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Evo 2009, Rock Band Network, ESA vs CTA [Game Overview]
Jul 24th, 2009 by Dan

Insert another credit, because it’s time for your weekly video game news and you’ve just hit the Game Overview screen.

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover this week, so let’s get cracking right away. Will I mention Left 4 Dead 2 again? Read on to find out:

Thank God Atlus Made a Mistake

Video game companies take note: countdown timers suck. No one likes them. Stop teasing your announcements and just make announcements like normal people do.

Or you could do what Atlus just did and tease an announcement and follow it with an accidental premature reveal. The cat is out of the bag, Atlus announced another new spinoff iteration to their MegaTen series with the upcoming (comes out 8 October) Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey. Story details indicate that the main character is a member of a UN research team deployed to investigate some weirdness at the South Pole. I’m a fan of MegaTen in general, so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this one.

Big Numbers

It seems that Dragon Quest IX has sold another 600k or so since last week. Good on them, keep it up and localize that game faster!

Rock Out!

Guitar Hero fans were so smug about the music creation tools within GH: World Tour. It turned out to be a rather niche feature that created midi-representations of songs that vocals couldn’t even be recorded for. Clearly not what everyone was expecting. Harmonix announced the Rock Band Network this week, allowing bands who hold copyrights to songs to chart their own songs and release them within Rock Band, fully realizing their vision of making Rock Band a platform for music distribution. It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to see if some of my favorite underrepresented bands will start submitting their music to the game. There are a few caveats with submission, namely that the content must remain rated T, but it’s still some of the best news I’ve heard from the company not pertaining directly to The Beatles: Rock Band in a while.

While I’m on the subject of Rock Band, research is showing that sales of boxed copies of Rock Band and Guitar Hero are down 49% in no small part due to the Guitar Hero glut diluting the marketplace. Thankfully, Harmonix’s music platform idea has caught on, earning them a cool billion dollars in revenue. They’ve sold over 40 million tracks online. Good on you HMX.

Get Rock Band 2!

Evo

Evo 2009 came to a close this year and if you know anything about Street Fighter, you can probably guess who won. Daigo “The Beast” in the West and “Ume” in Japan Umehara, playing as Ryu, faced off against America’s Justin Wong, playing as Balrog, in a fight that truly went the distance.

Known around the world for his almost psychic shoryuken deployment, Daigo squeezed past Wong with truly expert execution.

If you want to see more Daigo vs Wong, check out Daigo’s most famous moment from Evo 2004. The epic action begins at about 2:43:

Confused by what you just saw? Daigo, as Ken, parried all 15 of the hits in Justin Wong’s Chun-Li super move. This is no easy feat, especially considering that he had to jump to do one of them. He then takes advantage of Chun-Li’s recovery time to unleash a super of his own, winning the match and Evo 2004.

While they haven’t faced each other as many times, I like to think of Wong and Umehara as the Federer and Roddick of the fighting game world. Good luck next year Justin.

Swamp Fever

Come on, you knew I was going to mention it? New L4D2 details have emerged thanks to SDCC. Valve has released details and footage of the Spitter at Comic-Con.

The Spitter seems to fall into Valve’s “split up groups” policy in Left 4 Dead. Not content to allow players to sit on their haunches with the same tactics from L4D, the Spitter will disperse survivors by lobbing spit balls in a mortar-like fashion that cause continuous damage when players stand in the same spot. Combined with the Charger, this game is looking to be a lot harder.

Other announcements include the common-uncommon infected, modified common infected specific to each level. One can guess that the hazmat, fire retardant infected are one example of this innovation, but Valve has specifically named Mud Men from, I assume, Swamp Fever as common-uncommon infected. They will crawl and move very quickly.

That video actually shows off quite a bit. You can see the residue from a Spitter quickly take down Coach and Ellis and Nick is knocked away from the group and savagely beat against the ground by a Charger (the little arm is so funny looking) while Rochelle is overwhelmed by common infected. It looks intense.

The Fortress

Everyone loves Dwarf Fortress-related comics. Matt and Ian at Three Panel Soul have put together yet another strip.

Man Do I Love “Paperback Writer”

While we’re far away from the subject of The Beatles: Rock Band, how about I post the new gameplay trailer?

I need this game when I get back from Japan.

Time for Updates!

The Xbox 360 dashboard will be updates on 11 August. New features seem to be their games on demand service, movie parties (think MSTK3000), and an avatar marketplace so you can buy gear for your Mii knockoff.

Grand Theft Advertising

Chicago poked the bear by prohibiting the advertising of games rated M on their public transportation ad spaces while not also prohibiting the advertising of R-rated movies. The suit comes from the ESA who claims that the whole thing defies the first amendment. Nice work getting yourselves in trouble Chicago. Was it really worth it to get rid of GTA IV ads?

Wimbledon and All-Star Starting Rosters [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Jul 8th, 2009 by Dan

It’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

I don’t tend to report on tennis news, but I happened to watch various parts of the Federer/Roddick match on Sunday, so I thought I’d say a few words on it.

It’s worth nothing that this is probably one of the most lopsided rivalries in tennis. In fact, the 2 wins by Roddick (of 21 matches) is so embarrassing I’m sure that he wishes people would stop calling it a rivalry so he wouldn’t have to hear that stat.

Federer was chasing a tennis record hoping to win his 15th Grand Slam title, which would put him just ahead of Pete Sampras’ 14.

Their match was the longest in Wimbledon history with 30 total games played in the fifth set (a record) and 77 sets played total. The match itself lasted a grueling four hours and sixteen minutes, with the final set lasting 95 minutes on its own.

Some are saying it’s the best Wimbledon performance in the history of the sport. I don’t watch enough tennis to have an opinion, but I will admit it was epic.

All-Star Starting Rosters

For the American League we have:

C Joe Mauer (Twins)
1B Mark Teixeira (Yankees)
2B Dustin Pedroia (Red Sox)
3B Evan Longoria (Rays)
SS Derek Jeter (Yankees)
OF Jason Bay (Red Sox)
OF Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners)
OF Josh Hamilton (Rangers)

A strong lineup which leaves almost nothing to complain about. Since coming back from the DL in May, Joe Mauer has been a hitting machine, Teixeira is playing well in NYC and Youkilis would have fit just as well into that spot. Pedroia is always a good choice for 2B and Bay/Suzuki are fantastic outfielders.

Despite the fact that I love this outcome, it’s definitely shocking to see Longoria at third in lieu of Alex Rodriguez. His long injury combined with the steroid allegations seem to have forced him out, which is just fine by me. Jeter is the most popular player in the game, but I don’t think that he’s the best shortstop in the game by any means. He should still hit well, regardless, and I can’t really argue that the younger Hanley Ramirez on the NL squad is that much better defensively. Finally, Josh Hamilton has played only a few games this year thanks to injuries and not all that well. If people would choose based on performance this year instead of last year’s Home Run Derby, we wouldn’t see him on this roster.

and the National League voted in

C Yadier Molina (Cardinals)
1B Albert Pujols (Cardinals)
2B Chase Utley (Phillies)
3B David Wright (Mets)
SS Hanley Ramírez (Marlins)
OF Carlos Beltrán (Mets)
OF Ryan Braun (Brewers)
OF Raúl Ibáñez (Phillies)

The NL manages to make better choices all-around, with the only bad choice being Beltrán and then only because he’s currently injured. Despite the mishaps in the AL lineup, they might actually have a slightly stronger one, considering that David Wright hasn’t been hitting all that well and who Charlie Manuel replaces Beltrán with.

Let’s hope they get it together, because the NL hasn’t won an all-star game outright since 1996. It’s kind of embarrassing.

As I’ve stated a few times already, I’ll be doing a much more live blog than usual, so be prepared for that. The game will be next Tuesday, 14 July, weather permitting, probably around 2000, but the pre-game and broadcast itself is scheduled for 1900. I can’t wait!

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