Thursday, December 25, 2008

come on, microsoft, you can do better than this

Season's greetings from Emdroid! I hope everyone out there is having a wonderful Christmas/holiday season of choice and may it be filled with gaming. And now it's time for a Christmas guest appearance from... *drumroll* ScottBot! It takes some real stupid stuff to get him this riled up so hopefully he'll contribute more often now. Without further ado...

Xbox360 comes with wrong power cord: Merry Christmas! by ScottBot

I bought my little brother a 20gb Xbox360 pro new in the box from a co-worker several weeks ago. When he opened it today we never even got to plug it in. Upon going to do so, we found that the power supply had a curious black nib in the middle of the 6 pin setup which completely blocked the supplied power cord from plugging in.

It appears that the fine folks at Microsoft dropped the ball in a pretty big way as this is a more common problem than we had first thought. Many others seem to have this problem as well...

There are two different versions of the power supply/power cord setup on the Xbox360, the “2-pronged”, and the “3-pronged”. Ours came with the former while needing the latter.

We called Microsoft tech support, and after about 45 min. on the phone we are being shipped the correct power cord for our unit’s power supply. Still… totally lame, Microsoft.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

a strategy guide worth getting

Normally I am content to go online for any walkthrough or item locations I might need to look up, but I do occasionally pick up the official strategy guide for certain games. Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility for the Wii is definitely one of them! Considering the vast amount of recipe ingredient combination options plus all the different produce values, not to mention all the villagers and their various likes and dislikes. I picked up the Bradygames guide to this game the other night and it has been a pretty invaluable resource, especially thanks to the nice full-color lists and concept art throughout. Typically, the guide is full of grammatical travesties but also contains a trove of useful information for this incredibly deep game.

high five for ds puzzle games

The DS has such a great selection of games that appeal to my love of puzzles and brainteasers. Lately I've been loving Crosswords DS, which gives you literally hundreds of puzzles in crossword, wordsearch and "anagram" (more like Text Twist) formats that are of varying degrees of difficulty. The interface is easy to use and works perfectly with the stylus and holding the DS like a book sideways. Next I am going to try out the USA Today Crossword Challenge. Best part about these puzzle games for the DS is they tend to be on the cheap side due to not being Pokemon-related! So, a benefit for gamers with slightly more mature interests.

fable 2 is great

I've logged many hours in Fable II now and am enjoying it quite a lot. I've almost stopped accidentally using my force push attack when I mean to be opening the menu (my fingers still think I'm playing Oblivion) and I even got married! I also have gotten very good at fighting and shooting stuff as well as earning hella gold by bartending, chopping wood and forging blades at the blacksmith. I'm doing my best to not advance through the game too quickly but the main plot is very cool as well so I'm enjoying doing side quests as well as primary ones. My character is very attractive and well-outfitted but unfortunately is all scarred up from her battling so I'm trying to figure out what to do with that. Anyway, Fable II rocks the heezy and definitely gets two thumbs up from me. If you want a fun and beautiful RPG that's a little less numbers-oriented, pick this up today.

prepare to be amazed

Dude. Parrots can play Tom Clancy's EndWar. What this video lacks in newness it makes up for in total awesomeness. Winner gets a back rub!

Monday, December 22, 2008

and that's why you don't rush games to market

I was looking forward to Rise of the Argonauts but now that full reviews are out it seems like it might be a bit disappointing to say the least. While the graphics may look great and the story is compelling, the combat system apparently falls short and anyone looking for an RPG will be disappointed in the lack of number systems available for customization. And apparently the dialogue is too lengthy and serves to take up much of the time spent playing. Also, if the category you score highest in is Sound, you know you didn't put enough time into developing your game.
With a storyline and characters rooted firmly in Greek mythology, there's an element for those who know or admire the Classics to enjoy. The problem is how the game's put together – so much has been stripped from what we traditionally think of as an RPG and an action game that the result feels like an awkward, neutered hybrid bloated by hours and hours of static dialogue sequences. Add a sloppy combat system in which the most basic moves serve you well all game long and some serious framerate issues, and the result is a frustratingly limited product that, even as it weaves an interesting tale of deceit and betrayal, fails to rise above the compromises made for its hybrid design.
IGN: Rise of the Argonauts Review

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a preview of future wii and ds titles

Well, not all of these are technically "future" but some of them still have yet to make their way across the Pacific so I think this list of the top selling games in Japan for last week is pretty telling of what we can expect as hot sellers. Considering the year the Wii had it's a welcome sight to see that the top 10 is entirely made up of DS and Wii titles! Check them out:

1. Taiko no Tatsujin Wii (Wii)
2. Animal Crossing: City Folk (Wii)
3. Hoshi no Kirby: Ultra Super Deluxe (DS)
4. Wagamama Fashion Girls Mode (DS)
5. Penguin no Mondai: Saikyou Penguin Densetsu (DS)
6. Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel (DS)
7. Pokemon Platinum (DS)
8. Rhythm Tengoku Gold (DS)
9. Wii Fit (Wii)
10. Mario Kart Wii (Wii)

Okay, so most of them are DS titles and we know how much the Japanese love their handhelds. And of course Wii Fit is on there. Personally, I'm most intrigued by #6 and will certainly pick that one up if it makes its way over here!

Nintendo platforms ace Japan top ten

WoW players not so in demand

Hah! I knew there was a good reason not to play World of Warcraft. Apparently there are some job recruiters out there who worry that WoW players don't make good employees because they are focused elsewhere and have terrible sleeping habits. Hah again, and, true.
There is a counter-theory that playing WOW - specifically, leading an active guild, which can involve some tricky management of people and time - makes for great employment experience, but the recruiter was having none of it.

"I mentioned that some people have written about MMOG leadership experience as a career positive or a way to learn project management skills, and he shook his head. He has been specifically asked to avoid WOW players," the poster said.
Employers Screening World of Warcraft Players?

rock band 2 out today

Today sees the launch for Wii and PS2 of Rock Band 2, the highly anticipated sequel that managed to be released before the end of the holiday season this year. It's a Christmas miracle! IGN loves the game and especially highlights it as a triumph for the Wii, on which it is no different than the other consoles as far as gameplay features and with only slightly lower resolution. Kinda sounds like you might be better off buying World Tour for its instruments though - everything I've heard indicates higher quality on the Guitar Hero side.
Rock Band 2 for Wii fixes every problem the original game had on the system and even adds pleasant new features. Aside from a little less detail in the visuals, this is identical to what Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 players have been playing since September. It's a more user-friendly experience, simultaneously more challenging for the hardcore and more accessible for casuals.
IGN: Rock Band 2 Special Edition for Wii

movin' on up to hard!

We've been rocking out a lot lately (also known as playing Guitar Hero) and have just started transitioning from Medium to Hard. Some of those songs are, to use scientific terminology, redonkulously hard. Some day I will conquer Carry On Wayward Son but until then I've been doing okay. Like many others before me I even made a video of myself doing Possum Kingdom. Of course I had to pick one of the 5+ minute songs and I'm still far from competent but I am doing much better in Hard than I would have guessed. Expert is still far, far off in the distance, for now anyway.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the top 7 games you don't want for christmas

To anyone who needs another site to waste time on reading about games, don't forget I've gotten really into their funny lists and articles lately, and here's a great one: The Top 7... Games you don't want for Christmas. Here's their entry for Jumper: Griffin's Story:
Games based on movies are almost always awful. But because of its ridiculously short length, clumsy combat system and fugly graphics, Jumper: Griffin’s Story wins our award for the worst movie-based game of the year. It’s so terrible, that we can almost admire how Jumper manages to succeed at sucking so hard. Almost.

IGN's best DS games of 08

IGN has begun to announce their Best of 08 awards and the DS category is one of the first to appear on the site. At the top of the category is The World Ends With You, a Square Enix action RPG which took home IGN's DS Game of the Year. Check out the rest of the DS category awards here: IGN Top DS Games of 08.

Monday, December 15, 2008

age of empires: mythologies

My boyfriend's lovely mother already bought me Personal Trainer: Cooking for my birthday and insisted on getting me another game for Christmas so I decided to go with Age of Empires: Mythologies for the Nintendo DS. I have always loved the PC game Age of Mythology and I have a feeling I'm going to get quickly addicted to this DS title. It gets a pretty awesome 8.6 on IGN; check out the full review and scoring here. The main difference between the PC and DS versions apparently is a turn-based system of actions but I think I can be okay with that as long as the campaigns are fun and the game's controls are good. More review to follow once I've actually played more than just tutorials.

fable 2 seems promising

I'm always a little behind the times on newer games and Fable 2 was no exception but I finally got around to starting a character this weekend. Sidenote: GameStop's buy 2 get 1 free on used games this weekend combined with a bonus employee discount was a dangerous, dangerous thing! But actually in addition to scoring another new DS game and some presents for others we picked up Fable 2, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and a few other titles for ourselves. Anyhoo, Fable is enjoyable so far and I'm liking some of the differences between it and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I also loooove the dog companion, of course. I've been told that to truly enjoy this game you have to take time to smell the roses so to speak and really experience every available activity in addition to working through the main quest. That's pretty much my thing in games anyway (there's a reason why I've put 50+ hours into Oblivion and haven't advanced all that far in the main quest) so I think I will enjoy this game.

Friday, December 12, 2008

looking for a ds for the special woman in your life?

Daughter, wife, girlfriend, sister, mother, aunt, friend, whoever! If you have an awesome chick in your life who wants a Nintendo DS this holiday season, consider the Limited Edition Pink Ribbon DS Lite. Same price as the normal Lite but $5 from each unit sold gets donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. I know it's not October anymore but breast cancer does exist year-round and it's a great cause to support with video game dollars!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

rise of the argonauts

Slated for release next Tuesday, Rise of the Argonauts looks to be pretty badass. I love the incorporation of gods as moral drivers to shape your character in what will hopefully be a solid RPG on par with the many big releases of 2008. Check out the cool depiction of Pan to the left. Also if you're a fan of epics, the soundtrack is apparently done by the same guy who did the music for 300.
An epic scale action-RPG, Rise of the Argonauts immerses gamers in a gladiatorial adventure set in wondrously imagined vision of ancient Greece. With deep exploration and epic quests, players live a life of brutal combat as they lead a team of iconic warriors -- including Jason, Hercules and Atalanta-- through a world ruled by mythological gods.

just a few more months til sims 3!

I'm so psyched. IGN has some awesome Sims 3 trailers up that show the versatility of the new game and its open environment. I love the Sims so much, just wanted to reiterate that, and the team behind Sims 3 seems to be really putting care and effort into this title. Anyway check out these vids:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

hilarious celebrity xbox avatars

The good folks at have too much time on their hands and have created a wealth of wonderful celebrity and game-character Xbox Live avatars. Check out the first collection here and then view the even more amazing second collection here. There are tons of awesome ones with some pretty spot-on detail included (Niko from GTA IV, Travis from No More Heroes and Gordon from Half-Life are especially good) but one of my faves is Chuck Norris pictured at left, complete with Canadian tuxedo.

japan's top 5 ps3 sellers

It's no secret that despite slumping numbers in the US the Playstation 3 and PSP dominate the Asian video game market. Here's the top 5 best-selling PS3 games in Japan:

1. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (sold 671,706 units)
2. Minna no Golf 5 [Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds] (408,175)
3. Shin Sangoku Musou 5 [Dynasty Warriors 6] (371,443)
And now you know what to buy your Japanese PS3-loving friends for Christmas, assuming they don't already have every title on the list. I couldn't find any pictures of Japanese people dressed up as PS3 controllers so here's one of a dude dressed like a Wiimote.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

oh my god this shiz looks awesome

I may have to break habit and actually play Resident Evil 5 myself just because it looks sooo cool. Who am I kidding, I will probably just watch my boyfriend play. Still, it looks totally amazing. The Africa setting looks to provide a unique and new backdrop for zombie strife and the zombification looks scary as hell. Check out this E3 trailer and also the links below for some awesome IGN HD preview vids from the Japanese PS3 demo of the game:

halo wars release date announced

After preliminary date announcements this month Microsoft has confirmed a date for its next huge cash-cow release, Halo Wars. The new title in the ridiculously popular franchise will hit stores in America on March 3rd, 2009. Apparently this falls just short of the originally predicted date of February 2009. Asian, African and European countries will see the game drop a few days earlier. Microsoft also took the opportunity to remind everyone that the Special Edition for $79.99 will come with all sorts of awesome bonus goodies, as special editions usually do. I can only imagine that the North American launch of this game will see epic numbers of attendees, even if some of them will have already somehow managed to play imported versions of the game, as per some reader comments. Also, 1-Up has a fairly in-depth preview section of the game for anyone looking to learn more.

Halo Wars Arrives on March 3rd 09: News from

50 worst video game titles ever

I love lists. There was a great one in this month's Game Informer of the top 10 worst game character names ever (The list included such witty classics as Miles "Tails" Prower and Shoot Gunner). Here's another enjoyable one: The 50 Worst Video Game Names Ever. The list includes hilarious contenders such as Nuts & Milk, Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja and If It Moves, Shoot It. My favorite? Awesome Possum Kicks Dr. Machino's Butt!:
Fun fact: This is one of the first games to actually use digitized voice. Not so fun fact: Here's a dialogue snippet:
Awesome Possum
: "I'm awesome!"
Dr. Machino: "You’re not so awesome!"

You got that right.

Monday, December 8, 2008

fine decor in our apartment

Click picture at left for full size view of my newest wall decoration, a life-size Fallout 3 Vault Dweller. I think it really adds a woman's touch, don't you think?

two thumbs up for personal trainer: cooking

We've all seen the Lisa Kudrow commercial many times by now but I am glad that I took an interest in Personal Trainer: Cooking for the DS because I received it as a gift for my birthday. It seems totally awesome so far - I haven't actually cooked anything yet because I am not home very often at mealtimes but I have big plans! There are 245 recipes in total from a wide variety of countries and a range of ingredients to suit any taste. The interface is easy to use and I love the shopping list function that lets you check off ingredients you need for certain recipes as you go shopping. Seems like a pretty comprehensive cooking tool that I hope will allow me to widen my culinary horizons and make some crazy French dish or something.

mystery case files: million heir

I just picked up Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir and have been enjoying it so far. I've been really happy with all the DS games I've tried and this one is no exception. It's very challenging and has a fun I-Spy feel to it. The number of random objects crowded into each scene seems to indicate a high level of replayability and the music is enjoyable, as are the artful graphics. If you're not into puzzle games you'd probably hate it but I love puzzle games, so there you go.

Friday, December 5, 2008

introducing paranoid emdroid recommends

I mention a lot of products here so I figured I might as well add them to an a-store and cash in. Lots of stuff that guy and girl gamers alike will enjoy. From now on you'll see featured games and other products related to stuff I've been talking about in a box on the right. So if you have a minute check out all of my awesome recommendations (not just games but books and movies as well!) and buy them as gifts for your loved ones. Or for yourself.

nazi zombies!

My favorite buzzword these days. Nazi zombies! Actually though it is totally awesome how zombies are errrvrywhere when it comes to video games these days. Call of Duty: World at War of course features the infamous Nazi zombies while other titles like Dead Space, Dead Rising and Left 4 Dead (more creatively titled games to follow in 2009) have brought the drooling and infectious monsters to the spotlight this year. Survival horror is a truly wonderful shooter genre and has given rise to some amazing games over the years so I'm glad that it remains a strong driver of new games for developers. Also, Hollywood? Make these games into awesome movies, srsly.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

this is ridiculously cute

I love cute games but I think this one might send even me into fits of cute-abetic shock with its sweet adorableness. The Tale of Despereaux is apparently a new animated movie featuring a brave little mouse that doesn't know fear and wants to be a hero... I guess? Sounds as likely as a rat that wants to prepare delicious fine cuisine but then again that one was actually pretty awesome. Anyway, of course the Tale of Despereaux is already a video game for pretty much every system (DS, Wii, PS2, PC and Xbox 360, so actually, everything except PS3 and PSP). I may have to try this one just for the cute factor as the little mouse's ears really remind me a lot of my baby ferret Oscar, who has huge floppy ears himself.

one guy's top ten best games of 2008 list

I don't necessarily agree with all of this dude's choices for the top 10 games of this year but I do appreciate his nod to Fallout 3 and also his description of Little Big Planet, which just makes me even sadder that this game is a PS3 exclusive. Damn you, Sony!! *fist shake*:
From the brilliant opening-credits sequence to the physics-centric game engine to the clever puzzles and cooperative gameplay, LittleBigPlanet shows what happens when you mix carefully devised original game design with a commitment to fun. The most significant aspect of the game is that players can create their own levels to share with the world. While it’s not the first game to offer this feature, LittleBigPlanet makes the process so simple, provides so many options and threads the process into the single-player game so seamlessly that it opens up game design to anyone with a little imagination and a lot of time.
The Best Video Games of 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

xbox 360 pwned the ps3 this black friday

Microsoft is having a great time rolling around on top of its piles and piles of money after announcing surprisingly successful Black Friday sales performances. The 360 outsold the PlayStation 3 at a 3-to-1 ratio and increased its overall sales 25% over last year's numbers. Also the 360 maintains the highest "game attach rate" of any console at 8:1, meaning each system gets an average of 8 games purchased for it. Best-selling titles included Gears of War 2, Fable II and Lips.
“We entered into the Black Friday sales period with cautious optimism, knowing that dollar for dollar, Xbox 360 offers more social entertainment value than any other console on the market,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Record Black Friday sales in the U.S., coupled with our existing global install base of 25 million and an online community of more than 14 million Xbox LIVE members, have laid the groundwork for continued global sales momentum in 2009.”
Xbox 360's biggest black friday sales ever

professor layton & the curious village

I'm seriously loving my DS so far and am on the lookout for great games to try, the first of which has been Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Billed as a 'point-and-click adventure', the point is to solve a series of brainteaser puzzles that advance you through the plotline. Games like this are totally up my alley and the 2-D point-and-click nature of it really reminds me of old favorites like Gabriel Knight 2: The Beast Within. Professor Layton is also a great game just to look at as it incorporates a simple anime-type style of characters into a landscape with beautiful muted coloring and artful scenery. The music has been enjoyable as well and of course the best part are the puzzles. I am a lifelong puzzle enthusiast and can boast proudly of my Scrabble champion father and crossword-puzzle-writing (including for the New York Times) grandfather. I've felt sufficiently challenged by many of them so far and the way it lets you answer after having submitted incorrect answers for a reduced point prize is an infuriating motivator to check your answers and think through each puzzle completely. This is a great game to try if you see the DS as an opportunity for brain exercise rather than just pure gaming (or to feed your Pokemon addiction).

Monday, December 1, 2008

ign's 15 weirdest ds games

IGN has a great feature on wack-ass games for the Nintendo DS including a trippy Wizard of Oz adventure, "witch-touching" and many more. Oh, also, Touch DIC. The top weird game in their eyes though is Wine no Hajimekata, or Wine Tasting DS:
The company best known for its role-playing games came out with its own take on Sommelier, publishing Wine no Hajimekata DS later in 2007 -- and it shipped with an actual bottle of wine. Really, actual alcohol was sold bundled with a Nintendo game. If you try to tell me there's a more bizarre idea than that out there, you're crazy. The wine-included bundle was limited to the first 1,000 copies sold, and included a bottle of the French red, Dourthe No. 1. But Square Enix later followed up with an additional promotion for the game, offering a bonus bottle of Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon (Devil's Wine) to registered Square Enix community members. Insane.

another excuse to get more games

I got a Nintendo DS lite! And not just any DS but in fact the Brain Age limited edition ice blue DS lite! It actually comes with the game plus a sweet protective case and an extra matching stylus. This post could also be titled "best boyfriend ever" as the DS was an early birthday present from him and he rocks. So now I've got Mario Kart and of course Brain Age, which is really fun and turns out to basically be Wii Fit for your brain. It even seems to have the same feature of harassing you if you don't get on it every day. So far I love the low-to-high test and also the number crunching. My brain could use a kick into high gear so I think this will be a nice complement to the Fit.