Friday, August 29, 2008

video game boobs: beauty vs. reality

Come on, we're talking about games generally conceived by, developed by, and marketed to dudes 14 to 28. Of COURSE the boobs are going to be more fantasy-like, perky yet ginormous, never constrained by supportive undergarments (see Taki at left). Still, I enjoyed this article I just read from a cool but somewhat defunct site for gamer chicks called GRRLGAMER that explored the fascination with huge bouncing breasts in many video game titles. You can read the full article here- Got Boobs? Breast Physics in Video Games.
"Now, I don't know about the rest of you, and I can appreciate the female body too, but how do large boobs and their physics contribute to a good game? The time developers spend creating exaggerated breast physics could be spend working out playability issues, better controls and even plot details."
Hmmmm. I guess most of the games I play are not really the big-titted kind, so maybe that's why I generally have few complaints about playability, control or plot :D

Thursday, August 28, 2008

loving my wii fit thus far

Seriously, the Wii Fit is really great. I am still thrilled that I managed to get mine from which, regardless of how crap the service in-store may be, has always served me well and got my Fit here in 2 days instead of the 5 to 10 predicted. I've been having a great time on it so far and it really seems like the kind of thing that can be maintained on a regular basis without too much effort. I looove the hula-hooping aerobics games and have also taken a liking to the skiing and snowboarding balance games, which are perfectly suited to the Fit's balance board, which I must say is pretty damn sensitive. It's easy to unlock new stuff to do and the yoga and strength exercises are great with the Fit's center of balance tracking system. And if, like me, you love seeing the Nintendo Miis all over the place, the Fit will not disappoint - they chuck hula hoops at you, kick soccer balls at your head, and go on jogs through the park with you. I'm curious now to try some other games that utilize the board, like We Ski. Overall, two thumbs up and a strong recommendation to anyone looking for fun living room fitness!

sims 2 apartment life

So I picked up the new (and final) Sims expansion yesterday and have been enjoying it so far. I've heard mixed reviews including that the magic element being introduced was the main new addition to the game, and that living in apartments didn't seem to change much. Personally I'm not too interested in the magic and haven't really found that it's being forced down my throat or anything. I'll probably try it eventually but for now I'm enjoying the apartment living format, having multiple separate families all living on one lot. I always thought the dorm setup in University was pretty great and I wished there were some way to make dorms as apartments in main hoods. So, for me, adding apartments is a great thing. Also, I think EA has done a nice job of wrapping up the Sims 2 and providing some things that the online community has been wanting. Spiral stairs, ceilings and more toddler/baby interactions come to mind. I've only noticed a couple of little bugs so far but that's pretty par for the course with EA at the helm, and I'm sure a patch will be released soon enough.

a sensitive, thinking game for x-box?

Awha?? Just kidding, I'm sure there are many titles out there for X-Box that make you think. But I just recently heard about this one, Braid, on NPR (my fave, especially when they cover video games). The guy who designed it said he made it for himself rather than for any target audience, and apparently as a result the game is really beautiful and deep. The main character is trying to figure out his own psyche after a bad breakup, I guess? Each level that is completed leads to more introspective exploration, rather than collecting trophies or killing bad guys. If I ever have a chance I would love to give this game a try. Really, it surprises me that it's an X-Box game because it looks more like a high-tech internet flash game.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

sims 3 release date announced

EA has announced February 20, 2009 as its big release date for the Sims 3. You can read the official press release, which describes what sounds like a very cool Collector's Edition (plumbob USB drive with matching carabiner? I am SO THERE) as well as a few of the key aspects of the game itself. I'm on the VIP mailing list so I hope they keep coming out with sweet updates for us devoted addicts.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Earlier this summer, I vowed that I would treat myself to a Wii Fit once I was done with the summer job. This morning, I fulfilled that dream and found one using this Wii Fit tracker - very useful if you're looking. I'm going away this weekend but it should be arriving sometime next week; I cannot wait to get my butt onto this thing and try it out. I'm a big fan of exercising that can be done in the living room in one's underwear so I'm all about this.

who says cute games don't have mass appeal?

The release date of SPORE is just around the corner and the internet is all abuzz with previews and more about the long-anticipated game. Well I was poking around YouTube this morning (OK, I was watching my own videos, I admit it) and happened across the Spore Creature Creator Dance Off Contest at their channel. Some of these videos are really hilarious and others are just downright adorable. I missed out on scoring the Creature Creator when GameStop had a deal on it but I'm going to try out the trial and see if it's worth picking up the full version later on.

In the meantime, the SPORE website is really fantastic and just spending a few minutes there, you can get an instant preview of what looks to be a really diverse selection of body parts and body types. They have a cute fat blue blob thing that sprouts pink feathers, and I just spotted what looks like a pink "brain ball" with big orange eyes and little red legs. Too weird, and I can't wait to get this installed! Spore will be shipping out September 7, so until then at least I can practice making crazy creatures and maybe even post some on YouTube.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

pretty weird, but cool

Check out this video promoting 3D facial animation company Image Metrics. Using video of real actors and actresses this company is developing more and more advanced human facial portrayal, and it turns out that "Emily" in the video is actually an example herself of the work they do. Very cool and very weird, and makes me want to learn more about the "Uncanny Valley" theory, which states that animated human faces or robotic facsimiles look less and less real the more and more "realistic" they get.

chicks and old folks the new driving force in gaming

LA based "intelligence group" (??) IBISWorld has released a report claiming that 38 percent of US gamers are women (up 5% in the last five years), the average player is 35 years old, and 24 percent of gamers are over 50. Love it! I think it's a great testament to how awesome video gaming really is - it isn't something that you only like when you're an idiot young person (unlike, for example, drinking yourself stupid and bragging about it). The report attributes most of these new-market growths to "interactive group games" such as the Sims, new Wii titles (see photo above - old people and especially old chicks love the Wii!), and games specifically targeted at younger girls, like Dora the Explorer and Bratz titles.

I agree with some out there though that this info hardly seems like anything groundbreaking. The remaining issue seems to be the persistent desire by gaming companies to score the next holy grail of guy gaming like Madden and other EA sports franchises, war games and other more narrowly marketed titles. I agree with blogger Matt Peckham at PC World:

"Question is, will the gaming press -- still largely composed of writers who think about an action-RPG like Too Human as a sprawling event, but a puzzle game like Bejeweled with over 10 million copies sold as just some daftly amusing little time sink -- get off its duff and step up to cover in proportion these other demographics as well?"

first attempt at embedding a youtube video...

So I may have mentioned that in the last year, I've expanded my love of the Sims into making movies using the in-game camera and Windows' super simple Movie Maker software. I also started posting them on YouTube, and have found some mild success, mostly with my first movie ever, a Sims 2 portrayal of "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah", the novelty hit record by Tracy Jordan, Tracy Morgan's hilarious character on NBC's 30 Rock. My video has just cracked 7,500 views, which I am pretty damn proud of! And, after 59 ratings, it still has a 5 star rating which warms my heart. The production isn't slick but I laugh every time I watch this, and considering I made it, I feel like that says a lot. Hope this embedding works - if so, I'll totally put the rest of my vids up here eventually. In the meantime, you can view them all on my YouTube channel.

finally, some time for what's important in life

After a hiatus for the last few weeks in order to finish my grueling outdoor summer job, I'm done with my contract and am ready to kick back with some delicious Dunkin Donuts iced coffee (coconut flavor, with skim milk and splenda) and enjoy the splendor of my electronic entertainment once again. I've got two new games coming out in the next weeks - Apartment Life, the next (and presumed last before the Sims 3!) EP of the Sims 2, and of course SPORE, highly anticipated evolutionary artificial intelligence!

In the meantime, I've rekindled my love for bashing the hell out of my friends and loved ones in Nintendo's smash hit (see what I did there? Get it, smash? har har) for the Wii, Super Smash Brothers Brawl. I really missed my Wii when I had no time to be playing; it's just so friendly and welcoming, you feel a little guilty when you don't turn it on for three months! Now, I usually think female characters in games can be a bit ridiculous, like, I don't necessarily want to play with some chick whose only clothing is thin metallic straps covering her various lady parts. Smash Bros. makes good on its female characters - not that it's hard when they are drawing from an incredibly rich pool of characters from the various Nintendo and other games - Metroid's Samus and Twilight Princess's Sheik/Zelda combo come to mind, for example. Personally though, my ultimate fave will always be Princess Peach, who I had come to love using in MarioKart 64 so very long ago.

If you are a girl and you are being pressured by your guy friends into playing Smash Brothers Brawl... DO IT! Do it, seriously. It's really, really fun. Use Peach - she is totally awesome and honestly, I have always been one to subscribe to the button mashing technique when it comes to fighting games, and Peach's moves make this strategy totally worth your while (especially when playing against your boyfriend who is a Smash Bros junkie and likes to use the big, mean, cheap-ass characters like Snake, Captain Falcon and King Dedede!). Say it with me: Ha-CHA! Ha-CHA!

Also, how cool is the SmashWiki from wikia gaming? I love the Did You Know? section, because no, I did not know that Yoshi's egg roll will negate the Falcon Punch if the two moves collide.