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Published January 24, 2008

Hey everyone! It’s Thursday, so you know what that means….blooooog time!

It’s been a really busy week or two, so I thought today I’d just share a few cool things I’ve encountered in the past little while and hope that some of you care.

First of all, I was up until about 3:00 AM last night, for the first time in a long time, playing a game that I just couldn’t put down; Half Life 2: Episode 2. That’s right ladies and gents, my time with the Orange Box has officially come to an end, but let me just say that it couldn’t have been any more spectacular. If you haven’t played Episode 2 yet, (let alone the rest of the HL series) , you need to stop what you’re doing and go pick up the Orange Box. Seriously, just leave and go play it – this entry will still be here when you get back.

I don’t blame you. Go!

But seriously folks, Episode 2 was absolutely incredible. The entire experience just oozes quality, and once again (as you’d see in my review of Half Life 2) Valve’s storytelling expertise shines through the entire time. It’s really hard to describe how absolutely breathtaking, in every sense of the word, Episode 2 was. Also, check out Kaz’s review. (No spoilers, I promise)


If you don’t know who these two are…shame on you.

I’m also filled to the brim with anticipation over Smash Bros. Brawl, which is now set to release on the 9th of March. You can call me a Smash Bros. fanatic – I’ve played Melee continuously since its December 2001 release with almost every friend I’ve ever had. I love everything about the game, which is why you’ll find it claims the top spot of my Top 5 in my profile. But enough said there. It’s been 7 long years and it’s time for a new beatdown.

Of course the most exciting part of any new fighting game is finding out who makes the character roster. With more of an all-star cast than any other game I could ever think of, Brawl’s roster is going to be absolutely amazing. I’m guessing about 45 characters total, which is about double Melee’s roster. Anyway, the game ships in Japan at the end of the month, so we’ll find out really soon just exactly who made it in the game. Sonic and Snake are in – and that’s alllll I need.

egm-cover.jpgI’d also highly recommend checking out the cover story of the February issue of EGM – if you couldn’t guess from one of the twelve different covers, it’s all about Brawl. But instead of being a straight-up preview of the game, the author, Robert Ashley, talks at length about Nintendo’s role in the game industry as the legendary game developer, whose first-party titles have set the very high standard of quality that other developers have strove to achieve throughout the past few decades. Brawl is also very much a love-letter to its fans. Masahiro Sakurai has given his life throughout the past 2 and a half years to create this game, and trust me – it’s going to show BIG TIME. Anyway, the article is a great read that goes beyond the game and delves into the history of the company as well as the culture of its fans. He talks with several big-name industry players and Nintendo fans such as Gears of War creator Cliffy B, David Jaffe, the man behind Twisted Metal and God of War, Dennis Dyack, the founder of Silicon Knights, Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Ruben, Wired’s Chris Kohler (my personal hero) and Kevin “Raw Meat Cowboy” Cassidy of Let me share with you my favorite portion of the article, hoping that Ziff Davis doesn’t come after me:

“It’s on the tip of your tongue when you rocket from planet to planet in Super Mario Galaxy. You feel it lurking in your subconscious when you scramble up a steep corridor in Metroid Prime 3 or push a puzzle piece into place in Ocarina of Time. It’s a quality possessed by Nintendo’s best in-house games that resists descriptions. Critics call it “polish.” Gamers call it “feel.” Kids just assume it’s magic, and they’re probably closer to the truth.”

Bravo, Rob. I honestly couldn’t say it better myself.

Oh, and for anyone that listens to the EGM live podcast: Shane Bettenhausen was misinformed when he stated on the most recent show that Captain Olimar is the final character in Brawl. There are pleeeeenty more, I assure you, including Gannondorf. (He’s already been confirmed via an interview leak with some character designers) Just felt the need to set that straight. Don’t blame Shane, he just didn’t know.

And lastly for this week, I wanted to let everyone know about a new podcast that IGN is putting out called Game Sages (formerly IGN is AFK). Of course I know you’ll listen to The Rumble Pack first, but Game Sages is pretty neat because it takes some pretty famous game journalists from several different publications and companies and puts them together for a hodge-podge podcast, which is really just a treat to listen to, especially if you know who these guys are. People on the first show include:

IGN Games Editorial Manager Jeremy Dunham

EGM Editor-in-Chief Dan “Shoe” Hsu (seriously, who doesn’t know Shoe?)

OXM Editor-in-Chief Francesca Reyes

GameSpy Console Editor-in-Chief Will Tuttle

and last but not least, Former Gamespot Editorial Director, Jeff Gerstmann

Game Sages Cast

It’s really sad how giddy I’d be to just meet some of these people.

How about that for a podcast? Very nice IGN, very nice indeed. Anyway, give it a listen – it’s a good way to waste an hour or so.

Ok kids, that’s all for this week! Hope you’ve enjoyed reading my rambles, I’m off until next time! See ya!

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