Monday, July 30, 2007

Report on the 4400: "Till we have built Jerusalem"

You know, there is really no point to this.

There is no point to reviewing each episode every week, because it feels like each and every episode takes such a giant leap forward in the storyline. And I mean that in a good way.

This show has established such an unsteady and spontaneous tone, it's indescribable. Think about it -- two weeks ago we're introduced to a little squatter village of 4400's, last week we're learning about a secret society of anti-4400 future people, and this week the 4400 are ANNEXING part of Seattle!!!

Jordan Collier just puts up his little banners and flags and -BAM- he takes south Seattle.

It reminded me of that old "Kids in the Hall" sketch where the guy dressed as an English explorer and a guy dressed as a French explorer both try to claim a guy's chest by planting a mini-flag in him.

And meanwhile, Maia makes a return to being a relevant character, deterring Collier from attacking America by faking a vision. You have to love that the girl knows she has power, and they've let the character act mature enough to use that power in a responsible way -- or in this case, not use the power.

I wonder though, how much of that fake was foreshadowing? Either foreshadowing that Collier will catch her in that lie and not trust her again, or in the foreshadowing that her "vision" will lead down Collier down a worse path?

But speaking of Maia, how great was the scene of her talking with Isabelle? It's moments like that, tying together present interaction to past interaction, that allows this show to take such quick leaps forward, and still keep continuity.

OK, enough of this paragraph form bullshit. Random thoughts:

1) You just know Billy Campbell took a few of those giant Jordan Collier flags home for his wall.

2) Shawn sure had to pay a lot for one booty call... I mean, looked like it was worth it, but still...

3) Why can't you just shoot the 4400's perimeter-making devices so they turn off?

4) We haven't seen the last of the super soldiers... and hopefully next time they show up, Dennis Ryland shows up too!

5) The "Sonic" restaurant commercials are growing on me. I know it isn't part of the show, but one of the commercials was just on, and it wasn't half bad.

6) I wonder... does Richard Tyler get attracted to Promise City?

7) And speaking of the Tylers, more and more I am thinking Isabelle is going to revert to being bad... she just seems so unsure of her place in the plans, and everyone like Maia and Collier keep telling her she isn't trusted... and also, Kyle really has never had any confirmation saying she does definitely belong, right?

8) I wonder how much it would cost to get a big flag made of myself?

9) That whole Megan and Tom almost kissing thing just felt real awkward and forced.

10) Now that Kyle put it out on the line for Tom, telling him about the 100 year old book, how long until Tom points out that "the future" could have planted that book?

Friday, July 27, 2007

In Saturday's Gaming page

Another Friday has come and, well, almost gone, which means, I've polished off this week's Gaming page (which can be found on page 2C of Saturday's Poughkeepsie Journal Sports section).

This week does not quite have the flash of recent weeks, with the graphics and cut-outs and whatnot, but it has the substance.

"All-Pro Football 2K8" was released recently, so this week we have a review of the game, and more importantly a column, written by yours truly, explaining just how badly 2K Sports screwed up. This game could have been something special, instead, it's something ordinary.

We also have a review of the arcade baseball game "The Bigs," and a fantasy baseball column.

Good stuff, right? We know how to take care of you.

Finally, good news for Sony

The console that needs exclusive third-party titles more than any other may have quietly alleviated their problem by a bit.

Sony announced an exclusivity agreement with Eat, Sleep, Play, David Jaffe and Scott Campbell's new software development company.

Jaffe and Campbell are, of course, the guys who brought you "Twisted Metal," and Jaffe is the man behind "God of War."

Sure, it will be a couple of years until this agreement bears any fruit for the floundering PlayStation 3, but it's nice to know there will be more decent third-party games in the company's future.

New crew on Astonishing X-Men

Comic Book Resources is reporting that Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi will be the new creative team on Astonishing X-Men, for at least 24 issues starting with issue No. 25.

Interviews with both creator from Newsarama can be found HERE.

The cast of the book is yet to be announced, likely tying in closley with the outcome of X-Men: Messiah Complex, the fall crossover.

I've never loved Ellis' stuff too much, but if he gets the books out on time, it will be a plus. I mean, damn, there is a 3 month gap between Astonishing No. 21 and 22!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Further proof the Sony video game division is a sinking ship

It's reported that during the past quarter, Sony's video game division lost $237 million.


And that number is actually 8% WORSE than it was the quarter before it, when the PS3 was launching! Presumably, that's because Sony was shooting off its final PS2 bullets in that quarter. And those were some nice bullets. What bullets do PS3 boast yet?

To put this $237 million deficit in perspective, as a company Sony recorded a profit of $540 million. Meaning the video game division brought down the company by 33%!!!

Sinking ship, my friends. Unless the new games of the next 4 months truly blow everyone away.

Countdown at Comic Con

OK, this is what is wrong, essentially with the amount of panels at these big Conventions. This, from a Comic Book Resources account from a panel called "DC Countdown... to the end?":

" “Is Final Crisis really going to be Crisis done the way you wish had been the first time?” asked another fan.

DiDio advised the audience to go to tomorrow's DC Nation panel for more on that question. "

Let me translate this: DC is not answering a question about the Final Crisis in a panel titled, in other words, counting down to the final crisis.

DC really answered no real questions in this damn panel, other than announce that "Countdown's" title will be renamed "Countdown to Final Crisis." Not that they are answering questions about the final crisis today. Come back tomorrow.

I love DC -- but crap, man!

Study shows PS2 is still King

I was just reading a story that came over the AP wire, about the new Nielsen Gameplay Metrics system of monitoring video game use. It states that, in June, just over 42 percent of all video game play was on the PlayStation 2.

Not the PS3. 42% on the PS2! And 17% for original Xbox!

Where did the Next-Gen systems stand? 8% of all game play was on a Xbox 360, 4% was on a Wii, and 1.5% on a PS3. These numbers hold pretty true to the current numbers on how many of each console have been sold as well.

Still, it's a bit of a shocker that, despite the fact that the next-generation has been in full swing for a year (for Xbox 2 years), PS2 is still far and away king of the hill.

It will be interesting to see just how fast these numbers change beginning with the August statistics, though, with big releases for Xbox 360, PS3 and Madden Football for each.

Wednesday Roundup

Wow, Eight posts today! How's that for making up for lost time? I also realize that so many posts in a short time can make a few of them get lost in the mix, so I'm going to re-post links to all eight, in chronological order:

1) He wants to be your SLEDGEHAMMER

2) Gaming Geek Updates

3) Xbox 360 Price Drop

4) In the Words of Phil Strum, "SpiderBalls"

5) The All-New Booster Gold

6) Justice Society #8

7) Teen Titans/Comic Con

8) Buy Pile Report

Buy Pile Report

After how horrible Teen Titans #49 was (See post below!) I knew this Buy Pile could only get better. Surprisingly, it got better with Countdown #40.

Yes, I'll repeat that, Countdown was - gulp - Good this week. Not great, but good. And, on page 14, after waiting for so long after his initial scene in issue #51, we get to see DARKSEID! And, ole' Stoneface is shown with a Concubine! Can you imagine it? Darkseid with a concubine?!? Of course he vaporized her as soon as she spoke out of turn, but still, who pictures Darkseid gettin' it on?

We get a good deal of Jason Todd and Donna Troy's group in this one, which is one of the few storylines I'm enjoying in this series. Jason gets all badass on us, threatening to slice an enemy's face open during a fight, somehow resolving itself with everyone becoming friends. Still, it all works, and for the first time in a long time, Countdown was GOOD.

What else was good? Green Lantern Corps #14! It's the Sinestro Corps War, Man, of course it's good! Sinestro and Natu face off (With the big "S" kicking the newcomer around) but he also is laying down some Sinister plan by putting her in charge of Korugar, just to keep her out of the war. Not too many major developments other than this, but some great infantry action made this issue work great.

X-Men First Class #2 was fantastic as well (but then, you all know how I love this series). Great action, good jokes, and an intriguing story that, for the first time, did NOT wrap up in one issue! We have our first multi-part story. Still, the story has not felt decompressed, it still has the same old pacing, the story is just bigger.

That was the Good... now what is the bad?

Surprisingly, Incredible Hulk #108 was nothing to write home about. Combining with the fact that World War Hulk #2 was nothing special last week, and all of a sudden, this event has lost all of its considerable steam.

IH #108 had a decent story device going for it, comparing Rick Jones' history with the Hulk with Miek's history, with the intention of showing the parallel -- what kind of man Hulk was on Earth and what kind he was in space -- but the story just takes too damn long to be considered much more than a filler episode. I mean, Hulk didn't speak one word or advance at the least from where he was at the end of #107.

What else was bad? Wonder Woman #11. And this really disappointed me, because for 18 pages or so, I was finally feeling like Amazons Attack was starting to fulfill its promise. The JLA and JSA was teaming up to kick some ass, and Wonder Woman was flying full speed right at a Nuclear Missile aimed at her Amazons' Paradise. So what happens? Does Wonder Woman detonate the missile high above the air herself, taking the full impact onto her heroic self?

NO! The Giant visage of Athena appears and tells Diana how angry she is that Diana is trying to stop the war. Athena! Why can't we settle this war without ridiculous giant magical ghosts?!? Just as I thought "Amazons" was finally on track, it goes off the rails faster and farther than ever before.

I'm so upset I'm just ending this here. Well, that and the fact that I had run out of things to write about.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Teen Titans/Comic Con

So, I just got finished reading "Teen Titans #49," the first comic I picked to read this week, due to the fact that #50 will basically re-load the series and I wanted to see how they led into it.

And while the issue was kinda confusing and kinda crappy -- the art kinda stunk and the story wrapped up waaaay too sugary -- the intriguing part of the issue turned out to be the DC Nation page, which is equipped with a DC schedule at Comic Con Thursday-Sunday.

The biggest panels? Thursday at 12:15 p.m. there is a "Countdown" panel, Friday at 6 p.m. a "DC Nation" panel, and Saturday at 1:30 p.m. "DCU: New Worlds Order."

And remember, portions of Comic Con will be shown on the G4 Network on Thursday and Friday.

Oh, but back to Titans for a minute. I'm going to spoil the ending here -- Robin and Wonder Girl kiss again. Now, forget for a minute the fact that Tim and Cassie are a horrible match and Tim would never do this to his best buddy dead Superboy -- I'm more concerned with the fact that over in Robin's own title, he's crushing on a non-powered girl in his high school named Zoanne (I think).

Ordinarily I would attribute this to bad editing, not communicating one writer's plans to another -- but for now both Teen Titans and Robin is being written by Adam Beechen! Sure, he'll be off both books real soon, but still, if you are trying to give Tim a love interest in his own book, don't have him hookin' up with Cassie in another book! Have a sense of continuity! Unless we never hear about Tim liking Zoanne again, this is some piss-poor writing.

Justice Society #8

Hey, just so you all know, although Justice Society #8 was solicited to come out today, and even DC has it listed as such still, I did not see it today when I was picking up my stack at the Dragon's Den.

Further, several message board reports have also said the issue was not shipped this week.

So, for any of you confused JSA fans (I'm one of them!) it looks like we haven't missed anything, and we'll only have to wait one more week for our fix. If only they marketed a nicotene patch, only instead of nicotene, it offered a dose of Geoff's JSA.

The All-New Booster Gold

If you've been reading the blog in the past months, you know I am a die-hard fan of the old "Justice League International" years, and an even bigger fan of Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) and Booster Gold.

So, the beginning of "All-New Booster Gold" in August has me especially pumped. I was so excited reading the Comic Book Resources interview with series writers Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz and artist Dan Jurgens that I just had to post the link HERE.

It's good stuff kids!

In the Words of Phil Strum, "SpiderBalls"

My Journal buddy and Pro Wrestling blogger Phil Strum sent me an e-mail today, simply titled "SpiderBalls."

The e-mail contained THIS LINK, to an interview between Pro Wrestler Balls Mahoney and Stan "The Man" Lee. Apparently Ole' Balls is appearing on the second season of "Who Wants to be a Superhero" (Starting this week!) so he sat down to interview Stan.

While the interview won't really give us hardcore fans any new information, it's still some great classic Stan Lee stuff:

" Mahoney: Okay, well, since you’ve brought me up, some folks in ECW have called me “Captain Caveman” simply because of my appearance. I have long hair, some missing teeth, tattoos, body piercings and let’s be honest, my body’s not made out of granite, you know? But I’m tough, and I fight for what’s right in the ring. What do you think, Stan, am I superhero material? What name would you think about giving me?

Lee: I don’t know why they would call you Captain Neanderthal.

Mahoney: [Laughs]

Lee: You know, when you walked in, I said to myself, “My God, it’s James Bond!” "

Xbox 360 Price drop

The Hollywood Reporter is, well, reporting, that Microsoft is planning on dropping the Xbox 360's price by $50 on August 8th.

I know, in the past I've strongly urged against trusting rumors, but this one sounds legit.

And when (if) this happens, how bad does this make Sony look? I mean, first Sony claims they dropped their price, then they revealed that the price drop is just so they can get rid of the out-dated soon to be extinct 60-gig models, and Now Sony's competition is going to go EVEN LOWER!

This means that while you will soon HAVE to pay $599 for an 80 gig PS3 and "Motorstorm" (who wants that?!?), you will be able to buy a good 20-gig Xbox for $350 or a 120-gig model for $430!

Who is running Sony nowadays?!? Bill Gates is owning you, boys!

Gaming Geek updates

Hey, remember when I said the ole' Gaming Geek schedule would be back on track last week? Well, home computer problems made it so that couldn't happen. But tonight we WILL be back on track with the weekly comics Buy Pile Report. So, sorry for anyone who was not able to look at the weekly release list this morning before going to the store, if it makes you feel better, I was in the dark as well.

Another update: I was just told by the Poughkeepsie Journal's head hanchos that we cannot have YouTube videos on the blog anymore. It blows, I agree. Either way, in the coming days I'll be removing the videos I put up, so if you are dying to see Superman in Rocky 3 one last time or the old Japanese Zelda commercials, go into the archives and see them before I get to them later tonight!

He wants to be your SLEDGEHAMMER

I think Someone's been listening to too much Peter Gabriel... Get a Load of this story, out of the news capital of the world, Milwaukee...

A couple of kids broke into a Target store with a SLEDGEHAMMER and smashed the glass in the video game case to steal one game.

Let me repeat that. A SLEDGEHAMMER! How great is that?!? Only in mid-West, Man, robbing a store with a Sledgehammer rather than a gun or knife. Sure, they really should have stolen more than One game after going to all that effort, but still, how cool is using a Sledgehammer?!?

Personally, I would probably get caught while doing it, because I'd probably just start spouting crap like "By the power of Odin, the Mighty Thor shall smash thy glass! Have at Thee!"

Monday, July 23, 2007

Report on the 4400: "The Marked"

Last week I said how disappointed I was that the 4400's writers didn't make a major shocking status change in giving Tom Baldwin The Shot.

I apparently it was just a little game of misdirection. And I Bit HARD.

I bow to you 4400 writers, for although I knew you were not scared of change, even I could never have guessed this. Tom Baldwin now has a spy living in his head just waiting to hijack his body.

That's right, Tom Baldwin. The same person the future enlisted to be their present-day soldier now has a sleeper cell in his brain. I swear, I need to start wearing a chin-strap when watching this show, my jaw drops too often.

I mean, the idea of this secret opposing force to the 4400 was mind-blowing enough -- and tying in Matthew Ross made the story instantly believable, even though it's obvious that this storyline is a completely new idea the writers had recently.

And I'll give you one prediction right off the bat on this subject -- New NTAC Head Megan IS A MEMBER OF THE MARKED. I'll give you one better -- Tom is going to be the one to find out, after she and Tom get very chummy, if you know what I mean, and he gets real close to her ear.

If all of this "Marked" stuff was all we got this episode, I would have been satisfied. It was all fantastic. But we also did get plenty of Shawn/Collier stuff to mull over too. The two confront and finally Shawn officially cuts ties with Jordan. It was a scene that went very predictably, but necessary none the less.

And now the question becomes -- Should Shawn have healed Gabriel Pruitt? Personally, I think this will bite him in the hide. Guys with Pruitt's M.O. don't suddenly change their stripes. But still, the idea that possibly Shawn changed the course of history simply by doing the right thing would be a nice thing to see happen. Doubtful, but nice none the less. Would Shawn have healed him if he didn't expect Collier of foul play? Is that enough to change history?

So then... random thoughts, anyone?

1) Could that software guy be any more of a Bill Gates knockoff?

2) I like how Collier moved over 100 people into the bomb shelter, yet we only see three of them... in that tiny bomb shelter... three out of 100... realistic...

3) In the preview for next week, it seems Maia is going to join Collier. Apparently she really liked that PSP he bought her. Imagine if he got her a Nintendo DS!

4) I ask this as I do nearly every week... Are we sure "The Future" are the good guys?

5) Marco has to get over Diana already! I mean, I know she's Australian and all, but there are other Kangaroos in the Outback, mate!

6) I REALLY Hope they don't reveal Peter Coyote as a Marked. It would cheapen seasons 1-3.

7) FINALLY we have an explanation of where Matthew Ross came from!!!

8) I think the theme to this season is "Let's see how many people want to inject Tom with stuff"

9) I Love the consistent tension between Diana and Megan. I cannot remember one scene where they were really getting along with no edge in Diana's voice... which will only make things tougher when Marked Megan and Marked Tom start hookin' up...

10) What episode are we up to? Episode six or so this year? I have honestly been on the edge of my seat for five of them. Let's just hope this keeps up!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Another Apology... blame RainKhan...

Yeah, I went MIA on all of you again. I've been up to my ears in poker stories, a game that while I've always been fond of but I'm no expert, so I've been doing my darndest to learn as much as I possibly can in a short amount of time to write solid World Series/Hevad Khan stories. In fact, Just to prove to you all that I wasn't just abandoning you, here's the link for all the RainKhan stories I've done in the last few days. And yes, I'm sorry, we now know he's a 2003 Spartan, not 2002.

1) Poughkeepsie's Khan rolling at Main Event

Khan still hot at poker's Main Event

3) Poughkeepsie's Khan quieter at Main Event

Playing to win

5) Poker ace hits it big

6) Poughkeepsie's Khan places sixth

There you go, six stories for the sixth-place finisher (and first in your hearts, of course). Well, six stories plus the dozens of Web updates. Is that enough to cheer you up? No? Then how about a little YouTube fun?

Saw that already? Then how about we give you the interview he did with after ending his World Series run?

As you can see, the man can talk FAST. The next time I interview him, I'm certainly going to have to be talking to him in person when I can use a tape recorder! But In the few conversations I've had with Hevad I can tell you, he's a good guy, no matter what you think of his Zany Celebrations (personally, I love them), so here's hoping he can keep taking down the big money.

But hey, I'll be back on my normal schedule of providing video game and comic book release lists, news and opinions in no time, so stick with the ole' Gaming Geek blog, if you know what's good for you!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Report on the 4400: "Try the Pie"

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't able to devote 100% of my attention to the episode this week. I'm actually watching it again right now to make up for the fact that a good portion of my attention all night has went to following the World Series of Poker updates, hoping that Poughkeepsie's own Hevad Khan is able to make the final table.

But, I do have one enormous bad taste in my mouth over what I did see. What it comes down to is, you don't show Tom Baldwin getting shot with a needle of supposedly Promicin, and then wait 10 minutes to reveal that he wasn't shot with Promicin, but rather a sedative.

They showed Tom getting injected, and quickly went to break. My jaw dropped. As I said, I would not have been surprised if these writers had the balls to give Tom the shot, but still, when it "happened" I was FLOORED. And all I could think was, "you know, that could have just been a sedative."

But then they didn't say it was. They gave no hint that it wasn't promicin. I actually started to buy that they had given him the shot -- and you know what? I was really liking the idea.

But still, I would have been fine with it being a sedative if they just said it was immediately! I know, I know, they tried to create drama by revealing that Kyle could not pull the trigger, but it just didn't work for me. It felt like a cheap way of suddenly pulling back from the edge, and ruined what was previously a BRILLIANT episode.

I mean, a whole secret town full of shot-takers? BRILL-I-ANT! And I love how the town manages to not only convince Tom they aren't a threat, but also, they convinced the viewers that, hey, maybe Jordan for once isn't working an angle here. And at the last moment -BAM- There's the catch there, Tom (and, again, US) is reminded why the shot is bad. Death.

And we get another great performance out of the new and improved Shawn Farrell. Remember how I was saying that, this time, Shawn would be a stellar leader because he is choosing to be, rather than forced to be? Well confronting your enemy on his home turf and getting into his head is a piece of terrific leading. Playing the game on your own terms, without really becoming a bad guy (like if he were to have just off-ed him).

Anyway, let's get to everyone's favorite, the Random Thoughts:

1) Finally a use for Maia! Let's have her say nothing and just use her for her ability, while she is hardly ever seen!

2) Why would Jordan allow the, Let's call it Promicin Harvesting, to happen in the house while Baldwin was there? OF COURSE Tom is gonna smell something is up!

3) I'm loving how they are using Heather Tobey. She's the best.

4) Is it just me, or was this Jordan Collier a VERY different character than we've seen in the past? I can't put my finger on it, just feel like Billy Campbell is suddenly playing him differently...

5) I don't think Maia is having visions. I don't care what we're being led to believe, the fact that she saw the politician's face the night after she had just saw him on TV tells me she was simply incorporating him into a dream. Plus, they badly need to have one time that she's wrong.

6) I wish my shrink gave me a rock at the end of each session...

7) Come to think of it, I wish my shrink looked like that actress!

8) Now everyone is going to think I go to a shrink. I may need one, but I don't actually go to one.

9) I would love to see what other countries think of this whole Promicin thing. I mean, being in the state of Washington already, could all these 4400's just go to Canada and be free? Canada isn't so bad, I mean, they have all the Curling you can watch, all the pancakes you can eat, that sounds sweet to me!

10) My whole "People get the power they most desire when they take the shot" theory my have been proven false in this episode. I mean, unless that little boy wished to be able to scream, and that guy who's fingers are like a cigarette lighter really likes to smoke.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Screw the sunlight. I want it to be October.



I spotted advance solicitations for DC on Newsarama today, and this picture is what I found for Justice Society #10:

AND, if that's not enough to get your blood pumping, this is the solicitation:

" Alex Ross joins Geoff Johns as co-writer for Part 1 of “Thy Kingdom Come,” the epic story years in the making, springing from KINGDOM COME! Not a hoax! Not a dream! Not an imaginary story! Welcome the newest member to the Justice Society of America: the Kingdom Come Superman!
Coming from an Earth plagued by heroes-gone-extreme, how will this Superman react to an incarnation of the Justice Society he never knew? This Superman’s world needed better heroes.
So does ours.

Will Kal stay with the JSA after this arc? Who knows! All I do know is this is my favorite version of any Superman and any DC character (other than Ted Kord) EVER, so I am throwing a fanboy fit right now.

To quote my boy Brian Hodge: "Wow. What else can I say but wow? What a minute. That needs an exclamation point. WOW!"

Friday, July 13, 2007

Saturday's Gaming in the Journal

Folks, we have a BLOCKBUSTER Gaming page for you on Saturday, located on page 2C of the Poughkeepsie Journal.

If you're wondering why I have not been posting much in the past few days, its because I've been getting this page ready in every bit of free time I had.

This week we have a story on the current state of the next-gen console wars, a blow-by-blow account of Nintendo's show-stealing E3 presentation (both written by yours truly), a fantasy baseball column, and, of course, news from the World Series of Poker.

And while the stories are great, the page looks even nicer. I don't just throw this term around, because that way when I use it you know I'm serious, but it would be more than fair to call this page "Fancy-Schmancy." YES, FANCY-SCHMANCY! If you don't believe me, pick it up and see!

Oh, and for you poker fans, we also found out late Thursday the online poker pro currently climbing the leaderboard at the World Series of Poker's Main Event, Hevad Khan, is a Poughkeepsie Resident! So we rounded up some great info on him and put it right across the top of the Sports section's cover.

All in all, this Gaming content in the Poughkeepsie Journal alone should be enough to make you want to spend that 50 cents and make my week's work worthwhile.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Nintendo's E3 News

For as annoying as all of those Wii/DS News story Montages were, that was some presentation from Nintendo. And you have to love how the House that Mario built managed to completely avoid answering the biggest question facing the Wii -- and still managed to blow people away.

What is Nintendo's answer to the question of losing their hardcore gaming audience? More Fad-peripherals and games featuring the Nintendo franchises!

No less than THREE extra Wii-peripherals were shown off: 1) Wii-Zapper, making the Wii-mote and Nunchuck into a gun looking kinda like a Howitzer, for use in first person shooters like "Medal of Honor," and it will be sold with software for $19.99. 2) Wii-Steering Wheel, which is essential just a circular holder for the Wii-mote, and it will move for free with MARIO KART for the Wii, which supposedly is coming out in the first quarter of 2008 (which means more like Spring or Summer of 2008). 3) And, finally, The Wii Fitness Board -- a scale-looking platform that can read not only your weight, but also your balance and weight shifting around. IT will be used in a new game called "WiiFit," and Miyamoto said the board can also be used in the future with other types of software (Expect a skateboarding game in the next year).

Oh, and by the way, Mario Kart will be one of the first games that let you PLAY ONLINE!

Not only that, but the new Metroid, Mario, and Smash Bros. games all now have dates, with Metroid out in August, Mario in November, and Smash Bros. in early December.

I'm still of the opinion that the Wii does not have enough hardcore gaming software to make it my Primary Gaming option. But with games like Mario Kart and "Mario Galaxy," it sure does look appealing to even a staunch Wii-Skeptic like myself. If you're going to try and grab every non-hardcore gamer out there, making a gun for first person shooters and a board made simply for fitness is a great way to continue their progress.

More thoughts from the E3 presentations to come...

Microsoft's E3 News

So, yes, it's 4:30 in the morning, and I'm just about finished watching the tape of Microsoft's E3 Presentation that aired on G4 tonight, and I have to say, for as fun a presentation it has been, between the live rock-style Halo music performance and all of the clips, I have to say, this was incredibly uneventful.

The biggest announcements here was Disney movies becoming available on Xbox's Marketplace and Xbox games heading to Windows... Microsoft boasted at the start of the show that all the games featured would be available in 2007 -- but they were all games we already were sure would be coming out in 2007.

Meanwhile, they quickly slip under the rug the fact that "Too Human" is being pushed back to 2008.

Lots of flash, glitz and glamour, but this presentation really did not have the substance needed to put pressure on Nintendo and Sony... which reminds me, remember to tune into G4 at Noon Wednesday for those presentations!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

This week's comic expectations

Obviously, this week we have some perennial favorites. From Marvel we have X-Factor #21 and New Avengers #32, while DC is offering Justice Society #7 and Fables #63. But, there are also a few titles outside of your normal Buy Pile you may want to check out this week...

Green Lantern #21 is the most obvious of these titles. If you jumped off board Geoff Johns' Hal Jordan revival in the last few issues (I know I did!) then this is the time to get back on the bandwagon. Last week's "Sinestro Corps. Special," the Green Lantern family of books is the place to be in the DC Universe. Sinestro has assembled the most outrageous collection of bad guys comics has seen since the Super Friends' Legion of Doom, including the Anti-Monitor and Superboy Prime, not to mention Kyle Rayner, possessed by Parallax. I really don't think I need to say more.

But, another Green title, Green Arrow: Year One #1, might be another book to give a chance to. The "Year One" line has produced consistently good and original stories, and Oliver Queen is certainly a character that can produced a great gritty story. Especially considering this character has seen so many incarnations recently, between his character on "Smallville" and the upcoming "Supermax" movie, this story should offer another fresh take on the character.

A surprise book last month, Sub-Mariner #2 is another dark horse book to check out. Namor has always been a character that works best when he is on his own and indignant, and the first issue of this mini-series set him up to be just that. There is a growing movement in Atlantis to impeach the Prince, and a conspiracy trying to incite an American/Atlantian War behind his back, so Namor has packed his ego and hit the road on the path to the truth and (likely) violent consequences.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Wednesday's comic release list

We have some fantastic DC titles on the shelves this week, and a couple from Marvel too... One darkhorse to look out for? Green Arrow: Year One

100 Bullets #84
Batman Confidential #7
Batman Strikes #35
Cartoon Network Action Pack #15
Countdown #42
Dmz #21
Fables #63
Friday The 13th Pamelas Tale #1
Gen 13 #10
Green Arrow Year One #1
Green Lantern #21
Grifter Midnighter #5
JLA Classified #40
Justice Society Of America #7
Shadowpact #15
Stormwatch #9
Superman #664
Superman Confidential #5

Amazing Spider-Girl #10
Anita Blake First Death #1
Annihilation Conquest Wraith #1
Blade #11
Civil War Chronicles #1
Deadpool Summer Fun Spectacular
Exiles #96
Fantastic Five #1
Hedge Knight 2 Sworn Sword #2
New Avengers #32
New Excalibur #21
Nova #4
Omega Flight #4
Punisher War Journal #9
Red Prophet Tales Of Alvin Maker #9
Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane #20
Sub-Mariner #2
Ultimate X-Men #84
World War Hulk Gamma Corps #1
X-Factor #21

Alien Pig Farm #4
Amory Wars #2
Banzai Girls #2
Battlestar Galactica #11
Betty & Veronica Digest #176
Blade Of The Immortal #127
Bprd Garden Of Souls #5
Chucky #3
Code #3
Consumed #1
Dust #1
Freshmen Vol 2 #6
Guardian Alpha One Shot
India Authentic Indra #3
Jugheads Double Digest #132
Nexus #99 Space Opera Act 1 Of 4
Nicolas Cages Voodoo Child #1
Repo #2
Sabrina Vol 2 #86
Sonic The Hedgehog #177
Spawn #169
Star Wars Legacy #14
Star Wars Rebellion #8
Stephen Colberts Tek Jansen #1
Texas Strangers #2
Veronica #181
Witchblade #108
Witchblade Takeru Manga #6

Xombie #3

This week's video game releases

Hey! In all the excitement over the PS3 announcement on Sunday night, I forgot to give the short but distinguished list of games coming out this week!

July 9:
Mach Rider (Wii)
Yoshi (Wii)
Air Zonk (Wii)
Jewels of Cleopatra (PC)

July 10:
Project Slypheed (Xbox 360)
Sword of the New World: Granado Espana (PC)
Smash Court Tennis 3 (PSP)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Gameboy Advance)
Chicken Shoot (Nintendo DS)
Taito Legends 2 (PC)
Lottso (PC)
Vegas Casino High 5 (Nintendo DS)

Sony drops price on current PS3, announces new model

Sony told the Associated Press on Sunday, and it was (possibly illegally) announced by, that they will release a new PlayStation 3 model in August, one with an 80-gigabyte hard drive, and it will come with "Motorstorm."

They also said the current 60-gig model will drop down in price to $499, while the current model will retail for $599.

Is it just me, or does this move seem just about as desperate as desperate can be? I mean, First they put a console on sale for far too much, considering the fact that there were no games worth playing for nearly a YEAR, then, just as decent games are set to come out, they drop the price on the machine??? The damn thing is only just now worth buying! I mean, it's great for the consumers — hell, go out and buy one now if you were thinking about it — but they were already losing money on the console, now they are just going to be losing $100 more per.

Meanwhile — Who really needs 80 gigs of PS3 memory? Do they really think THAT MANY people will want to shell out an extra $100 for 20 extra gigs (when 60 is already a huge amount) and a game that's been out for a while? If you're going to package a game, package something slick, like "Lair!" Or package an extra controller, like the old Nintendo Entertainment System days.

This move just confuses the crap out of me. Who is making these decisions at Sony? In the short run, yes, this will take a small amount of the market share away from Microsoft's Xbox. I cannot deny that price came into play when I was making the decision of which to buy for my own amusement. But in terms of thinking as a company on the whole — this is only going to cause the company to lose money selling tons of a machine that costs them tons and selling few of a machine that costs them less.

The sad thing is, this strikes me as a last-ditch effort to save a once prominent video game franchise that is currently getting beaten in the hardcore gaming department by Microsoft and beaten in every other department by the Wii. And if this truly is the last effort before the third-party game makers pull out for good and Sony has to think twice about a video game department, then we might as well say goodbye to the PlayStation right now.

It's happened before, folks. Anyone remember the Atari Jaguar? The Neo-Geo? When a company made a couple of mistakes making people pay much too much for top of the line technology? It's just another case of history repeating itself.

If you really want a PS3, then by all means, jump on board right now. But you're sadly jumping on board a sinking ship. Say Hi to Leo DiCaprio for me.

Report on the 4400: "The Truth and Nothing but the"

Before we get too far into this week's episode, I want to put something out on paper that is starting to become evident, and has been building since the first episode of this season: People that take the promicin shot receive an ability matching their needs/desires.

The evidence? Graham (kid from episode one) wanted to be accepted, and he became beloved. The Autistic kid from episode two was constantly fearful, so he got the ability to incite fear in others. The old woman from last week was getting older and immobile, and she received the ability to be everywhere, pain free. Kyle wanted to become part of something bigger than himself, and gain the ability to heal Shawn -- and he not only is now the ringleader of something bigger than himself, but that ability led him to helping Shawn.

As I said, it's been heavily hinted to before, but after tonight's episode, seeing April -- a character that felt hurt and betrayed and lied to -- received the ability to always know the truth, and it solidified things for me. The only question now is just how soon this story idea pays off.

Anyway, onto the actual episode. This week's storyline, with April messing with the wrong people and having hitmen after her and whatnot -- it didn't really do much for me... but everything going on outside of the storyline was pretty intriguing stuff.

I like the angle the show is taking with Shawn. He's always been a 4400 in the limelight, and he is the most logical choice to be the first 4400 elected official. However, I don't trust this senator guy who is directing him. I know, I know, we're not supposed to trust him, and maybe, with television logic, that will make the most unexpected turn simply that he is in fact trustworthy. Still, Shawn is a character that has been used before...

And the teaming of Isabelle with Kyle REALLY works for me. Since Isabelle was depowered and imprisoned, she is a much more humble and lost character -- and I think this is logical, like a kid who was just given its first spanking. A little less bold, a little more hesitant. Like Kyle, she's looking to be a part of something. Her as a soldier in this growing Collier movement is very appealing to me.

But the biggest heart stopping moment was certainly the last moments -- the list of the "Chosen" 200 people that need to take the shot. Something about this show makes me feel like the writers would not be afraid to give Tom an ability. Its crazy. Its wild. Its the last thing that people would think of. This is the human compass of the show, for God sakes! Its INSANE! Which is exactly why I'm kind of expecting Kyle to get away with giving the shot to his father, whether he likes it or not.

And, if Tom had just killed Isabelle when he was SUPPOSED TO, then she would have never been around to translate that for Kyle... when you think about it...

Good episode, folks! Want some random thoughts? I'd be happy to!

1) How pissed is Shawn going to be when he finds out Kyle and Isabelle are sleeping together? You just know they will be soon...

2) April getting hired to become a government interrogator was just obvious.

3) Oh, and April working for the Feds made me think of how they used Gary Navarro... and, come to think of it, they've also used Shawn and Alana at times... Gosh, the government sure does love 4400's when they are useful, doesn't it? Ya think maybe that angle will come into play sometime soon?

4) If Shawn is throwing himself into a council position, when is he going to be running this re-opened 4400 Center?

5) Where is Dennis Ryland?!? Its been four episodes, with no mention of Haspell Corp! All this promicin shot stuff is right up his alley!

6) I'm kinda happy Ben is out of the immediate picture. That character is way too bland and perfect. Sure, let him marry Diana someday, just let that day be AFTER the show is canceled in a few years.

7) So, we got to see Maia this episode! For... um... 2 seconds... before she ran into her room... As I said, they've run out of things to do with her...

8) I love Kyle's character this season... but he's really not too bright... "This Book was written 85 years ago!" ... Kyle! You're dealing with a bunch of people from the future who don't mind fucking with the past!

9) Oh, and on another "Kyle's a moron" point... he tried lying to Tom "Mr. NTAC" Baldwin? Doesn't he realize his Dad finds out the truth about EVERYTHING?

10) Now that we know that everyone gets their heart's desire by taking the shot... I wonder what Danny Farrel's desire is?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

PS3 on SALE!

No, sorry, its not the price drop everyone's been hoping for... but it isn't bad either... This week at Circuit City you can buy the $599 60 gig PS3 and receive a FREE CONTROLLER. That's a 50 buck value, that just about everyone spends when buying the system, since who only buys 1 controller?

Think about it — even if this $100 price drop happens soon, you'll still be shelling out another $50 for the extra controller... so this Sale is pretty darned good, if you ask me. If you've been thinking about buying a ps3 soon, this may be the deal to pounce on. Or you could wait and see if the $499 rumors are true.

I found the Sale in the weekly advertisement in the Sunday paper... I also found McDonald's coupons to get a 20-piece McNuggets and 2 Medium Fries for $5.99... one of these two deals I've already taken advantage of. Guess which one?

EDIT: 11:15 p.m.: By the way, I realize how ridiculous this post looks now, but I figure if you can't laugh at yourself what can you laugh at?

Saturday, July 7, 2007

New comic book store in the area

Driving to work today on route 55, I spotted a giant yellow sign saying "Upstate Comics." I pulled into the parking lot as quickly as I could (possibly endangering cars behind me, I wasn't paying so much attention) and walked to the door, only to find an empty (but for a few action figures) store with a sign that said "Grand Opening: July 27th."

The store, which is kind of right in between LaGrange and Freedom Plains (near the McDonald's) looks a bit small, but for residents of the area, as well as towns like Millbrook and Pawling and Red Hook, it seems like a viable and closer location to pick up your weekly stack.

I, for one, am pumped now because, as much as I like the Dragon's Den on route 9, Upstate Comics is right on my normal route to work. And, I like that one of those action figures already on the shelves was an X-Factor costume Cyclops. It's a good sign.

Friday, July 6, 2007

In Saturday's Gaming page

The World Series of Poker's Main Event is here, and since the Journal's Gaming page isn't JUST about video games, I decided to blowout the poker coverage in Saturday's edition (page 2C in the Journal's Sports Section).

The good news for you non-poker lovers is that you can still enjoy the page for pure aesthetic beauty. This is one of my favorite looking pages for the entire year that we've been running a Gaming page -- right up there with our fantasy football and baseball draft previews and that one week when I made the whole page look like a hockey rink.

So read the poker goodness, and some video game notes as well. Sorry, but no fantasy sports column this week.

Oh, and if you haven't read my feature on Marist graduate Kathy Liebert (Bluff power rankings' 7th best poker player in the WORLD), check it out HERE.

Best of June

Hey! Whaddaya know, it's July! I forgot all about rounding up a few of my favorite posts from June. I tend to lose track of time in a big way... which tends to hurt me when I'm labeling the top of the pages I layout here at the Journal...

Either way, here's three of June's best:

Zelda II: The (lack of) Adventure of Link

Life and Death

Who Wants to be a Superhero Again?

The New Outsiders

In Outsiders #49, DC released an image of what appears to be the new re-vamped Batman-picked team of Outsiders that will launch with five one-shots (supposedly in each one, two characters face off in some test to see who will be on the team) and Outsiders #50... here's the image...
Umm, am I the only one now that has absolutely no interest in buying the five one-shots? I mean, I know DC has been going teaser-crazy with Countdown and all, but this one seems to only hurt their bottom line (not that I'm complaining!)

What I am complaining about (other than the crappy drawing of J'onn J'onzz in his crappy new outfit) is the lack of Nightwing on this team! And I mean this in the most non-fanboy way possible, but I'm kinda disappointed now that we won't get to see the Batman in-charge of Nightwing's domain dynamic. It would have made for some good stories.

PS3 Price drop? Yes? No?

You have to love the world of Internet rumors.

If you go to G4's "The Feed" blog, you will become convinced that Circuit City, starting July 15, will have the 60 gig PS3 on sale for $499. Really! Check THIS LINK! It's a fact!

Umm, but wait a minute there... if you read GameSpot's news updates at THIS LINK, you'll read that Sony representatives are already claiming this rumor to be false... But... but... The Feed was so sure!

The truth is, we're all not going to learn the truth until the price actually drops. And frankly (and this is just my opinion, not an assertion of facts like SOME SITES), frankly I don't know why Sony would ever drop the price of their system when all the games they've been promoting as incredible are just about to come out in the next four months. Companies tend to drop the price on things when there is no reason to buy them anymore, not when they are only just now becoming useful.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

My Absence

So, loyal readers, I guess an explanation is in order, huh? Yes, I know, there aren't many of you loyal readers, or at least not as many as there should be, but still you should know why it has been nearly 6 days since my last post, missing oh so much.

For the first time in a looooong time, this past weekend I actually left my computer for an extended period of time. I know, its a geek no-no. The girlfriend and I drove out to Hershey Park, where we proceeded to have plenty of still-young-enough-to-not-look-ridiculous-on-rides fun — that is, until we got flipped over on a water tube and sustained cuts, bruises and muscle pulls. Not fun stuff, my friends.

And, once we finally limped our beaten asses back home to New York, I then had to finally get around to writing my feature for the cover of the paper on Marist graduate Kathy Liebert (aka the Poker Kat), and how she is doing at the World Series of Poker.

All in all, its been a heck of a last week, and it wasn't until I heard about Xbox's Warranty extension that I was suddenly jolted back into the world of professional geek blogger.

So I apologize for the lack of features this week, I'll be back on track beginning Friday.

Oh, and by the way, if you run into a man named R. Michael Brace (the head of guest services at Hershey Park), do me a favor and insult his momma. had I more energy, I'd explain why. he deserves it!

Microsoft extends Xbox Warranty

Microsoft made one of the smartest moves of the video game year today, opting to extend all Xbox 360 Warranties in the United States to THREE YEARS! Yes, THREE YEARS! What was originally 90 days became 1 year a few months ago, and now anyone with an Xbox 360 has THREE YEARS of coverage!

Why is this so smart, you ask? Well how many of you had the "Red Ring of Death" impact your choice of which next-gen system to buy? I know I was a little worried about it when I bought mine.

Well now, if you get the ole' Red Ring? No problem!

Here's a bit from the AP story:
"SEATTLE — Microsoft Corp. on Thursday extended the warranty on its Xbox 360 to three years after too many of the video game consoles have succumbed to “general hardware failure.”
The company said it will record a $1.05 billion to $1.15 billion charge for the fourth quarter that ended Saturday to pay for “anticipated costs.”
Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division, which makes the Xbox 360 and the Zune digital music player, reported an operating loss of $315 million on $929 million in sales in the third quarter this year.
“We don’t think we’ve been getting the job done,” said Robbie Bach, president of the division. “In the past few months, we have been having to make Xbox 360 console repairs at a rate too high for our liking.”
Bach said the company made some manufacturing and production changes that he expects will reduce Xbox 360 hardware meltdowns, which are indicated by three flashing red lights on the front of the console.
The executive declined to identify the problems Microsoft fixed, or say what problems remain that could prompt general hardware failure. Bach also would not say how many gamers have sent in machines for repair — just that the percentage is “bigger than we are comfortable with.”
Microsoft will pay for shipping and repairs for three years, worldwide, for consoles afflicted with what gamers casually call “the red ring of death.” Previously, the warranty expired after 1 year for U.S. customers and 2 years for Europeans.
Microsoft also will reimburse the “small number” of Xbox 360 owners who have paid for shipping and repairs on out-of-warranty consoles, Bach said. "