&t Phil on Games: June 2007 <$BlogMetaData$;

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Editors Choice Award!


God of War: Betrayal just got a 9.0 and an Editors Choice award from IGN.com !!!!!

I know I stated in a previous post that review scores don’t mean as much to me as real player response and fan communities, but MAN does something like this get me excited! This was the highest score our department has ever received from IGN on a mobile game review, and is the highest score I’ve ever received on any game that I’ve produced/designed.

It also appears that God of War will be the last mobile title I’ll produce, as I’ll be shifting my focus back to console development, which is exactly what I want to be doing. As such, I consider God of War: Betrayal to be my gift to the mobile gamers out there as I move onto greener pastures, and a big middle finger to all those haters who thought it couldn’t be done.

Many thanks to the team here at SOE for their hard work, to SCEA Santa Monica for caring and working as closely with us as you did to help make the game special, to Javaground for an outstanding programming and porting effort (your tools and talent kick major ass), and to Wayforward for bringing Kratos and the enemies to life in such spectacular fashion, especially considering you all had to learn an entirely new tool and method of 2D character animation for the game!

I’m still in shock, and giddy with excitement. Yeah, that’s right. Giddy!

And with that, I’m going on vacation in Israel for a couple of weeks ;)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Love my PSP

I was at the game store the other day looking for some PSP games to take with me on vacation, needing to find a quality game to pass the time on the flight across the pond. A teenage couple was in there, and the girl ran up to the PSP on display and thought it was the coolest thing ever. Her idiot boyfriend said, "The PSP is dead. Don't even bother with it." And mumbled something about the Nintendo DS.

I looked over and the girl was obviously disappointed at what her boyfriend told her. She kept holding onto the PSP and stared at it for a bit, then finally followed the guy to some other part of the store. Later I was walking out, after purchasing a couple of titles, and noticed the couple was back hovering over the PSP.

I can understand why some people were turned off by the PSP, but the system is far from dead. If anything, Sony has been slowly ramping up to a second coming of the system. Rumors of a redesign are running rampant, and the recent increase in quality titles, upcoming online downloadable support, a ton of new demos to download, and especially a God of War game show that the system is far from gone. It's true that the DS has outsold it by some crazy number (I think it was a 2 to 1 margin), there's still something like 58 million projected PSP's sold worldwide. That's far from a flop!

I encourage people to look into the device. It's got great games such as Daxter, Killzone, Lumines, Grand Theft Auto, Puzzle Quest, and more. If you throw a 4 gig memory stick into it, you can hold about 8 full length high quality movies on it, and the 8 gig memory stick is out and should be dropping in price soon.You can even surf the web through a wireless network without having to purchase a separate device. The screen is one of the best available on the market, being much larger and clearer than the iPod, iPhone, or Zune. Plus, most of the games are available for $20 or less if you shop online, and the new titles tend to drop in price relatively quickly compared to the consoles. Though the DS has its own strengths, no one can argue that the PSP produces the most amazing handheld gaming graphics and sound available.

I really need to get a DS before Contra 4 comes out, though.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Vatican issues 10 Commandments for drivers


"It urged motorists to obey traffic regulations, drive with a moral sense, and to pray when behind the wheel."

Living in L.A., I can tell you I do at least one of the above every time I get in the car.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Future of Music DJ'ing


This was so awesome I had to double post today. It’s THE most amazing Wiimote hack yet. Watch the entire video; it’s worth it. This is the future of DJ’ing, without a doubt. If you’re impatient, skip ahead until there’s about 4 minutes left on the video to see one of the best examples.

I found this through a post on NintendoWiiFanboy.com.

God of War: Betrayal Website Is Live!

The official website for God of War: Betrayal is finally live! Check out the awesome video that was edited together using some raw footage I captured and passed along to the powers that be. It really shows off the great animation that WayForward put together for the game, and the power of Javaground’s tools. It’s some of the best 2D animation yet for a Mobile game, and certainly the bloodiest.

My own responsibilities for the project are finally winding down, and I am already looking forward to my next project after I get back from vacation in mid-July. God of War: Betrayal is launching very soon, so keep an eye out on your phone’s storefront from now through July.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Flash games on your Wii

I created an offshoot to this blog that contains direct links to the better quality Wii compatible Flash games. That's right, free Flash games on your Wii! Just click on the Wii logo located just under my mugshot, and you'll be brought to my list of Flash games that get the "Phil Seal of Approval" for fun and/or production values.

I just started it, so the list is fairly small right now. Don't be afraid to give them a shot; they are all PC compatible (for those of you that don't have your Wii yet). Let me know if there are any other Flash games you'd like to see added to the list.

Please feel free to share the site with your friends.

Now go get your game on!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Banned


***Naughty language in video***

Modifying your game system to do things it wasn’t meant to has been around for ages. It used to be rooted in the ability to play Japanese games on your US region system, back when a ton of great games were coming out in Japan that never saw the light of day on these shores. It used to be as easy as filing down the plastic tabs in the cartridge slot (Super Nintendo), or filing the edges of the cartridge slot away (Genesis) so that the Japanese cartridges would properly fit into the US system. As the systems became more advanced, and switched from cartridge to disc format, a fundamental shift in system modding took place, and what the focus of these modders was.

Enter the PlayStation in the mid-1990’s, and suddenly it wasn’t as easy to play import games. You had to purchase and install a “mod-chip” inside the system, a much more complex and risky operation than filing away some plastic. However, because of the switch to disc format, and with the abundance of CD burners available on the market, the mod community suddenly had the ability to copy retail versions of the games onto burned discs, Japanese or US! The focus switched from simply making your system able to play legally purchased foreign games, to being able to play games from any region without having to purchase any of them.

Fast forward to the start of the 21st century, and Microsoft opens the floodgates with the release of the first Xbox. It was essentially a Pentium III 733mhz with an Nvidia GeForce 3 graphics card all packed into a fancy game system case… a regular PC in disguise. It even had an over the counter PC hard drive in the thing. Long story short, install the mod chip, install a new hard drive (let’s just say you replace the stock 8 gig drive with a massive 120 gig drive), insert desired game disc, copy game disc to hard drive… free game. It could also do a lot more, including many features that are just now being released as separate devices as full retail products to the public (Apple’s iTV, or whatever it’s called, is a joke… a modified Xbox can do the exact same thing, but supports almost all video codecs, and has been doing so for several years now).

The ease at which people could copy games, and the mass amounts of people that were doing so, alarmed Microsoft and game publishers. Why spend $50 on a game when you could have it for free? The supposed ace up Microsoft’s sleeve was, and still is, Xbox Live. The online gaming platform is such a huge draw, arguable one of the key reasons to own the system, that Microsoft found a way to detect these mod-chips when logging into Xbox Live, and proceeded to ban those accounts from logging in. This effectively turned the community oriented aspects of all games off for those who modded their systems. Of course, the price dropped on the Xbox, so you could just go buy an extra one and not modify it so you could still play your legally purchased games online with others.

Now that the Xbox 360 is out, the mod community discovered a way to hack the system by messing with the DVD drive’s firmware. Update the firmware, and the system would be fooled into playing burned copies of retail games. I’m beginning to notice a similar trend that Microsoft went through with the first Xbox, myself being offered to have my DVD’s firmware updated on a few occasions. I’ll admit it is tempting… free games? Hell yes! Or maybe not. I thought about it for a bit, and realized that Microsoft was just going to do the same exact thing; they would find a way to detect this firmware change and then ban these systems from logging into Xbox Live, which is now an essential part of almost every game to enjoy them fully.

It turns out I was correct. A few weeks ago, Microsoft found a way, and is now banning these systems from playing online. The second Xbox mod-war has begun! I’m sure there is going to be a lot of back and forth with the mod community to get past these detection methods, but I want no part of it this time around (…not to say I was part of it with the first Xbox). So, while others I know are all angry that they can no longer play online with their buddies, I can laugh and still play all the games I want on my 360, at least until it breaks down (again). But that’s for another blog entry.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Earthland Realms

This is a funny clip from a recent Simpsons episode where Marge gets hooked on playing a World of Warcraft style game, only to discover the rest of Springfield is just as addicted. I figured this would compliment my previous post. Enjoy!