Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays from Treasure Bin!

I hope everyone is having a great break this weekend, I'll be returning after the new year with more content.  I've got two fantastic rants lined up, as well as two more Top 5 lists that I'm sure you'll get a kick out of.  Stay tuned after the 1st!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review: Split/Second

Genre: Racing
Players: 1-2(local), 2-8 (Online)
Rating: E10+ (Violence)
Price: $5.99-$19.99

My dad has been a gear head for as long as I can remember.  When I was three years old, I'd help him with oil changes on the cars.  Back when I was in high school, we'd race in Gran Turismo 2 on the PS1 whenever we'd get the chance.  We'd play Burnout when I was in college.  After the Burnout Paradise came and went from my radar screen, I was left looking for something to fill that void.  Hello, Split/Second!  What sort of crazy madness can you show me today?  Evidently, quite a bit.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Top 5 Video Game Openings that Tell you Nothing About the Game you're Playing

I'm starting up something new now:  I liked writing that 5 Wii Games article, and there's enough content I can do to warrant adding an extra article each week.  So, this one will be every other Thursday, for starters.  If I can keep it up, it will become a weekly column here.  So anyways, to start this blog off, here's:

Top 5 Video Game Cinematics that Tell you Nothing About the Game you're Playing

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Review: Legend of Mana

Genre: RPG
Year Released: 2000
Rating: T for Teen (Mild Animated Violence, Suggestive Themes)
Players: 1-2
Price: $25+ (PS1), $10 (PSN)

Back when I was in high school, I had a good friend that had a copy of this game.  We played the dickens out of it, and when I found out that it's available on the Playstation Network, I figured a review of this cult hit is in order.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Feature! Quick Links to Amazon!

I've set up a widget on the side of my blog, with quick links to all the games I've reviewed.  From here on, I will also include a link in the review.  You may now return with your regularly scheduled life.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Platform: Wii
Rating: M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Sexual Themes, Strong Language)
Players: 1-2
Price: $9.99 new

Now here's a game that feels dramatically out of place on a "family friendly" console.  Gratuitous violence, profane language, and silly over-the-top gameplay, all in one package.  Put the kids to bed, it's time for the REAL action to start!

Monday, November 21, 2011

EA's forum ban policy: How much is too much?

EA, what happened to you?
There's an article over on GamePolitics that talks about EA's Origin service and how people banned from the forums are subsequently unable to play the games they paid for.  After reading the comments and linked articles, there's a few sticky topics that I want to pick apart.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Review: Nyko Zoom (Kinect)

I really was not planning on doing review on accessories on this blog, but I really feel compelled to write about this one after personal use and success.  This won't be a regular occurrence, just this once.

E3 Display showing off the box art
Accessory for: Microsoft Kinect (xbox 360)
Maker: Nyko
Cost: $29.99

Back at E3, Nyko announced a fish eye lens attachment for the Kinect called the Nyko Zoom.  Me, being 6'5" (~197cm) and all, knew that if something like this worked, it'd be a must-have add-on for the Kinect.  I pestered my manager at Gamestop about this product for at least a month or so, and I think he was relieved to have me off his case.

Monday, November 7, 2011

GTA 5 to ship 6/12/2012

According to Wal-Mart's product page, Grand Theft Auto Five (supposedly) will ship on June 12, 2012 in the United States.  A quick search of the ESRB website shows no records of a Grand Theft Auto 5, and the US Patent and Trademark Office shows no registered Trademark for the Grand Theft Auto 5 name, either.
I dunno about you, but I'm going to chalk this one up to rumor.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ooga Booga Booga!

Halloween always gets people in a mood to soil their trousers.  Everybody and their mother tries to capitalize on this season, and game companies are no exception.  The survival horror genre has been around since the original nintendo era, but I feel that the genre as a whole is in need of a spark of life, a la Frankenstein.
Or this guy.  He's scary enough.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Digital Rights Management is ruining my gaming experience

So, I spent a good half an hour installing Batman Arkham Asylum on my PC, fully intending to get a head start before running off to work today.  What with Arkham City just around the corner, I figured it was worthwhile to brush up on the happenings prior.  Well...that didn't exactly happen.  Thanks to some wonderful software included with the game called "SecuROM," it's not working for me.  I had installed this game over a year ago, and had no issues whatsoever.  One system upgrade later, and I'm left in a frustrated heap, rocking back and forth and muttering incoherently.  There are right ways to do DRM, and there are wrong ways.  Honestly, there must be something better than this.

DISCLAIMER:  Before people start accusing me of being anti-DRM, I just want to say for the record that I'm opposed to DRM which excessively restricts the games I pay for.   I'll elaborate on this later on, but I figured it'd be good to get this out of the way now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: Batman Arkham City

Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC (Available 11/15)
Rating: Teen (Alcohol Reference, Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco, Violence)
Reviewed on: Xbox 360

RockSteady software have built themselves a solid reputation over the years.  They basically stepped into the gaming scene with Arkham Asylum, and made a huge splash.  Two years later, they release the asylum's sequel, Batman Arkham City.  I've spent the past week in this game, and let me say that the Game of the Year options this year are going to be tough to decide.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

First Impressions: Batman Arkham City

This is not going to be a final review, just my first impressions from playing the game.  I will have a more thorough review when I'm done with the game.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Review: Assassin's Creed

With Assassin's Creed: Revelations on the horizon, I figured I'd go back and review the original.  Even better, my girlfriend, Opp1123, has volunteered to write this review for me.  So without further ado, take it away, hon!

Publisher: Ubisoft
Rating: Mature
Content: blood, strong language, and violence
System(s) Compatible: Windows PC, Playstation 3, XBox360

I had initially become interested in playing Assassin's Creed when Brotherhood had come out but due to lack of compatible systems I was unable to play. The ease of getting into the controls is makes it a game that can be picked up by just about anyone. It includes a basic tutorial that explains movement which is the perfect length of time and introduces the next abilities as they become available again.

The overall gameplay is excellent, however many of the tasks or quests that are given to the character are repetitive and can get old. What makes up for the repetitive nature of these tasks is the storyline. I have yet to finish the game but I can see a rich storyline being threaded into the gameplay. It contains aspects of character development, plot development, and constructions the scenes of the two stories so that the viewer can understand what is happening.

The most fascinating aspect about this game are the historical aspects that are interwoven into a fictional plot. While purusing the interenet I found quite a few people offended by the fact that people were portrayed in certain ways, such as the fact that the assassin's are middle eastern. What they are missing by pointing this out is that much of what occurred during the crusades include invading towns, plundering them, raping them women, and then leaving them essentially deserted. This may not have happened in Jerusalem and the other cities mentioned but it had happened in other locations. Essentially the clash between the Knights Templar and the Assassin's is over land and a pervasive religious symbol.

Part of the reason the storyline is so rich and successful is that it was created:

"Inspired by historical events and characters. This work of fiction was designed, developed, and produced by a multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs."

Note: Video game rating is according to the information posted on the ESRB website; information on crusades was learned in a course on Chaucer
For your Enjoyment:
Opening Cinematic
The Website

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Great Censorship Dilemma

My, what big teeth you have!
One thing that regularly bugs me is the when a game (or other entertainment media) is censored in a way that degrades the overall experience of the selected media.  Movies do this, music on the radio does this, TV does this, and video games do it too.  For the wayward youth, censorship is a real bummer.  It's a road block to everything those boring adults don't want them to see.  But with some entertainment, the content loses something when it gets edited.  Various companies are making inroads into bridging the gap, but at what cost?  How far is too far?  Should the entertainment industries be playing parent?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Update: Retail Surveys are Job Security!

I received quite a bit of support and visibility over my retail survey post.  As such, I figured I'd give my readers an update as to what has happened since.  I also want to comment on the comments that I received, as well.

Introduction: Opp1123

Greetings, it is I, the infamous 'guinea pig' girlfriend. I will be posting a review later on next week for Assassin's Creed and eventually a review to look into how the Sims developed from the initial game to the most recent game(s) on PC, Nintendo DS, and gamecube.

To give a little background on myself I studied Philosophy with minors in Psychology and English Literature in college. I hope I will be attending graduate school in the future for psychology. Much of this background heavily influences my opinions and perspectives about gaming and other issues.

Genres: sandbox, RPGs, MMO, racing, action/adventure
Consoles: PC, XBOX360, PS2, Gamecube, Nintendo DS
 Games Recently Played: Assassin's Creed, Katamari Damacy, World of Warcraft
If you are interested in checking out any of the others games that are in my library here is my raptr profile

If you're curious about the gamer tag I constructed it from the Fibonacci sequence which is a mathematical number that can be found in nature (ex. flower).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review: Stretch Panic

Platform: PS2

Rating: T for Teen, Mild Animated Violence, Suggestive Themes

Publisher: Treasure

Genre: None of the Above

Price: $1.49 at Gamestop, AmazonEbay

Now, this is a game that I find is impossible to classify.  It's bizarre, it leaves you questioning your sanity, and it's a riot to play.  Beating up the seven deadly sins has never been this politically incorrect...or this fun!

Monday, September 19, 2011

5 Wii games for the hardcore gaming crowd

It's no secret that Nintendo maintains a family friendly image.  The level of marketing to the parents of young children feels like the brunt of Nintendo's marketing budget. With the lack of Pandora's Tower and Fatal Frame 4 in the US, it's very easy to dismiss Nintendo as yet another greedy corporation who only cares about where they can make the most money.  Even so, Nintendo still pays attention to their core audience in some form or another.  Whether you believe it or not, the Wii has several games that cater to the interests of the hardcore gamer.  Here's 5 of them that you should be interested in:

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Silent Hill Downour's Latest Trailer

Konami released another trailer for the upcoming Silent Hill: Downpour.  Let's just say that I am disappoint.

Really? Korn in my Silent Hill?  I like Korn as much as the next guy, but this is a bit ridiculous.  There's a reason why Akira Yamaoka left Konami for Grasshopper Manufacture.  S*** like this is why.

Retail Surveys are job security!

In the current economy, almost every retailer out there has an online survey on the receipt asking for your feedback about your shopping experience.  Not many people realize how much an employee's job depends on customers filling out those surveys.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Collector's Edition Goodies: We don't want any more crap!

One thing that has always bugged me about video game collector's editions is the glut of useless crap that they tack on, and the hype that gets attached to it.  Most of the bonus goodies are poorly made, fall apart easily, and we're told that "limited" quantities were made to attempt to bolster the inherent value.  Thankfully, not every publisher falls into this trap, and I'd like to see the industry learn from their example.

Review: Mortal Kombat (2011)

Rating: M for Mature

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3

Genre: Fighting

Game Reviewed on: Xbox 360

I have many fond memories of playing Mortal Kombat in the local arcade. It was over the top, gratuitously violent, and adults hated it. Of course, a game as violent as Mortal Kombat will always draw the ire of politicians and advocacy groups. That and the downward spiral of Midway Games forced the MK series to withdraw from the spotlight. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love the new MK so very much.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Scrooge Alert: Power Gig for $30

Guitar Hero and Rock Band may have gotten us hooked on music gaming, but finding replacement instruments these days is really tough.  GameStop is currently running an in-store special right now on Power Gig: The Rise of the Six String for Xbox 360 and PS3.  Game & guitar for $30, full band kit with guitar, air drums, and mic for $40.  All of the instruments are compatible with Rock Band and, for the most part, Guitar Hero games as well.  If you're on the lookout for cheap replacement instruments, hit up the local GameStop.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sex, Guns, and Rock 'n Roll: A Double Standard

Contrary to popular opinion, I actually dabble in topics beyond gaming.  One thing I've noticed over the years is that as new media and technology comes to the forefront of human culture, there will always be someone out there trying to squash it.  It's been this way for centuries, and I don't see it changing any time soon.    What does this have to do with gaming?  Plenty.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Duct Tape DDR...Wait, what?

Back when I was in college, I made a modification to one of my DDR dance pads.  The top side was starting to rip, and I figured I'd go for the whole enchilada and give the entire dance pad a makeover.  This little duct tape mod took me about 3 hours to complete, and looked great when it was done.  That dance pad has since bit the dust, but I kept the pictures and reference notes I took, just in case.  Well, now is the time to resurrect this bad boy and pass along what I learned.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review: Shadows of the Damned

Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: Xbox 360

Rating: M

Price: $59.99

Release date: June 21, 2011

I have to commend Electronic Arts for financing such a gamble. They have a notorious track record for killing small development studios. The top talent usually gets carted off to another project and the remainders get gutted for whatever cash EA can find. That's the nature of the beast, I guess. New games based on an original concept rarely see big publisher backing the way Grasshopper Manufacture did. Goichi Suda, better known by his fans as Suda51, has a knack for making "arty" games that fascinate, but not necessarily sell well. However, he makes games that combine fantastic narrative, immersive aesthetic, and memorable characters. Shadows of the Damned is no exception. Suda51 wasn't alone in this venture, either. Accompanying him is Shinji Mikami, the creator of the Resident Evil series of horror games. If that wasn't enough star power, the audio was directed by Akira Yamaoka, composer for the Silent Hill soundtracks. This is top tier talent, and all three have years of game development experience following them wherever they go. Believe me, it shows.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Face Lift!

I'm making some major changes to this blog. Namely, I'm removing the $9.99 and under description, discussing gaming topics beyond simply video gaming, and I'm going to make more posts in general. I'll talk about issues pertinent to the gaming industry, alternate game formats, and other similar topics. I'll also bring my girlfriend in as a "guinea pig" of sorts, for additional feedback and testing.

All in all, I think you'll like the new changes. Especially since I've been away for so long.