chose to join up with them and avoid being annihilated or enslaved.

You’re a descendant from science team that left earth way in the past that had colonized a new planet where you’ve found alien tech. You go out to find out what happened with earth. After finding out that the alliance basically got curb stomped you decide to take it upon yourself to fly around the galaxy recruiting races to start the fight back up again against the Ur-Quan. Depending on the alliances you make the game changes and the storyline can get altered quite a bit.

The game is split into three main styles of gameplay. First there’s exploration where you’re looking for resources (money), new races to ally with, and alien technology to augment your ship. Secondly there’s the political aspect where you need to convince races to join your fight and keep them at peace with one another. Finally, there’s combat that plays out as a 2D top down battle. It’s all great stuff.

Here’s the intro video:

Here’s a battle sequence:

A conversation with the Spathi, a coward race that you still want to recruit as allies because they make awesome starships.

You can get the game for free here: http://sc2.sourceforge.net/downloads.php

Versions of the game are available on Windows, OS X, Linux, and a few other devices (including PSP).

I know it’s a busy time for gaming, but honestly, I doubt any game coming out in the next few months will be as good.

Lose/Lose is the craziest game ever

Below is a video for Lose/Lose, a game that procedurally creates enemies based on the files on your computer. It sends these waves of enemies at you and if you destroy one, you get a point. The crazy thing, however, is that if you destroy the enemy, it also destroys the file from your computer…permanently. So as you play, files will be deleted at random from your system. If you manage to win the game, the program itself gets destroyed and removed from your computer. You can watch the video below to satisfy your curiosity, as I don’t think it’s a good idea to play it yourself.

lose/lose from zach gage on Vimeo.

Here is a link to the site where you can even see high scores: http://www.stfj.net/art/2009/loselose/

Worth Listening To: Gaming Podcast Roundup

My full-time job is doing search engine optimization and pay-per-click marketing. Due to the nature of this work, I spend a lot of time banging away at my keyboard writing. As I write, I get to listen to music and podcasts throughout the day, and having 8-10 hours of this daily lets me check out the best gaming has to offer in regards to podcasts. I currently subscribe to around 20 different podcasts (not all gaming related), and here are my favorites in no specific order. I know I’ve done this before, but I feel it’s worth it as these shows evolve and change over time.

Robert Ashley’s A Life Well Wasted – This podcast is incredible. It’s not a weekly show, but that’s because every episode is highly produced, well-researched, and delves deep into its subject matter. Just today I was finishing up an episode while driving back from my soccer game and I ended up finishing the last 15 minutes in my driveway because I didn’t want to stop listening to go inside. Anybody who likes to think about games on a deeper level than just how cool graphics are or what the NPDs might mean in the console wars, check this podcast out. Also, the music provided by Robert’s band I Come to Shanghai makes for an amazing moment or two each show. Episode two has an electronic beat layed over the sounds of quarters dropping into pinball quarter mechanisms, pop bumpers, and and ball ejects. Robert also makes great use of silence much like a painter leverages white space on a canvas. This is as close to art as you’re going to find in a gaming podcast.

Listen Up – 1up’s podcast hosted by Garnett Lee and with regulars John Davison, David Ellis, and Sam Kennedy is one of the most passionate podcasts out there. These guys do well to hit all aspects of gaming from PC, handhelds, consoles, and even iPhone and Android. Always a little irreverent but respectful, Listen Up does a good job running with the torch after 1up Yours met its end with the death of EGM and the departure of old favorites like Shane Bettenhausen, Luke Smith, and Mark McDonald. This podcast is a weekly podcast and is released each Friday.

The CAGCast – CheapyD and Wombat put out this weekly show and they have a great chemistry going. With Wombat in New York and Cheapy in Tokyo, each co-host brings a different perspective on the industry to the converstation. With these two guys you’ll never be questioning whethr or not they’re being fully upfront about their opinions or beliefs.

Giant Bombcast – Probably the best podcast out there that acts as the “official” podcast of a gaming news and editorial outlet, Brad, Jeff, Ryan, and Vinny are a hilarious group of journalists that use their time behind the mic to delve deeper into the week’s bigger stories and to vent about what’s been bugging them. This podcast comes out on Tuesdays and is definitely one of the first you should check out if you want an idea of what gaming podcasts have to offer.

Under the Radar – Blake, Matthew, and Steve do a weekly show where they “focus on the games that ┬áthe other guys ignore.” This is an entertaining podcast full of well-informed and witty conversation. This is one of the shorter podcasts out there, so it should fit into anybody’s schedule. This is also a great podcast if you’re looking to get a chance to interact with the hosts via email or Twitter as they’re really responsive to feedback.

The Penny Arcade Podcast – From a pure comedy standpoint no other podcast in gaming measures up. This show is hilarious, but unfortunately they’re released very sporadically and it’s been quite some time since their last effort. Still, this is a show worth subscribing to so you can grab it when one does drop.

Co-Op – The spiritual successor to the amazing 1up Show, Co-Op is a weekly video podcast that runs about 30 minutes long, so it’s basically a full blown TV show that happens to be distributed for free over the Internet. This show integrates editorial, media, and humor through conversational pieces and skits that are well-written, clever, and interesting. Check these guys out at http://www.Area5.TV.

Other Podcasts Worth Listening To:

  • The Geek Box
  • IGN’s 3 Red Lights (Xbox Team)
  • IGN’s Podcast Beyond (Sony Team)
  • X-Play Daily Video Podcast

If you know of any other great shows out there, let me know about them.