Sunday, October 23, 2005

XBox 360 Mega-Preview

Greetings everyone, its been a long time since I updated my blog! I'd like to take this opportunity to give you the fans a major preview of the upcoming XBox 360, the first of the Next-Generation game systems, which is coming out November 22nd. Now Im sure you've heard of the 360, and you've probably heard about some of the sweet awesomeness, but Id like to give you some specififcs about the upcoming games, many of these specifics you're probably hearing for the first time, right here.

Let's begin with some titles that are slated to be 'Launch' titles, that is, games that may in fact be out the very same day as the 360 itself (Nov 22nd). Being a man of the people, Id like to start with a title that probably all of you are familiar with, Madden. Madden NFL 06 is indeed scheduled to be out the same day as the 360, and in case you're wondering just how similar it will be to the Madden 06 for the XBox and PS2, I assure you there are profound differences. It is being redesigned in a number of meaningful ways. For one, the voice of John and Al is being replaecd, by a radio-announcer, who will be biased in favor of the home team, giving the game a totally unique flavor right off the bat. Of course the graphics will be markedly superior, but you already knew that, right? :). Personally, due to the NFL 2k series, I havent gotten a Madden game in like, 2 or 3 years, but with no NFL 2k game out this year, and Madden NFL 06 as a Launch title, and looking off the hizzle, Im definitely going to pick this bad boy up on Launch Day.

Of course, the title that is probably the most anticipated Launch Title, maybe the most anticipated game of the YEAR, and the game that has a real chance to be the 2005 Game of the Year, on any game system, if it lives up to the hype, is the sequel to the ultra-popular 'Morrowind' game, titled 'The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion". This game sports graphics never before seen in any RPG (Role Playing Game), it has voice-acting by Wonder Woman herself (Linda Carter) as well as Captain Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), as well as others. Keep in mind that its predecessor Morrowind was arguably the greatest game of all time, when it first came out. Dont be too surprised if this game also captures that title, it will definitely be a game I pick up on Launch Day.

As for a Basketball, I'm looking forward to NBA 2k6, as I am a big fan of the 2k series of basketball as well as football. College Basketball 2k6 is another game I definitely am looking forward to, but no word yet on a release date for that one. The 2k5 version was tons of fun, and I still play it, its super awesome.

There are other games that have gotten a lot of positive press lately, including Perfect Dark Zero, and Kameo: Elements of Power. I dont know yet if these games are the Gladiator's cup of tea, but whether or not they turn out to be games I will pick up, they definitely look like they have real potential to be outstanding, and big hits with the fans.

The Gladiator is a fan of the sport of tennis, and as such I really enjoyed the XBox game Top Spin. I think it was the top selling tennis game of all time, it was very highly rated at the time of its release, so naturally I am planning on picking up Top Spin 2 for the 360 on Launch Day. With an all new lineup of Superstars, this game could be the greatest tennis game of all time.

I could go on for quite a while about the sweet awesomeness that is the XBox 360 and its many, many games, but I would like to close this article by mentioning two upcoming 360 games, neither of which are due out remotely soon, quite frankly its possible that neither game will even be out in 2006, but both are very much in development. The first is a sequel to, interestingly enough, an outstanding Playstation game, Rumble Roses. If you recall, Rumble Roses is an all-women wrestling game, lots of fun, super awesome graphics, interesting storylines, and the sequel will hopefully be even better!

The other game is an action-RPG from Bioware, and if I didnt say another word about it you should already be in eager anticipation :). Bioware, makers of 2003 Game of the Year Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and the very popular 2005 release Jade Empire, both of which were super awesome games, these guys really know what they're doing, and now they have a totally new game they're working on, called 'Mass Effect'. The game has a sci-fi setting, and while the game still has a long way to go until completion (right now it looks like the game will probably be released some time in early to mid 2007), so not too many details are known, the fact remains these guys are at the top of the action-RPG world right now, it seems that everything they touch turns to gold, so Im really excited about this brand new, hot project from Bioware.

Thats all for this mega-preview of the XBox 360, we're less than a month away from Launch, I look forward to continuing to learn more about these and many other games for the 360, I hope you are as excited as I am to get a 360 and enjoy the sweet next-gen awesomenses!!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Video Game Review

I'm sorry I've taken so long between posts. I hope everyone is doing very well! I would like to share with you, the fans, my review of a new game I have played a lot lately. I read a lot about it before I decided to try it for myself. Some sources said that it was extremely awesome, one website gave it a 99 out of 100, another a 5 out of 5. But others said it was only good, not great, giving it a score only in the 80s, out of 100. So who was right? I wanted to judge for myself. So a couple weeks ago I began playing the game, Jade Empire, which was made by Bioware, the makers of the 2003 Game of the Year Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Let me begin by saying that this is indeed a very unique gaming experience. The conversations in the game, between your character and others, are very similar in format to those in KOTOR, in that you very often have multiple choices of things to say, and that can effect the game powerfully in one way or another. This is a tremendous amount of fun, and its a very good thing they kept that. The rest of the game, particularly the combat, is completely different. It is action-based, not turn-based, and it again is just a tremendous amount of fun. For starters, there are a very wide range of styles to choose from, and you can switch during a fight. There are faster and slower styles, and as you might imagine the slower ones are the most powerful. There are close range and long range styles, there are styles that cause status effects instead of damage, etc. There are also quite a lot of fun and interesting 'side-quests' that you can do, which are optional quests you can do if you want to, but dont have to in order to finish the game, and like some other Role Playing Games, the toughest opponent in the game is actually the Arena Champion, which is a totally optiona opponent. But defeating him is very much worth your time and effort, as you obtain his fighting style, which is the best in the game. The Graphics are outstanding, the music is very understated but quite solid, the voice acting is superb. You can, just like in KOTOR, play as a 'good' or 'evil' character, or anywhere in-between, giving the game that extra replayability. All in all, I feel Jade Empire is indeed a great game, and a must have for anyone who owns an XBox.

Friday, January 21, 2005


This is my first Blog posting of 2005. I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year, and I hope this year is even better than 2004, which I hope was awesome for everybody!

Since my last posting, in which I revealed to you, my friends, that I had been named the 2004 Charlotte Chess Club Player of the Year, I have since won the very last CCC tournament of 2005, by a full point over my nearest competitor. And yes, the final game of 2004 was a Newton Sicilian, won by yours truly :).

I look forward to playing in some major tournaments in 2005, and hopefully doing well. As you may know, I beat a major Grandmaster, and drew the then-US Champion. I have also beaten the now-current US Champion, and I hope to one day be able to say that I beat the World Champion also :).

Props and shout outs go to some of my friends who had an amazingly awesome year last year. I would like to start with my friend Hikaru Nakamura, who won the US Championship, after ALMOST winning the World Championship! Clearly he will probably one day become World Champion, he has all the talent that you need to get there, and he has that winning drive that you need to succeed.

Shout out to my friend Tom Rohrbaugh, who landed a SWEEET Managerial job at a Target in Chicago. Big bucks, big title, you earned it, you da man!

Props to my friend Greg Wilder, who is not only an awesome player of Magic the Gathering Tournaments, but also is quite possibly the #1 designer of MTG Decks in all the world today! Way to go dude, you're at the top, and you're still going higher!

Too many of my friends won big bling-bling in the world of poker for me to name each of them, so shout out to all of you, you know who you are, and you rock!!

Here's hoping that 2005 brings us all more success than ever before, and in the case of us single dudes, a really NICE girl too! No more mean girls for the Gladiator or any of his friends! Yay!!