Under the Radar podcast

There’s a newish podcast out there put on by Blake Leftwich of Salute Games, Matthew Taylor of The Robot Gamer, and Stephen Smith of Kombo.com and Video Game Collector. The show focuses on the guys discussing games that have slipped through through to release without getting much buzz or attention. As they do this, they often bring up other issues and discuss what they’ve been playing recently. This is one of my favorite gaming podcasts because these guys are exactly what you’d figure a hardcore gamer should be. No, they’re not Dew slammin’ loudmouths that run out and grab every first person shooter, Madden, and open world hyperviolent sandbox game. They’re real hardcore gamers that know gaming’s past, it’s current trends, and can properly identify positives and negatives of a game’s gameplay, artistic direction, and technical aspects.

UnderTheRadar

Give the show a listen. The show can be found on iTunes or you can subscribe directly to the feed at www.salutegames.com/utr.xml. And for what it’s worth, The Stupid Gamer Podcast is coming back too, hopefully this week!

Happy Birthday, Giant Bomb

Yesterday Giant Bomb celebrated their first anniversary since the full site was launched. It’s pretty remarkable how much the guys over at Giant Bomb have built up their site in a year’s time. I remember when Brad, Vinny, and the rest of the guys were bailing on Gamespot to join Jeff’s Giant Bomb venture that the general opinion was that the network was bigger than the personalities and that their leaving would be a short-lived consequence. Well, Gamespot remains the larger media outlet as far as traffic goes, but Giant Bomb is steadily increasing over time as Gamespot has slowly but steadily declined. I know Alexa numbers are suspect, but it’s something to go off of at least. Check the chart below from a comparison I ran between the two sites.
comparison

I doubt that the Giant Bomb guys are too worried about competing with Gamespot, but it’s nice to see that good journalism is winning out over a brand name. If you haven’t been listening, I suggest you check out the Giant Bomb podcast. New episodes come out every Tuesday.

Target starts up new preoder bonus

Target has been taking preorders on games for a little while, but it’s not for every game, and it’s not widely known. Now, the company is starting up a new preorder program that is guaranteed to steal a few sales away from Gamestop. If you preoder the game with $1 down, Target will give you a $5 gift card to the store if you pick the game up within seven days of release. At Gamestop, you have to put $5 down, and then when you pick the game up they try to convince you to pay full price and to roll that $5 over to another preorder. If you say no, you then have to listen to every game that’s coming out in the next 16 years while they make sure that there’s not something that you want to preorder.

target_preorder

So the process seems pretty simple, and if you shop at Target anyway it’s just as convenient as going to Gamestop. Heck, Target even opens up earlier and closes later than Gamestop. It would be great if Target could somehow expand the system to include all games that they plan on carrying, as there is only a select list of titles right now that will be included in this promotion. My guess is that if this really takes off, we’ll see Target go after this much more aggressively. Either way, I know where I’m picking my Punch-Out!! from on release day.

Buy some cool(?) Punch-Out!! stuff exclusively from Amazon

Collector’s editions of games are all the rage now, it seems. People are dropping $10, $20, 0r even $30 extra dollars on specially packaged  versions of their games in order to get some bonus swag with their game. Many times these collector’s editions of games are exclusive to a particular retailer or, or only offered for a limited time, or are for pre-orders only. Well, right now on Amazon.com you can buy a couple of Punch-Out!! collectibles. The first, which comes in at a whopping $90, is a green boxing glove in a display case, which is “autographed” by Little Mac. The second is a Heavyweight Contender Kit, which contains a King Hippo mini crown, a desktop punching bag, some boxer shorts, and a Doc Louis chocolate bar. Neither kit comes with the game, but both are oozing with nerd bragging rights. Below are the links to the products on Amazon.

Punch-Out!! Amazon.com Exclusive Little Mac Boxing Glove

Punch-Out!! Amazon.com Exclusive Heavyweight Contender Kit

punch_out_swag

Ok, I have to admit that I think that the boxing glove is pretty dang cool, but I don’t see myself spending more than $15-$20 on something like that. The fact that it’s $90 and doesn’t come with the game kills it for me. I’m planning on putting a Punch-Out!! arcade machine in my home soon, and this would be the perfect decoration to go alongside it, but right now I just can’t justify the money. Hopefully these things will either come down in price at some point or that they’ll be available for less on the second hand market. All you die-hard Punch-Out!! fans, you found your dream swag if the price is right, however.

Welcome, APB! Another arcade joins the game room (with pics)

Today my wife (who is 8 months pregnant), my dog, and I headed up to Nampa, Idaho (about 15 minutes east of Boise) to pick up an APB arcade game from a fellow KLOV/BYOAC member, FrizzleFried. Boise is about a 5 hour drive from here, so we got started early. The little adventure wasn’t without its complications, as you’ll see by checking out the pictures and descriptions below, but it was 100% successful and we had a great time. We’re back home, very tired, but happy to have our new game. It’s still in the garage, but we’ll get it moved down into the game room early next week after I do a little bit of extra cleaning on the machine (it’s already pretty darn clean). I usually don’t like splitting posts with a jump, but since this one is a little lengthy I’m going to do so in order to save the front page from being abnormally long.

Continue reading Welcome, APB! Another arcade joins the game room (with pics)

Tetris, for people who have way too much free time

Tetris has always been a great time waster, but this version of it clearly outdoes anything you have ever seen before. By using your whole screen and shrinking the pieces down, it would take you all day to make any significant progress. If you get up to 10-20 lines, you’re a far more patient and dedicated man than I am. If anybody sends me a screen shot of them getting a Tetris, well, I might just have to give you an high five.

Link: http://sovietrussia.org/f/src/tetoris.swf

Seriously now, this is just silly.

Note: Pressing space bar makes the block drop faster. You can also click on the “key” button on the top right to make it so space bar rotates the block and the down arrow makes it fall faster.

I miss 80s game and food ads

The 80s were full of ridiculous trends and fashions, but one thing I kinda miss is the cheesy style of advertising for things like toys, games, and food. Back then advertisers were kind of fun, rather than just irritating (see: Taco Bell). Below are a few YouTube finds of some ads that I pulled at random to remember the good old days.

Chase the Chuckwagon surpasses 2,000 members

A while back I posted about a small but growing auction site that focused in on video games and related products. The site is called Chase the Chuckwagon, and it’s claim to fame is that it offers a more friendly atmosphere for buyers and sellers to interact and make deals. The site is also gaining in popularity due to its very low seller fees. The site picked up its 2,000th member this evening, and the site’s admin couldn’t be happier with the growth of the site.

 

ChaseTheChuckwagon.com Advertising Image

I personally use the site, and I’d encourage you to check it out before searching eBay, as prices generally tend to be lower.

Left 4 Dead DLC will be free

How awesome is Valve? The upcoming Left 4 Dead DLC, which is actually pretty significant, is going to be absolutely free for both PC and Xbox 360 users. In a recent press release, Valve gave all the tasty details. Here’s the direct quote:

San Francisco, CA – February 11, 2009 –The recently announced Left 4 Dead Downloadable Content (L4D DLC) will be delivered to Xbox 360 and PC gamers free of charge.Due for release this spring, the DLC for 2008’s best-selling new game property on the PC and Xbox 360, is dubbed the L4D Survival Pack and introduces a new multiplayer gamemode entitled, Survival, plus two complete campaigns for Versus Mode (Death Toll, Dead Air). A Critic’s Choice Edition of the game will be heading to retail stores this spring, and will include access to all the content introduced in the L4D: Survival Pack. Left 4 Dead is a survival action game from Valve that blends the social entertainment experience of multiplayer games such as Counter-Strike and Team Fortress with the dramatic, narrative experience made popular in single player action game classics such as the Half-Life series of games. Released in November of 2008, L4D has earned over 25 industry awards from outlets around the world.

For more information, please visit www.l4d.com

It sounds like Valve is basically willing to give us what most devs are charging between $10-$15 to receive. That’s pretty generous, and I hope other developers follow suit.