Here ye, here ye, The Weekly Geek Court is in session for a gimmicky video game review from a lazy editor. The Right Honorable Judge Mack presiding over the case The Weekly Geek vs. Harvey Birdman: Attorney at law. The charges include game hackery, over-simplicity, and lack of gameplay. Both sides will present their evidence after a brief recess.
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The first episode of the MST3k-alike project Cinematic Titanic Goes on sale tonight. Cinematic Titanic, if you recall, is a collaboration between the original MST3k cast members Joel Hodgson (Joel), Trace Beaulieu (Crow/Dr. Forrester), J Elvis Weinstein (Tom Servo/Dr. Erhardt/Gypsy), as well as later MST3k writer/performers Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl Forrester) and Frank Conniff (TV's Frank). For their first venture they're taking on The Oozing Brain, a cinematic turkey that looks so bad it could even give Manos a run for its money.
If you're an obsessive geek and you can't wait until midnight to get your grubby hard-drives all over the digital downloads, you can check out the hi-res trailer here or head to their webpage for more information. I'm so excited I think I just peed a little!
There's a lot to like about GripShift. Its quirky design aesthetic, the bizarre level design, and the high flying stunt driving. Unfortunately the fun gets bogged down by repetition and a generic racing mode. Originally released for the PSP in 2005, GripShift has made the transition to Live Arcade with a few additions as well as a few things left out. The original game had, according to the website, over 100 levels as well as online multi-player and a level builder. The live version features hi-def graphics as well as some new even more impossible levels and a brand new deathmatch mode. Unfortunately the developers chose to discard the level editor, which would have been a welcome bit of variety.
The Single-Player portion of the game is broken up into Race Mode and Challenge Mode. Challenge Mode is the real meat of the single player campaign and could best be described as a platformer with cars. The missions take the form of increasingly complex obstacle courses that range from incredibly simple to physically impossible. This mode is fun for a while, and every map has three different objectives to accomplish. These objectives are completing the track with a fast finishing time, collecting every star on the map, and finding the hidden GripShift icon. These objectives never change from the first map to the last. It's impossible to accomplish every single objective in one run which means that in order to complete everything you'll have to run the mission several times. At the beginning this isn't really as issue because the maps take about 30 seconds to run. However the later missions can take several minutes to complete which means that it can take up a huge amount of time.
The race mode, in both single and multiplayer, is a rather generic kart racer. Basically the game cribs from Mario Kart in every respect. All the fun off-roading that made the Challenge Mode so much fun is explicitly discouraged. Instead of soaring over the heads of your opponents you'll mostly be trying to blow them up with rockets. Whereas the Challenge portion has a huge variety of quirky maps, the Race portion has only a few rather generic maps. As is often the problem with some Live Arcade titles, whenever I tried to find an online match nobody else seemed to be on. Consequently I wasn't able to try the deathmatch mode, but I've played the rumble mode in Mario Kart, so I'm probably not missing much.
Final Score: 2.5/5 Ultimately the little flaws keep piling up until they overwhelm and strangle the fun out of the game. If you've got too much money and absolutely need to play a new game right now, there are worse ways to spend your money. But you should probably save your points and buy some Rock Band DLC.
A week and a half ago I decided to take the very generous offer that EA had put forth to replace Rock Band Guitars that don't function properly. A co-worker had done it and it had worked well for her so I decided to give it a shot. I went to the Rock Band product support website and registered for a replacement guitar. I decided to take advantage of the Express delivery option. Using this I'd put $125 down as a deposit and then they'd 2-day mail me a guitar. Take the new guitar out of the box, put the old guitar in and send it back with the pre-paid slip. Easy as punch.
Upon completing the registration and inputting my credit card number I was told to wait for the confirmation email. It didn't arrive that day and I got distracted by other things and didn't think about it until a couple days later. I decided to call up the EA technical support hotline (which is impossible to find if you don't have the game manual right there, so that adds 15 minutes to the call time). After waiting on hold and being forced to listen to awful hold music from the Burnout games and Madden I finally got in contact with someone there. He told me that the guitar had been shipped and he gave me a tracking number, a reference number, and an RMA number. I checked the tracking number on the UPS website and it said it was already in town and out for delivery. Great!
The day passes and no truck arrives. I go to the tracking page and it says the package has been delivered to the "mail room" to someone named "Macy". Well great, only we don't have a mail room, and who the hell is Macy. At this point I'm still not panicking because I know that UPS sometimes delivers to the Post Office who then actually take it to the address. I give it another day to arrive. It doesn't.
I call UPS and they say that something has happened and that the local UPS distribution center will call me if they can figure out what happened to it. I call EA and tell them that UPS lost the package and that I'd like a refund on my $125 and for them to send out an empty box for the standard replacement. For some reason the support person's phone keeps cutting out and breaking off and I am disconnected before I can confirm the details. Since I took a break to call him during my work day and I didn't have time to call back I had to hope that everything worked out. Heading back to my computer I saw a new ticket added in on their site and figured it had gone through.
A couple hours later I got a call from the local UPS distribution center. They'd figured out what had happened. Apparently they delivered the guitar to the mail room of one of the dorms on the university campus near my house. They had no explanation for this. They offered to send a driver to retrieve it the next day but I told them I would go pick it up myself. After work a friend and I walked across the campus and went to the mail room and claimed the package (maybe from Macy, I didn't ask).
I packed the old guitar and sent it back and I figured that even with the muddled delivery, that was that. Well the guitar should have arrived by now and I still haven't received my deposit back. On Friday I received a box in the mail from EA games. It's a box for drums. I called technical support Saturday and they told me that they don't have record of the guitar being returned or even sent. Then she told me she was going to escalate the issue.
"I'm going to have a senior customer service person call you tomorrow," she said.
"Why not today?"
"They're not here on weekends."
"So they're going to call me tomorrow."
"Which is a Sunday..."
Right now I'm pretty sure that my $125 is gone for good. I realize that EA games isn't at fault for the delivery but they completely mishandled every point where they were involved. I don't know what to do. Ideas?
Optimus Rhyme have blown the damn doors off every year at PAX and this year was no exception. You can have your MC Frontalots and your MC Chriseses, but I'll take OR in a lyrical battle or a ping pong tournament any day. Here's the song at PAX06 that hooked me for life.
Norton Anti-Virus, no longer content to scan and delete viruses, has decided to start whuppin' a little ass. Enter Norton Fighter, the new Mascot for Norton in Japan. In his first adventure he helps save a business from a supervirus and his minions with the help of a hot lady in a maid outfit and a brainy kid. If that isn't enough to get you to watch this then I don't know what would.
[via Geeks Are Sexy]
The exciting conclusion concludes after the jump!
If you've ever wanted to play online with your humble Weekly Geek staff as well as all your pals from the forums, but you've been too intimidated by the sheer number of accounts you'd have to add, then have we got a surprise for you! Now, by adding the gamertag TheWeeklyGeek to your friends and then using the "View Friends" option included in the last update you'll be mere moments from online gaming bliss.
It couldn't be that simple but it is! Call now! Supplies are limited! Limit one per account!
Who among us hasn't wanted to slip silently across the rooftops over the heads of patrolling guards, slipping a dagger between the ribs of an unsuspecting stranger before disappearing into the crowd. Reasonable, well-adjusted people probably. But since none of them read this website, they won't be a problem. For the rest of us, Assassin's Creed is a game that fulfills all our childhood fantasies of anonymous surreptitious murder.
Lots of talking and not nearly enough stabbing after the jump.
I think we can officially declare that we've arrived in the future. No, they haven't invented the flying car, that's still in the future future. Ray guns? No. Hoverboards? Not yet. Buttons on your chest that make chicken noises? Sadly, this technology is still years off. But what we do have now is a guitar that can tune itself. Yeah! Well I guess when I say that we have it now what I mean to say is that it will be out in 17 days. Which is sort of like now. Kinda. You know what, forget it. The future is later. But still, robot guitar.
After playing David Bowie's Suffragette City Friday on a Rock Band demo unit in a Best Buy that had a hopelessly busted controller, a coworker confessed to me that he spent the whole weekend humming this song to himself. But because he didn't know the words he had to make up your own. "Don't lean on me man 'cause you ain't my kind of chicken." I like that better.
Actually it's been over for a few days now, but I've been holding off on this post until all the details were squared away. The auction has ended and holy crap! A huge thanks to Rob and Meghan A. of Massachusetts, who ended up donating one thousand dollars to Child Play and will be getting a nifty guitar as a side bonus. It's great and amazing and generous, and I'm glad I could be (in a small way) involved in their donation. So far Child's Play has raised over $200,000 in just these few weeks alone! Good work everyone!
If you'd like to donate to the Child's Play charity you can do so through their website here, through PayPal directly here, or if you're in the Seattle area you can donate to the Seattle Children's Hospital specifically through the Amazon list here.
As I sit down to write the review for Switchball, I've been trying to remember what the normal criteria for reviews are here at the Weekly Geek. But for the life of me, I can't remember what they are so I'm just going to wing it and make up my own. Also there will probably be a lot of references to "balls" and statements that might seem funny taken out of context, but I urge you to rise above it.
Synopsis: In Switchball you guide a ball through 36 levels up puzzles. The game gets its name from the little stations throughout the game that allow you to change your ball into another form in order to solve tasks. The majority of the game involves having the right ball for the job and most puzzles involve several different balls.
Neophyte Friendliness: Switchball has an integrated tutorial feature that whisks you through the first couple of levels with frequent hints about all the new objects that your balls will run in to. After a while the messages peter out, but make brief appearances as more things are introduced. The game has plenty of new contraptions to torment you but it doesn't throw them at you faster than you can it. By the time you reach the final stages you should be able to keep your balls away from the various traps and tricks.
Responsiveness: The controls handle pretty well, and are very simple. The left analog moves the ball, the right analog moves the camera, and A is your action button. That's it. Sometimes the heavier balls can feel less responsive, but this is to be expected.
Shininess: Here the game excels. Everything has a nice feel to it. I played the majority of the game zoomed out as far as I could but when I needed to get in close to my balls for more tricky maneuvers, I was not disappointed. However this added graphical detail had a downside...
Frustratingness: Honestly this is one of the more frustrating games I've played this year, but it was never the level design. Unfortunately it was mainly due to the art design. Although beautiful, ornamental polygons caused more than a couple careens off in to the abyss. It's very disheartening to pull off a tricky and complex puzzle only to have to start completely over because your ball took a bad bounce off a little nubby thing on a moving platform near the end. Several times I put the game down for the day because little bits of geometry were making it impossible to progress. Near the end of the game the puzzles become incredibly long, time sensitive ordeals that involve essentially completing the entire level in one go. At one point the game refused to recognize checkpoints that I have to admit that I didn't not complete the last two levels because after my 10th or so try in the second to last I just gave up on it.
Multiplayerosity: I could never connect to a multiplayer game so I can't comment on that portion of it.
Replayability: The game kept me pretty entranced for most of it, but the later levels sapped my energy with the constant restarting of puzzles. I can't say that I would play it often, but it kept me entertained for a few hours.
Worthiness: If you love puzzles and you don't mind a challenge, you can have a lot of fun with Switchball. If you're easily frustrated or low on brainpower I'd save your money.
And remember, if you notice a sudden change in your ball, please see a physician immediately.
Okay, that one was a bit gratuitous.
Score: 3/5 Check out the demo, and if you like it snap it up. Also snap into a Slim Jim™.
When I was a kid my parents were very anti-gun. As a result, I never owned so much as a Nintendo Zapper. I missed out on all the amazing toys of my day. There was no Optimus Prime for little Macky. No Sargent Slaughter's Triple-T Tank for me. No... I'm sorry there's something in my eye.
Just read on before I break down completely.
Much like Chris, I too am obsessed with all things Guitar Hero and Paint It, Black is one of the better ones in the third installment's fantastic soundtrack. Here's a great live version on some show or another. Keith looks like a badass, Mick is petulant, and Brian Jones rocks the fuck out of that sitar. 'Nuff Said.
Just quick update on the auction of this one of a kind geek artifact, there's only one day left and the bidding is already over $500! If you're feeling (at this point extremely) generous please feel free to bid. All proceeds will go to the Child's Play charity.
Welcome to the first installment of what I hope will be a weekly feature here on The Weekly Geek, Sci-Fi Sundays. This week, I’m going to be talking about the 1951 George Pal film When Worlds Collide.
When Worlds Collide opens, oddly, with a short reading from the Bible. The sermon today is apparently about Noah, which is what pastors usually talk about when they’ve got nothing really interesting to preach on. Following the sermon, we’re treated to a narration that informs us that “there are more stars in the sky than humans on Earth.” Gee thanks, narrator, I never would have known that.Help support the site by purchasing When Worlds Collide from our store!
What greeted me was this. What the heck is this? I don't know exactly what to make of it. For starters it makes my old computer ache and strain just to render it. If you click on videos it takes you to a couple clips from the series, which is nice. When you watch the actual animated short that things start to go downhill in a hurry.
Spoiler Alert! The "joke" here is that Crow is riding in a canoe and then he falls out of it when Tom rides by on a jetski. That's it. I just saved you 3 minutes. Use them well.
Now that I've experienced the first salvo in the destruction of my favorite show I feel that, like Fred Gwynne, I too have had a deceased child spring out from under a bed, severing my tendon with a scalpel before slicing a slit across my wide, screaming mouth.
In a purely metaphorical sense.
Need to get caught up? You can find The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 1 (Bloodlust / Catalina Caper / The Creeping Terror / Skydivers) in our store!
I listen to a lot of music at work and I keep coming back to Lou Reed's Transformer, and specifically the quirky "Sattelite of Love." I scoured the tubes for a good live version of it, but I couldn't find one that captured the fun of the album version. The poppy beginning, the weird flute solo in the middle, and the triumphant end.
The video isn't the most visually interesting thing in the world. I guess you can either turn it on while you do other things or spend three minutes and thirty eight seconds staring at Lou Reed in makeup. I'm going to leave that up to you.
Hey, remember back when I was just some schmo freelance writer and I wrote that review of the new Sam and Max games? Heh. That takes me back... But, if for some reason you didn't heed my advice and immediately go out and buy the games, first of all why the hell not? Are you a jerk or something? Jeez. Okay, okay, maybe you were too dang broke to pick up even one measly episode. Well now you can! Telltale Games, in anticipation of the release of the second season, has decided to give away Episode Four: Abe Lincoln Must Die! for free on their website. It's a great game and a good way to get into the series if you haven't already.
And if, after the game, you want to know the whole story you could always pick up a copy of the complete Sam & Max: Season One in the Weekly Geek Store!
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