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Hey guys it’s Sam, and this is Press Start, the only gaming blog segment where you get to hear news and reviews about games on the mainstream. Okay, that was a cocky intro, but still. Do you all remember 1st Person from last April? Yeah, this is 1st Person 2.0 with gaming news. You’re welcome. Anyway, let’s get into the action!

This was easily one of the most anticipated games of the year, as it was Naughty Dog’s big break to make a hit as big as (or even bigger than) Uncharted 3, which was one of 2011’s most critically acclaimed titles. The setup was simple: remember that fungal infection from Planet Earth that could turn ants into zombies? Well, what if that infection spread onto humans? That creates the apocalyptic scene of The Last of Us, which takes place twenty years after the fungal outbreak. The survivors of the apocalypse are in quarantined zones under the heel of the military. Within one of these zones is a black marketeer named Joel, who goes through an event that makes him vow to get a young teenager named Ellie to a resistance group called the Fireflies. They begin to trek through the fallen country while also avoiding the spreading disease and scavengers hungry for prey. It doesn’t stop there–the military won’t stop until they find and bring back Ellie.

The game was indeed a major success receiving universal acclaim, winning 25 awards after E3 ’12, a notable margin of them praising the game as the best title of the show and the most anticipated game of the show. It also received various perfect scores of 5 or 10:

  • A British film magazine called Empire gave the game a perfect 5 score, lauding it as “an easy contender for the best game of this console generation”, “gaming’s Citizen Kane moment”, and “a masterpiece that will be looked back upon favorably for decades”.
  • The official PlayStation mag also gave the game a perfect 10 score, calling it “a work of art” and “an emotionally draining, constantly compelling end of days adventure”.
  • IGN also gave the game a solid 10, praising it as “a masterpiece, PlayStation 3’s best exclusive and an absolute must-play.”
  • Destructoid also gave the game a 10 saying, “There is more to The Last of Us than just combat and ‘emotional’ story tropes… The Last of Us had achieved everything it needed to achieve in order to provide me with everything [Jim Sterling] wanted.”
  • It received a perfect five stars from Giant Bomb, Games Radar, and Joystiq.
  • Eurogamer, VideoGamer.com, Edge, and Computer & Video Games gave the game a clean 10.

So, I guess all you post-apocalyptic gamers out there need to play this game! You guys are really missing out!

Animal Crossing was released in Japan during spring 2001 as one of the Nintendo 64’s final titles, but eventually was re-released in other countries during fall 2002 for the Nintendo GameCube. The game’s setup was simple: you move into a village full of talking animals, you can interact with them (and other players via memory card), and the console’s internal clock and calendar allowed real-time gameplay complete with changing seasons and holidays. It was more recognizable on the latter console as one of the best financial and critical successes the console ever had, and its fame increased as Wild World became a DS hit, and City Folk became a Wii bestseller despite a mixed critical say. Five years later, Animal Crossing: New Leaf released with tons of new changes. You lived in a tent rather than a house that could be expanded and upgraded, customization now allows pant modification, and you can swim in the lake at the village waterfront. Oh, and you’re also the mayor. Oh, and now there are hamsters and deer.

The game became a critical success and is now the series’ highest-rated game, with a Metacritic score of 88 and a GameRankings score of 86.96%. Critics were pleased with New Leaf‘s visuals as well as proper use of the 3DS’ stereoscopic effects (oh, did I forget to say that it was a 3DS exclusive?). The game’s environment, objects, and content were noted as a major step up from City Folk. The Japanese version of the game got a near-perfect score of 39 from Famitsu magazine, but won their Platinum Award. New Leaf became the first 3DS game to pass two million sold units in under two months (in Japan), and the game has sold nearly four million copies so far, making it a great financial success. So I guess people who have been faithful to the series (or at least have a 3DS) should get this one.

71 years into the future, Paris has become Neo-Paris and the Memorize corporation has made a new brain implant called the Sensation Engine that allows 99% of the population to upload and share their memories on the net. It’s like YouTube, but strictly for memories. They can also remove unhappy or unpleasant memories too, which is pretty awesome. However, what’s not as awesome is the SensEn gives Memorize lots of surveillance-like control over Neo-Paris, and a rebellion is rising. This rebellion comes in the form of “Errorists”, rebels who strive for nothing but to see Memorize destroyed and defeated. The invention of Memorize’s SensEn has created Leapers, people who have absorbed memories like drugs to the point where their SensEn has degraded and they mutate into subhuman beings that live in the sewers! In Remember Me, you play as an Errorist named Nilin who is one of the most crucial components of the rebellion. Why, you don’t know…yet. And neither does she, considering she’s having her memory wiped by Memorize. Nilin must free her fellow Neo-Parisians from tyrannical technology while piecing together her lost past.

Remember Me slipped by with a mixed to positive say from critics. IGN’s Daniel Krupa enjoyed the game’s promise, setting, story, and memory manipulation, but was disappointed by its unappealing combat, feeble platforming, and repetitive gameplay. Tom Bramwell from Eurogamer had almost the same problems with the game but noted a frail script. Kevin VanOrd from GameSpot enjoyed Nilin as a protagonist as well as the Memory Remixes, but noted flaws in the story, world design, and camera. GameTrailer’s Justin Speer praised the game’s general scope, but said it was “underdeveloped and underutilized”. GamesRadar’s Ryan Taljonick also liked the Memory Remixes and customizable combos, but disliked the game’s linearity. Official PlayStation Magazine didn’t have much different to say. So, you may or may not enjoy Remember Me, but it might leave a lasting memory! Get it? Cuz the game’s about mem–man, you guys never appreciate my gaming humor!

Xbox One logo

Xbox One Console and Controller.png

500 gigabytes of storage? 7.1 surround sound? More entertainment oriented? We all have to agree that last month’s revealing of the Xbox One was decently impressive. It seemed like it would expand upon the 360 like the 360 expanded upon the original Xbox. But several weeks later, the console’s abrasive side began to kick in:

  • No backward compatibility (you can’t play any 360 games on it)
  • The new Kinect is downright creepy (always watching, always listening)
  • The new Kinect is a requirement to use the console (it must be on and connected nonstop)
  • The console will use its region-locking skills to lock down games “geographically” (so a person across the globe can’t play some good ole Modern Warfare cuz it’s blocked in their country, kinda like a game filter)
  • The Xbox One won’t allow game-loaning like a normal console (you either need to sign in under your buddy’s account or pay for the game full retail price)
  • You’re gonna need an Internet connection (even to play single-player games offline!)
  • The console seems to focus more on entertainment than actual games (then why does it have the honor of being a console?!)

I bet a year from now when the PS4 wins the eighth generation of video games, Microsoft will be scratching its head asking itself, “Where did we go wrong?” Anyway, the One’s list of upcoming titles seems to be a bit more promising than the One itself, so let’s take a look at some titles:

  • Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag: Play as Connor Kenway’s grandpa Edward and embark on a swashbuckling pirate adventure! (10/29/13)
  • Battlefield 4: Blood will splatter, bullets will fire, and guards will be let down in the gruesome adventures of US Special Forces squad member Recker.  (10/29/13)
  • Call of Duty: Ghosts: Because Modern Warfare 4 wasn’t good enough, this game stars a band of elite soldiers called “Ghosts” that wage a covert war after a global power balance apocalypse. (11/5/13)
  • Destiny: After their big departure from Microsoft in 2010, Bungie teams up with Activision to create a post-apocalyptic world where you (among the final defenders of the human race) must fight aliens to prevent the obliteration of mankind. (Q3 or Q4 2013)
  • Fantasia Music Evolved: In this interactive follow-up to Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, you are the apprentice of sorcerer Yen Sid and you must generate life in desolate levels by moving rhythmically to popular licensed songs from Fun., Bruno Mars, Queen, and more. (2014)
  • FIFA 14: In this year’s FIFA instalment, new features have been added from “real ball physics” to “teammate intelligence” that might improve upon FIFA 13‘s skill games, and there’s a new global scouting network and modifications with career mode. (9/24/13)
  • Need for Speed Rivals: In this gas-burning romp you’re either a racer or a cop, and it has the aesthetics of NFS Underground plus the features of Hot Pursuit and Most Wanted. (11/19/13 for PS3 & X360; PS4 & XOne TBA)
  • Watch Dogs: This Ubisoft action-adventure/stealth game lets you play as an elite hacker that can either get and control info or destroy it wholly. You can hack phones to retrieve bank data, you can even hack traffic lights to cause crashes! (11/19/13 for PC, PS3, Wii U & X360; PS4 & XOne Q4 2013)

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Alright, that is it for this week! Make sure to tune in next Friday at 1:00 PM EST for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!

Stay classy,

~S~ 8-)

Video of the Week: Have you heard of that new Daft Punk song with Pharrell Williams, uh, “Get Lucky”? Pfff, of course you have! Have you heard that old System of a Down song called, uh, “BYOB”? Pfff, of course you have…n’t. Anyway, here’s a brief summary of the band: they’re four Armenian-American guys from Glendale, California who play alternative metal and love to scream and yell a lot. Now, what if you put these two together? Since BYOB stands for “bring your own bombs”, this mashup is called “Bring Your Own Luck”. This was originally done by this guy called DJ Lobsterdust, and the sad part is this video hasn’t even broken 6,000 hits yet! Just listen to it and tell me if it should be viral by now.

Here’s the unofficial music video for the mashup.

Here’s the official music video for “BYOB”.

Here’s an equally eargasmic mashup of “Gangnam Style” and “Cotton Eye Joe”.



I decided to make SANU since with school and everything I’ve really had trouble making posts, trying to figure out what category to put up. So I decided that, since I’ve been handling a lot of things that classify as “on hold”, I’ve decided to make a news update for these things every once in a while known as SANU, or my Super Awesome News Updates. At first, I called it my Incredibly Noble Super Awesome News Expo, but although it does spell INSANE, it really doesn’t make much sense. So until further notice, SANU it is! Me, myself, I, and my stonewashed jeans!

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Well, my first bit of news revolves around something I’ve really been digging–Wonderstruck.

No, no, no, not that Wonderstruck! And besides, I haven’t heard from Swift since “We Are Never Ever Getting Back T”–you know what it’s called. I’m talking about this Wonderstruck.

As you should know if you’ve been tagging along with my two main blogs, I’ve read The Invention of Hugo CabretAnd it’s insane good.  And one of the things I’ll never forget about first stepping into my English classroom for the first time of this school year was seeing all these books lined up against the whiteboard. Those were the books that my English teacher had read during the summer. And it wasn’t just one to five books. They literally took up a half of the board! There was a Mike Lupica book called HeroGregor the Overlander, all three Max Cassidy books, sporty ones like The Ball and The Dream Team–but one I really noticed was this one. I studied the cover up close and realized it was a Selznick book. And I was able to infer (like every good reader should) that this was similar to Hugo Cabret. After all, it did mention that Selznick was the “creator of the Caldecott Medal winner The Invention of Hugo Cabret“. And after researching the book on Amazon and seeing the little “inside look”, I was positive that this was similar to Hugo. And for the next few weeks, I kept using that book as a highball for my eyeballs, seeming to want to read the book more and more. I even emailed my teacher about it! And one simple question, an armful of steps, and the “beep” of a barcode scan later, I have the book. And I’ve barely left the first chapter, and know that this is gonna be good. And I’ve got a lot of reading to do–it’s 640 pages long! That’s ten pages shy of the first two Potter books combined! More notably, over 100 pages longer than Hugo!

So anyway, expect some sort of Jolly Good Bookie: Wonderstruck to magically appear on the homepage sometime soon! :D Can’t wait and want to know more? Click here to check out the main and official Wonderstruck website. Want to hear how great this book is from Brian Selznick himself? Check this  video out! (Visit the site if you want all of his spoken words in text via transcript.)

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These are just some of the new Cartoon Network games I played. They’re all surprisingly good each in their own fields of impression, and I’ve already beaten nearly everyone of them. (And besides–you really can’t win in Karate Master, since it records scores via distance.) And I’ve got one thing to say about the new badge mechanics: they’re messed up. I can beat the entire Toxic Targets game, collecting every single Chris Totem along the way, and still not get the badge for an unacceptably long while. (Don’t worry, I have all 6 now. :D) I’m still waiting for Flambo’s Hot Mess to accept that I beat the game, and won every single Golden Jelly Bean along the way. But hey–to each his, her, or their own. I also went through a major change from Amusing Chip Shuriken to Major Zelda Shinobi since my password just didn’t get a very comfy margin of the memory section of my brain. Needless to say, I’ve currently got over forty of the site’s badges, and currently have one friend. (Now’s your chance, America.) But anyway, to drive back on topic, I decided to tell you about each game that I played and enjoyed.

  • Regular Show‘s Escape from Ninja Dojo - So, Rigby just had to buy a bootleg copy of Ninja Dojo. Despite Mordecai’s warnings, he starts up the game anyway. And through some sort of magical and bizarre curse that’s actually pretty normal for Regular Show, Rigby gets sucked into the game. Mordo is now forced to fulfill the role of the “old wise mentor” stereotype and help Rigby through the game, since he is freed after he beats it. Now, what made me hooked to this game was intricate controls, non-pressuring difficulty, and–well–Mordecai’s lessons are pretty straightforward. But poor level design and rather grating music did pull me away a bit. But you’ll likely be having so much fun using the mechanics to explore your worlds that you likely won’t notice.
  • Adventure Time‘s Flambo’s Hot Mess - Now when it comes to princess relationships, Finn’s got his hands full. He’s come point-blank with literally every damsel in Ooo itself, but he shares the biggest relationships with two particular princesses: Princess Bonnibel Bubblegum, and his real current girlfriend the Flame Princess. Now, the Flame Kingdom really holds its own in both the gratitude of episodes and the story of Ooo through the show, and you’ll actually meet a lot of Flame People. One of these People is Flambo, a flambit who usually shows to be on Finn and Jake’s side. But in Hot Mess, he’s clumsily spilled PB’s entire collection of royal jelly beans. So you must navigate through 33 levels and collect each jelly bean along the way–at least, if you want all the Golden Jelly Beans. But there is a slight problem–since Flambo is made out of fire, every wooden block he comes in contact with will instantly set on fire. And then those blocks will spread their fire to other blocks or vines. And then those blocks and vines could spread to Critters, which could spread the blaze even more quickly. So it takes a real upper hand in logical strategy to navigate through all the levels and get through. Now, that’s what made this game fun–it was innovative, charming, clever, sharp, and challenging. Challenging to the point where–yes, I admit it–I may have used a walkthrough or two.
  • Total Drama: Revenge of the Island‘s Toxic Targets - This year’s season of Total Drama was a crazy one. Toxic waste mutating the animals of the woodland, an entirely new roster of campers, and the new Hurl of Shame elimination catapult. Anyway, this game has every camper you see in the game nimbly holding or balancing a mutated rabbit. You play show head Chris McLain’s trusty straight-outta-mess-hall partner Chef Hatchet, whom must unbalance these campers. So Chris decides to let him use his toxic meatballs in a fashion strikingly similar to Angry Birds. No seriously–these guys built strongholds outta wood and ice and everything! And here’s what makes these meatballs toxic–whomever gets hit by them gets electrically shocked. Or at least, it’s depicted like that. And if you have only one camper standing, you automatically complete the level. Take out that last camper, you get a Chris Totem. If you can get all forty Chris Totems, then you are an official “meatball marksman”. No, seriously, that’s the title of the badge you get. Anyway, I liked this game because it was also very walkthrough-level challenging, and also quite funny and interesting to play out. The feeling of using Shrinky Meatballs to have entire strongholds vanish in thin air, or shocking campers from beneath the ground with Explosive Meatballs just enticed me so much more to play this game. And I bet after this you’ll be checking your next plate of spaghetti-and-meatballs to make sure your meat’s completely nontoxic.
  • Gumball‘s Suburban Karate Master - I didn’t know it was humanly possible for Cartoon Network to still go back to those nostalgic 8-bit aesthetics. But in this game, they did it. So, you play a gi-sporting Gumball and merely run down the street while jumping over obstacles like fire hydrants, collecting soda cans for energy (how ironic :D), and obviously beating down the baddies. Get enough power and Darwin will join you in an ultimate power blast that will dash you down the street–the thing is it feeds off most of your health. So make sure you’re near some soda cans when you cool down. Although I could barely last thirty seconds in that game without falling flat on my face, what made me keep going back down the block and starting over was that it was funny, innovative, interesting, unique, and–you guessed it–nostalgic. Now if only they were using badges…
  • Teen Titans Go!‘s Tower Lockdown - Remember how you always used to watch Teen Titans as a kid–at least, if you were a 2000s kid? Then get ready, because your favorite teen superheroes are returning in the most comedic take on the saga yet–Teen Titans Go! Airing on Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block alongside Young Justice, Green Lantern, and the upcoming Beware Batman, expect this show to be saving a life near you next year. But for now, the creators of the show gave us this game. In it, you control Robin, who is trying to find the keys through several levels to unlock doors. But here’s the thing: you are granted the ability to flip gravity whenever necessary. But don’t think of this as some sort of Gravity Guy–space is rather limited, and eventually that pesky key grows some smarts. In one level, you must actually chase the key! But luckily, you can also airwalk from time to time to perform things like bridging gaps and making inaccessible parts within reach. I liked Tower Lockdown because of this: it had smooth controls, clever level designing, and mood-setting tunes. However, when I reached a level that assigned me to turn on a TV and use all the highlighted obstacles to keep me aware in real life (you have to do the most airwalking, I believe), the game went completely mad. It didn’t automatically close the tab I was playing, but it froze for seconds at a time, causing me to die every time for no sane reason. So I believe you should put that on notice if you’re playing on a PC with Google Chrome 22.
  • Riders of Berk‘s Dragons: Wild Skies - Now this game literally froze on me, so I’m just gonna put that under “on the fence”.
  • Chowder‘s Bookin’ Cook - Or should I say, Diner Dash: Chowder Edition. Now, to explain this game is a pretty straightforward toil. You’re likely to pick up this game very quickly if you’ve played Diner Dash or any deriving series similar to it. Now the version you played really doesn’t matter; I don’t care if you played the original, or the sequel, or the third, or the fourth, or the fifth, or the SpongeBob version. Anyway, in this game you control Chowder, but are also helped by your pals Schnitzel and Mung Daal. You must manage an increasing number of customers who will either ask for an apple, a piece of cheese, a head of cabbage, or this blue thingy. (I’m sorry, Chowder fans, I’ve left your little gang for a while now. :() You pick the fruit you want via the “no-fruit”, which will randomly change from fruit to fruit faster than the naked eye can manage, before Schnitzel whacks it with a bat and lands on your fruit. If they wanted sauce with that fruit, you can go to either of three saucing machines (yellow, blue, and pink) and toss it in there for a few seconds. You can toss it in again if you want a second layer, or toss it in another machine to do some mixing-and-matching. If they wanted extra eyes, just throw it into the eye machine (warning: it will take a long while). Mess something up? Just trash it–but it’ll come back to haunt you later. Make sure to keep your customers patient and happy, because their patience level is represented by a bar above their head. If it fully depletes, the customer will now very furiously storm out, and guilt obviously follows. Serve a customer while they’re still jolly, and they’ll leave with their pay of dollops. (Y’see, Chowder runs on their own currency; instead of dollars and cents, they have dollops and sments. Yeah, show fans, I still got it in me. :D) One of those customers, matter of fact, is your hotheaded hot mama Truffles, and her patience bar depletes the fastest in the entire game. So when she wants something, you better give it to her. Luckily, I’ve been manageable enough to never see what happened if Truffles lost her patience. Anyway, Mung’s mortal enemy’s daughter/your “girlfriend” Panini will occasionally show up running her mouth like a typewriter. Luckily, if you click on her you can send her away with your signature “I’m not your boyfriend!” And get rid of her fast, because she’s a lethal weapon in taking out patience bars. And rightfully so, in my perspective. I don’t think I really need to explain that I really enjoy this game.

So check out all these games I recommended just for the heck of it, and tell me in the comment section what you thought of them! Give me a rating on a 0-10 scale and explain why–hopefully you’ve been paying attention in English class. But just to set the record, lemme explain each level.

0 – Why did you recommend this to me?!?!

1 – No. No. No, no, no, no, just NO!

2 – I could type up a better game with my feet.

3 – Son, I am disappoint.

4 – …Yeesh.

5 – I’m on the fence about this one.

6 – It’s okay, I guess.

7 – I guess it’s pretty darn good.

8 – Not bad, Sammwak.

9 – Wow, okay, this game is really, really good.

10 – This is true gaming nirvana!!!

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Cover of the novel, showing the title in white text on a black and grey background, above a depiction of a gold pin featuring a bird in flight, its wings spread and an arrow clasped in its beak.

If you’re like me, you’ve heard about this. You’ve greatly heard about this. You may have seen kids flaunting their copies around school and in class, talking about how great the movie was, wondering how its sequel would unfold. This is none other than the Hunger Games, from the lady that brought us the equally engrossing Gregor series. Now, the Hunger Games trilogy premise is simple: it all takes place in Panem, a post-apocalyptic nation split into twelve districts on land where North America once stood. An advanced metropolis known as the Capitol politically rules over the nation, as well as being surrounded by these districts. Now, a boy and girl aged from twelve to eighteen years old (known as a “tribute”) is chosen annually from each district to compete in a televised fight-to-the-death known as the Hunger Games. Now, seeing as these kids seem to be representing their districts, this whole thing must be some sort of bloodier and gorier Olympics. And I believe it’s even more shocking that innocent kids must ruthlessly murder one another just to gain the title of the Games victor. Any more violent, and I’d be putting up a notice for child abuse. Anyway, this year the Capitol has chosen Primrose Everdeen as District 12’s female tribute. Realizing she’s one of the youngest contestants, her older sister Katniss bravely steps up and says four words I don’t think I’ll ever forget: “I volunteer as tribute!” So Primrose is ultimately replaced by her sister in the Games, and it really wouldn’t have been any more dangerous if Katniss hadn’t done diddly squat.

Now, although I had the book as a Google Play sample, I finally got to touch and read the book! And let me tell you, I can’t believe the feeling I had when I read that book. First chapter isn’t actually half bad; darn suspenseful ending. Like Goosebumps. I like like Goosebumps. So the moral of this story is just expect some sort of Jolly Good Bookie: Hunger Games trilogy coming your way at a future date. And y’know how I said that people are talking about the movie’s sequel? Well, they have right to do so, because Catching Fire will actually be turning into a movie coming out next year! After returning from the Games with her skins, Katniss has now embarked on a victor’s tour of the districts, but along the way Katniss’s “suspense senses” begin to tingle. Turns out the Capitol has never lost its grip on the districts, especially with the next upcoming Hunger Games that could change the nation forever…

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TheEndBook.jpg

Lemon. That word makes me think of Lemony. And that word makes me think of Lemony Snicket. And that word makes me think of his 13-book series that have been giving me a chill since about the fourth grade. It is none other than A Series of Unfortunate Events, and today I just read its final volume. I never knew it would come to an end this–this dramatically. In the series’ “book the thirteenth” (known as the pretty straightforward The End), the three Baudelaire orphans and their lifelong enemy Count Olaf have just escaped Hotel Denouement after its horrifying fire. How did it happen? Well, then I’d be spoiling the twelfth book, wouldn’t I? After surviving a gnarly storm, they wash up on a coastal shelf of an island inhabited by a strange people. While Olaf tries to get the castaways to know him as “king of Olafland”–which obviously fails to work–the orphans come across several islanders, among them being the island’s facilitator Ishmael. Call him Ish if you want to. The Baudelaires also come across recurring series character Kit Snicket (still as pregnant as ever), but at the same time Olaf has decided to disguise himself as Kit. What does he use as his “baby”? A diving helmet containing spores of Medusoid Mycelium, a fungus that had nearly killed Sunny (the youngest orphan) in the eleventh book.

Aye, I’ve said too much! Just be sure to check out Jolly Good Bookie: The End when it comes out at a later date. Who knows, I may even be working on it right now. Will the Baudelaire orphans’ story conclude happily…or unfortunately? You know what Lemony’s said: “Like an off-key violin concert, the Roman Empire, or food poisoning, all things must come to an end.”

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I guess that’s all the news I have to give you this fine week! Make sure to shoot your arrow straight through that like button, and be sure to comment, subscribe, reblog, share, Press This, check me out at G+, and stay tuned for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak!

Stay classy America,

~S~ 8-)

Videos of the Week: I remember seeing  a real-life Ezio from Assassin’s Creed in a Corridor Digital video. But this takes that to a whole ‘nother level. Nearly 200,000 people have liked this video, and it’s gotten 9.3 million hits since last month! After watching this, I only thought of two things: “Geez, this is freaking awesome!”, and “…Wow, my head hurts.”  Comment me if you have the same effect!

Now this one may be one that’s more widely recognized. In August 1960, a U.S. Air Force Colonel known as Joe Kittinger fell from the Excelsior III, setting records for the highest balloon ascent, parachute jump, and the longest drogue-fall at 4 minutes and 36 seconds, the fastest a human’s ever gone through the atmosphere. Just this year, most of those records were broken by an Austrian skydiver/daredevil/BASE jumper. That Austrian was “Fearless Felix” Baumgartner. As part of the Red Bull Stratos project, Felix fell a world-record descent of just over 39 kilometers, setting the “highest manned balloon flight”, “fastest freefall speed”, and “first human to break the sound barrier outside of a vehicle” records. The only thing that Joe still claimed as his was the time he spent freefalling, as 17 seconds separated him and Felix. But it’s already been a web-wide sensation (you may have seen it as the #livejump), and I’ve got this as full-fledged & in-the-flesh proof. It’s got 3.2 million hits with over 10,000 likes–this is Felix Baumgartner’s freefall from the brink of space itself. Literally redefining Red Bull’s famous slogan “It gives you wings.”

And click here for some full-fledged & in-the-flesh extras from the official  channel itself!

p.s. Press This and comment if you want to wish my big sis a happy eighteenth birthday tomorrow! :D :D :D



Hey guys it’s Sam, and it’s time for our first-ever episode of gaming news! I know, gaming new’s been a part of Sammwak’s lore for a long time. Actually, one of the first posts on Sammwak was about Left 4 Dead. But it’s time to take that knowledge to a whole ‘notha [level]. And that’s what our segment 1st Person is for; all the news that’s fit to–no, um, it’s the largest source for–no, that’s GameSpot’s slogan. Um, while I think of a catchphrase, how about we get to our first game and find out the first piece of news in our series premiere.

There are a lot of games out there for the Xbox Live Arcade, open since the Christmas month of 2004. Through its eight years of existence, some really good and bad XBLA titles have come to be. Some good examples include the ‘Splosion Man duo, Limbo, and Super Meat Boy. Some bad examples include Zombie WranglersTour de France 2009, and Blazing Birds. And another bad example might include the recently released title Warp, the second “XBLA House Party” released for the XBLA, PS3, and PC. In this game, you control an inhuman character named Zero, who seemingly looks like he was a rejected de Blob sidekick. Zero is taken to a military-grade facility, where he fades in and out of consciousness and at one point awakens to find that he is being operated on, having a disc-shaped object extracted from him. Soon after, through telepathic procedures, a fellow alien contacts our hero, saying that it can sense other aliens in the facility and planning the duo’s great escape. Zero then proceeds to fulfill his title as a facility escapee under your control, helping any aliens on the way, but not before reabsorbing that disc. It may seem kinda cute, but this game fulfills its M-rated properties: Warp seems like the perfect name for this game, not only manifesting our hero’s eponymous attack (where he warps through walls and even through people & objects), but also of the game’s oddly balanced warp between violence and cuteness.

A hybrid between stealth, action, and puzzle, Warp is one of two currently-released titles from the Canadian indie developer Trapdoor Inc., the other being Fez for the rarely-known PlayStation-esque NES hardware clone, the PolyStation. Considering Trapdoor has clearly not had much taste in the more popular gaming culture, can Warp be their first success?…Well, kind of. GameSpot’s Jeremiah Johnson said that although the game had merits (enjoyable puzzles, charming balance of gore and cuteness, superb visuals, tough leaderboard challenge rooms), it also had its flaws, like clunky controls and some trial-and-error puzzles. On high, he said that it was an “entertaining top-down puzzler” that was still, however, weighed down. He gave the game a 6.5/10, which ranks as “fair” on the meter, an above-average level. Users were slightly more positive, upping the ranks to 7.2. IGN’s Daemon Hatfield was a lot more positive for the game, however. He called it “brainy and amusing”, and despite some hiccups around the final half of the game, he highly recommended it as a “rich, satisfying adventure.” He gave it an 8.5/10, which is not only “great” on the meter, but also received an Editor’s Choice award. So, yeah. IGN really likes this game. Joystiq gave it a 3/5-star score, saying that it wasn’t particularly memorable, and didn’t quite create an identity for itself, and pulled the inspiration from the many corners of gaming’s landscape, and for that reason, Warp got degraded a bit more. Game Informer gave the game a 6.75/10 score, saying that it was “promising at first, but it becomes more tedious as it progresses”. They said the simple factors of the game weren’t enough to make a standout in the Arcade, and that anyone looking to go deeper should choose a different game. Overall, Warp overall may have fatal flaws that push it back, but it does have its moments. Approach the game with caution.

It’s Manhattan. A viral plague called Blacklight is spreading. The infected become grotesque behemoths on uncontrollable manhunts for the uninfected. You’re an amnesiac mutant, enabled with the power of shape-shifting and absorbing others (known as “consuming”), as well as tremendous power that even allows you to climb up buildings effortlessly. What kind of person are you? You are Alex Mercer, the star of Radical Ent.’s hit of summer 2009, Prototype. Despite its gameplay similarities to other games, it was a critical and commercial success, having enough sales to be inflicted into the Xbox’s Hall of Platinum Hits. And, of course, after that there needed to be a second phase. And so that’s where Prototype 2 comes in, the super-heroic sci-fi sequel. In this game, a man named James Heller goes out to fulfill his goal of eradicating Blacklight, but also plans to terminate a person whom he believes is responsible for the death of his family in the virus outbreak: none other than Alex himself. James practically shares the exact same powers as Alex, although shape-shifting and consumption has become more tactical. Like, if James consumes a soldier, people’s reactions will show they want nothing to do with him. To prevent enemy overwhelm, Radical has included more down-to-earth AI, as well as weapon use, like fending off using a freshly-ripped tank cannon.

Prototype 2, in my eyes, looks like a good game. But is it?…Somewhat yes. IGN’s Greg Miller quoted that the said game “[had] no impact”, and despite the factors of the game, nothing really meant anything to Miller. He said he doubted he’d remember the game’s “sterile side missions and curse word-laden dialogue”, and he came to the conclusion that Prototype 2 was a case of “forgettable fun”. He gave the game a 7/10, which is only “good”. At GameSpot, editor Tom Mc Shea praised the game’s empowering mechanics of movement, huge variety of attacks, experimenting incentives, and fun-to-find collectibles. But he also criticized the game’s practical lack of challenge, and also that it contained little that hasn’t been seen before in the series. He said that these “sporadic missteps” where however covered up by its “brutal delights”, and wrapped up his review with a 7.5/10 score. Another “good”. Joystiq handed out another 3/5-star review, saying that people would have different emotions for the game, as much as you liked its mobility and brands of mass destruction, and how much you can forgive more  brain-dead moments like repetition and witless dialogue. Even Destructoid gave the game an 8/10! So, overall, this sequel looks like a good pick to add to your library, but discerning gamers beware.

“In Assassin’s Creed we set up a timeline with this whole end of the world plot in December 2012… That’s fast approaching, and the story we have to tell, we obviously need to do it before we arrive at that point. It would be stupid of us to be centering a game on a semi-reality and then have that conclusion happen after that date in real life…” – Alexandre Amacio, Revelations creative director

Never has Ubisoft attempted such a game that I’ve known of. This is one of the biggest twists in the company’s history. But indeed, their award-winning saga Assassin’s Creed is going back, way back, to the era the thirteen original colonies called “the good ole days”. In other words, Assassin’s Creed is going to the American Revolution with its newest upcoming title, Assassin’s Creed III. This open-world stealthy action-adventure is said by Ubisoft to be bigger than any other installment (no chiz), and it will feature a new character (much like in Prototype 2) named Connor Kenway, whose birth name is Ratohnhaké:ton, which is pronounced (ra-tohn-ha-ke-ton). Spanning 3 decades of Connor’s life from 1753-’83, the war between the Assassins and Templers has moved to the colonial Americas. Connor is a half-English half-Mohawk man drawn into the fight when his home undergoes attack by white colonists. Over the course of the game, it being an art of long-long-ago historical fiction, you’ll run into famous faces of the past like Ben Franklin, presidents Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, Charles Lee, William Prescott, among even others. Work on this game began almost automatically after the primetime release of Assassin’s Creed II, but the following year when Ubisoft first revealed Brotherhood, confusion occurred as to whether or not this was the real deal. Well, luckily, now they know, and now you know to mark your calendar for this game’s release on October 30 in North America, Halloween 2012 for the PAL region.

This game was the cover story of this month’s issue for Game Informer (keep an eye out for the exclusive second issue cover), and it has already exceeded the pre-order numbers of its two previous predecessors, surpassing Brotherhood and achieving numbers 10 times of that Revelations received in a comparable time frame. So, yeah, people really want this game. Attorney/planter/politician Patrick Henry once said in 1775 in his famous speech, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” The rest of Ubisoft says, “Why don’t we just go and give them both?”

You can tell by this picture that Microsoft’s M-rated Arcade title Bloodforge is a very violent game. Well, you don’t say? The game has “blood” in its name, of course it’s violent! Anyway, there’s this guy named Crom, and he’s, y’know, a little miffed. Okay, a lotta miffed. He has murdered his own family, tricked into the act of the god Arawn, and he wants revenge. It’s a familiar setup, by the looks of it, because there’s that one mad guy who charted a brutally satisfying course to get revenge against the gods. Hint: It wasn’t Percy Jackson. And, of course, Crom’s quest to gain his right is a bloodstained one, especially gorier than your average hack-and-slash. And please do like this post if I’m not the only one whom is greatly reminded of Skyrim and Ninja Gaiden 3 whilst looking at screenshots for this game. This game honestly looks like it had mixed emotions, depending on the type of player. Some people praised this game, saying that it was worth every penny–or, in this case, Microsoft Point–while others think that, um, well, there were only 3 player reviews on GameSpot for this game and they were all positive. Are they right in the editor’s eyes?…

Nope. Carolyn Petit, an experienced GameSpot enthusiast in both reading and editing, said that despite some grotesque character designs, the game had tedious combat, terrible boss battles, a generally underdeveloped world, a distractedly unstable camera, and a number of tech problems of minor level. She gave the game 4 merits overall: Brutal (the good), Shallow, Bad Camera, and Derivative (the bad). Petit wrapped up her review with a 3/10 score, a “bad” on the scale. After this cold review, Bloodforge found no luck at IGN, either. Steven Hopper, a level-four editor, praised the game’s visuals and graphics, but criticism got the better of him for numerous reasons: an awful camera, a shallow story, derivative gameplay, and bringing nothing unique and/or innovative to the table to yak up. Hopper said that the game was a bad competitor against series like God of War or Darksiders, and considering the Arcade’s other chockful of prime experiences, it was hard to recommend Bloodforge to anyone, anywhere, anywho. He gave the game a 4/10 score, another “bad” on the meter. Joystiq handed out yet another 3/5-star score, saying that it would be more difficult to confront as a full-priced standalone, and that its action would be tiresome lasting any longer than its campaign, clocking in at a rough five hours’ worth. Attempt to play this game as thoughtfully as Microsoft developed it, you’ll come out disappointed. Attempt to play it whilst accepting it as a button-masher, and you’ll come out guiltily pleased. So overall, Bloodforge might offer a small portion, but all-around, it looks like you should skip this opportunity.

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Well, that’s our news for this week! Thanks for watching, and if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an anger management class to attend, if you know what I mean. :lol: Th-that was a funny joke, right? Oh, if you haven’t already, go check out my friend Maggie at nuthatchlover.wordpress.com. If you like looking at cute pictures and seeing what’s been on the Pinterestboard lately, this is the place to be. If you have a license to Pin, you can also follow Big Mag (see what I did there? :mrgreen:) on Pinterest and see what she’s been further Pinning. And this goes for the both of us—comment, like, rate, subscribe, reblog, follow, and stay tuned for more! (Also feel free to check me out at Google+ @ Samuel Mwak‘s page!)

~Sam~

p.s. Time for our Would You Rather o’ the Week! Would you rather…eat bacon with everything you eat ever, ever, ever, ever again, or would you eat pizza with everything you eat ever, ever, ever, ever again?

p.p.s. Time for our Random Video o’ the Week! This week goes to “Dubstep Puffle“, a video from the official channel for Club Penguin, consisting of a dark gray pet Puffle wearing a pair of headphones, listening to dubstep, while in numerous situations, like living memes and riding inside a box in space that is farting out a rainbow. At the end of the video, you can snag a secret code to get your Puffle their own set of headphones, although I’m not sure it’s gonna be dubstep they’ll be listening to. Anyway, since its debut on the 5th this month, it’s gotten almost 400,000 views, but with you I can bet cold hard fake cash it’s gonna go longer.



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