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The Rumble Pack Posts

Slippery Slopes

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This week, EA announced that they’re ready to potentially nickel-and-dime us to death with Battlefield Heroes, a new PC shooter that’s “free to play.” Oh, except players will have the option to purchase in-game items or abilities (remains up in the air at this point) to presumably dominate over their less spendthrift opponents. Now, we are planning to address this business model on our next podcast, but I wanted get my thoughts down while they’re still fresh in my mind. You’ll undoubtedly be seeing knee-jerk reactions on all of your favorite gaming forums just because up until this point, we’ve (Western gamers) have all associated “micro-transactions” with the infamous horse armor and EA’s own downloadable Godfather cheats. However, if done properly, this kind of customer abuse could be a thing of the past.

Putting items up for sale can break a game. I learned this lesson early on in the 360’s lifespan when Sega released additional guns for its online mech battler Chrome Hounds. The weapons available at the outset were pretty well balanced, but for a small sum, anyone could suddenly shower the map with mortar fire or unleash devastating cannons that easily outclassed anything available on the disc. Since then, I haven’t noticed anything that ruinous, but you can be sure that this was the first thing I thought of when Battlefield Heroes was announced. However, this time, EA is telling us beforehand that we’ll be getting a broken game. We know what to expect, and thus we won’t be screwed in the long run.

Episode 28: Love It Hate It

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Another saddening week passes without Justin who will be supplying the main discussion topic for next week. Until then Nick, Kaz, Tom and Tony hit the deck for another intense recording session. Tony leads off the trays with NiGHTS, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and PSP games galore…actually just more Tactics. Tom wanted to beat a game so he went after Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops.  Kaz wanted to beat a game so he finished the ghost of Mass Effect. Nick was on a portable kick as well having taken a trip to DC, which means more FF: Tactics and some Pheonix Wright love, plus horrid tales of Wiis taking a fall. Also, some minor leaks from Nintendo confirm new characters for Brawl (some not so new).

After the break we get into a level headed debate over what games we like that no one else likes and what games we hate that no one else hates. Some very bold statements are made. Then Tony and Kaz go into a tirade of the Kevin McCullough debacle and a discussion of parental controls. We only mention his name because he seems like the kind of person who googles his own name three times a day, hopefully he’ll hear us pass over him like the worthless character he is. Important revelations: Tony likes Quest 64, yeah, that’s what we said too.

 Breaks this week courtesy of the Geoff Keighley spot on FOXnews.


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Hey everyone!

Just wanted to drop a quick note letting you all know that I didn’t forget about updating my blog! It’s been a pretty busy week (I spent the weekend in DC visiting Megan) but now that I’m back I’ll definitely have something to say on Thursday. I’m thinking it might be Smash related. Who knows.

Anyway, I’ll catch you all on Friday! Listen to the show!


My Personal Silent Hill

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Silent Hill VI

What was once exotic and exciting has now become mundane. That’s right folks, after five months as a Shijiazhuangian, I’m officially in a rut. I’m not miserable, but I’m definitely bored, and the dense smog isn’t exactly raising my spirits. Chinese lessons have been going splendidly to the point where I can pick up bits and pieces from eavesdropped conversations, but with public schools shutting down for the winter and my grad school applications virtually done, there’s little else to do to fight off my restlessness. Outside of a ski trip next week (hopefully Alpine Racer 2 has trained me well), there will be little for me to do besides counting the days until my Spring Festival nerd-fest in Tokyo. On a more positive note, at least I’ll be fighting off the tedium in a cushy new apartment. It doesn’t exactly feel like “home,” but it’s a far cry from the horror show that I left behind on the other side of town. See for yourself:

Episode 27: Bees In My Mouth

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A sorely Justin-less episode starts on soft note. The transition to the new studio is almost complete, and there is a high definition download available at the end of the post. Nick, Tom, Kaz and Tony forge on without their China-bound cohort. Nick, Tom and Tony are completely absorbed in playing Final Fantasy Tacticsagain (or the first time for certain people). Nick and Kaz played some VF5 and Halo 3while waiting for the cable man. Tony, Nick and Kaz busted out some late night Rock Band and Tom played some PSP classics. Then Tony shares a tiny bit of his disappointment in Kane and Lynch, which boils down to a list of things more fun to do than play the game itself.

After the break we flow into a slightly new format, all the same content but much more fluid. We discuss the new Soul Calibur IV characters and try and avoid turning into sweaty fanboys. In honor of all of us playing and old Final Fantasy game of sorts we churn over 1up’s Jeremy Parish’s list of Final Fantasy games. Needless to say people have a lot of differing opinions on such a prolific series.

Edit: Near the beginning of the second half of the show we discuss our anticipation for Super Smash Bros. Brawl. We mention the old release date because we recorded 8 hours before SmashBros DOJO! announced the March delay. Our apologies for the inaccuracy.

2.1 HD Download (Right Click to Save As)

Reviewed: 2007

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With all of the recent Top Games of the Year discussions going on in our message boards and on other websites, I figured I would throw some of my opinions in the mix for the top media of 2007. Though I started this just as a reference for myself to remember what I played and what came out in 2007, I was surprised at the amount of quality material released only in the past one year. Hopefully seeing some of these titles will jog your memory as well and remind you of what a great year it’s been and all that we have to look forward to in 2008.

1. Games 

I’m not going to spend too much time discussing the big titles of this past year. We’ve already gone over and praised them many times, and they deserve every ounce of that. 2007 saw a lot of big franchise titles including Call of Duty 4, the two Guitar Hero releases, Metroid Prime 3, Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, and Halo 3 just to name a few. However, this year was also marked by a lot of new properties as well: Assassin’s Creed, Bioshock, Rock Band, Zack & Wiki, and Portal immediately come to mind. While I don’t necessarily hope for sequels to all of these newcomers, it definitely kept the gaming world fresh not to just rotate around a few big name releases. I’m glad to see how much coverage these new games got – obviously games like Rock Band don’t need a huge campaign, but it was great to see IGN advertising and supporting Zack & Wiki so much to keep people from overlooking it.

Sonic boom, my head’s gettin’ lighter…

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Thursday = new blog post time, so here we go!

With all of the hype and information flowing out of 1up and EGM about Street Fighter 4, I’ve found myself in a familiar position, one in which I haven’t been in in a fairly long time. That’s right, I got that craving to beat the crap out of something – it’s time to play a fighting game.

sf-anniversary.jpgSo I’ve been searching recently for a copy of Street Fighter: Anniversary Collection, which contains two games: Hyper Street Fighter II, and Street Fighter III: Third Strike. For those who don’t know, Hyper Street Fighter II is an old school world warrior’s wet dream; it lets you pit any version of any character against any version of any other character from any of the multiple releases of Street Fighter II. You think SFII: Championship edition’s M. Bison was cheaper than the Super SFII Turbo version? Or that Street Fighter Turbo’s Ryu did more damage than the original SFII’s Chun Li? Here’s your chance to prove it! Every character retains their original properties, move sets, and sound effects from their respective games, so you can literally play as any version of any Street Fighter II character you want. That’s pretty awesome.

Episode 26: Hey Justin

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Put together your elemental rings; it’s time to form The Rumble Pack. Back from a week hiatus, Tony, Nick, Tom, Justin and Kaz get together to discuss their feelings about 2007 and the future of 2008. Before that everyone gives an epic update of what has been in their trays. Tom and Justin discuss Contra 4. Nick talks about his Rock Band exploits. Kaz discusses why Final Fantasy VI still rocks. Tony rants about the accuracy of Kane and Lynch, and Justin waxes poetic all over Super Mario Galaxy.

Check out the message boards for the lost top fives of The Rumble Pack. And listen to the second half of the episode for a long discussion of 2008 resolutions. Including resolutions for the podcast, resolutions for each podcaster and resolutions for the games industry and every publisher and developer we could think of.

Intro music for this episode brought to you by Tony and Nick with special guest artist Justin. Keep in mind the podcast’s recording studio is in transition so there are rough moments in the podcast audio quality since they could not use their best microphone, all should be well by next week.

Episode 25: Part 2

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Raw and uncut. This is the episodes the way they come out, no edits, no corrections, no music. Just pure gaming podcast.

Also, many tangents.

This episode features: everything lost the first time around except the GotY discussion, a phone call from Tom and a lot of Tony Nick and Kaz making obscene jokes.

Merry Christmas!