Casual v. Hardcore Gamers

I know it has been a while since we have had a chance to update the site but things have been crazy this holiday season. Fortunately things are slowing down and I have had a chance to play some games and listen to some podcasts. I also have the chance to vent a little. Ever since I was a young gamer I have heard people talking about what it takes to be considered a hardcore gamer. In the media we are portrayed as Cheeto eating, Mountain Dew drinking nerds who spend their days alone in a dark room only illuminated by our televisions.In the gaming community some think that you have to own every console and play games dating back to the 70s and 80s. I personally think this is crazy.

All gamers should have a some sort of knowledge of gaming history (depending on when they were born) but having a collection of old consoles and games is not be a reality for all people. When I was younger when something new came out I had to trade in my old games because I was broke. Now that I am older I have to trade in old games because I am broke. Money is a major issue for a lot of people out there. Especially those with children. For those who are able to have these massive collection more power to you, but don’t strip away someone’s gamer card because they can’t do the same.

A casual gamer (in my opinion) is someone who really doesn’t play many games outside of a group or social setting. I would compare them to a casual or social drinker. They play games because they are there or because other people are playing at the moment. Real hardcore “Video Game Nerds” would disagree with me. I have heard SOME of these self proclaimed video game aficionados label those who spend most of their time playing Call of  Duty, Halo, or any sport game as a casual gamer. I can’t get jiggy with this. I feel that if a person devotes a certain amount of time and dedication to a single game and all of its mechanics, that is considered hardcore. I have never heard anyone call a world of WarCRACK player a casual gamer and anyone who can snipe me in the face while spinning off of the top of a building is definitely hardcore.

With that being said, I think that there are many different types of hardcore gamers. There are hardcore gamers that only play one game like Street Fighter or Halo. I cannot justify calling someone who makes a living off of only playing Madden or Unreal Tournament a casual gamer, but in the eyes of many that’s what they would be. A hardcore gamer to me is anyone with a genuine love for games. I don’t have a problem with someone sticking to on genre as long as they are playing games.

Of course, everything that I have said is my opinion. I know that there are those out there that won’t agree with what I say and that’s okay. With that being said…..what are your opinions on the subject?


Spike Video Game Awards – Studio of the Year

Bioware wins studio of the year on the Video Game Awards. With games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect, how can you argue. Good Job Bioware… the way. I wonder what their new game will be? Will it be a MMO as some have speculated…..Maybe the next Mass Effect. I will be staying tuned to find out.


Affordable Wii Alternative!?!?!???

So I was out and about and stumbled across this in a popular drug store….



It’s called the ZONE.  Sounds kind of lame but what can you say for an ‘0ff-brand’ version of the Wii.  Lets face it folks in this economy, no idea is purely original.  First it was the Playstation Move and Xbox360 Kinect and now ZONE!  This is indeed a poor mans Wii and it comes equipped with 32 games ( for the small version: seen at the top of the photo)   and then a whopping 60 games for the larger system.  I didn’t capture the price for the  small system but the larger one is only 39.99…. but wait is that a sale sign for 29.99??????  😀    I somehow doubt this system is competitive for holiday sales against the Move and Kinect systems but hey at least they have bang for your buck right?  ….. right???

Well take a look at the large box, it even has ACCESSORIES included. These are the peripherals some folks spent big bucks on for the Wii from both Nintendo and a host of other third party manufacturers.  It looks like it comes with a tennis racquet, golf club and baseball bat and TWO “motion controllers”

I can’t say I was shocked to see this Wii imitation but I can say that they didn’t do much to mask the fact that this was purely an attempt to grab some of the holiday cash for those less informed consumers who believe that one thing is equal to another.  It is somewhat irritating to know that some kid wanting a Wii will open one of these up on Christmas morning to be sorely disappointed.  It reminds me of the people who ran and got a Samsung Instinct saying ” It’s just like the iPhone” *SMH*

I can safely say  DigitalDpad lists this one as a DON’T BUY!

Kinect Review – TV mount not included? no Netflix??

Anything missing from this picture?

Well folks,  its been a little over 18 hours since Kinect was release on the east coast and I still need to catch up on some sleep.  I spent the early morning hours setting up Kinect and marveling at all the things we’ve drooled over watching demonstrations.   Now that the “honeymoon” phase is over  I can get down to reviewing the product.

I like it.  Simply said. But there are things that I’m not happy with. So I’ll start with the cons and then talk about how much I enjoyed it.  😀

The first surprise was to find that the mount attachment for placing Kinect on top of your flat panel TV is NOT INCLUDED….. YES YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY NOT INCLUDED.   This was a disappointment  especially after seeing video after video and demonstration after demonstration where the Kinect was featured mounted above the television.  Would it have really been so hard to put this little piece of plastic in the box Microsoft?   Imagine my dismay when I saw this….


How much could they possibly sell this for? Anything above 5 bucks would just be robbery.  Look Gates, we’re already buying a NEW version of the Xbox360  and a NEW peripheral, you could at least give us a mount to put it on our LCD/Plasma/LED/….  for $150 bucks I should be able to mount it on my HEAD!

Moving on…

“XBOX PLAY…………NETFLIX PLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!………………….XBOX STOP……….um NETFLIX STOP??……………….uh  HELLO??????????????????????

So after a little two sided tape and a WOOOO-SAH, I jumped into the dashboard to find another disappointment. Remember the product vision,  all the families having a great time watching Netflix together?  Yeah? Me too, well it turns out that the Netflix application is not yet “Kinect Ready”  I was unable to find anyway to control the Netflix application with the Kinect sensor.  Furthermore don’t get excited about navigating ANY of the regular menus with Kinect.  As far as the dashboard goes  you have to enter the ‘Kinect Hub’ somewhat of a sub menu to the actual dashboard.   I wonder why this was  still needed after the huge overhaul the dashboard took for the fall update???  Personally I would prefer to be able to control any and every part of the 360 dashboard with the Kinect Sensor… but that’s just me I guess.   *SHRUG*

One other tidbit on the CONs side is the distance requirement.  The Kinect expects that you be at least 6 feet away from  the Kinect sensor.   Is that average? Go check out your living room now and measure the space between the TV and the couch.. I’ll wait




Is your living room tall enough to go on this ride???  Chances are, it isn’t.  Kinect Adventures actually suggests that you move furniture if you can.  While I can get over this and calibrate the sensor to adjust for the small play space, this isn’t something their telling you before you buy.  Mom’s and Dads beware,  before your kids turn your family room into a gymnasium.  😀

Don’t misread me guys, I don’t HATE the Kinect, I think like many I was pulled into the hype and expected a perfect product. Lets hope some software patches fix some things ( ahem.. Netflix) and we can all move forward amicably.

Now for the good stuff.  Kinect does live up to its reputation in many other ways. Its really fun moving around in the ‘Minority Report’ style we all have been waiting for.  The responsiveness is extremely smooth and surprisingly accurate. People will want to call this a ‘Wii Killer’ but its simply a new animal, completely set aside from the Wii. It has some of the same quirks we saw with the Wii launched and the same basic functionality games at launch.   We’ve all seen how the Wii has continued to give developers a chance to be creative, so I’m excited about future titles for Kinect.  ‘The Micheal Jackson Experience anyone????’   Pardon the nerd moment but I think we’ve all danced like the King of Pop in our living room at some point, now we’ll have an excuse.  Sources say it wont be released until March of 2011.  I think its worth the wait.

Somewhere between being able to navigate the Zune and ESPN apps with a wave of my hand or  Telling the XBOX to pause when the phone is ringing and a video is playing, I was impressed!!!   The sensor does a great job of recognizing your voice, unlike many of the other voice recognition technologies that mistake  “Play Next Track” for “Disable Bluetooth”   😐

The games are fun, it ties in the more casual gamer, and to add a tag line that everyone seems to love nowadays,  ‘This changes everything, again’

I’ll be reviewing  ‘Your Shape: Fitness Evolved’ on my next post, stay tuned!!

How are you spending your Holiday 2010 gaming dollars?

It’s late October. Do you know what that means? It means…GAMES!!!!! The holiday release window is in full swing. For some, this is a wonderful time to sit in front of your TV, controller in hand, having to remind someone to tell you to blink. However, for me, it just means my pile of shame will increase exponentially. With so many games coming out I started to wonder who actually has the money to buy all this fun. With new franchises, sequels, and a couple big peripherals, it can be a hard sell from a publisher’s perspective to make people hand over cash for their products.

If you ask me, my GameFly Q is a gift from the gods that allows me to enjoy all of that holiday goodness. But others might feel different. I remember the days when I would do odd jobs around the house and clean gutters around the neighborhood just to get that one title that I had been eyeing for months. There has to be a lot of 2010 teens out there in the same situation. Also, let’s not forget those college students holding on to those last few dollars refund dollars trying to decide between food and Call of Duty Black Ops. So I ask you, the people, how do you spend your gaming dollars?

Some people will choose a game that offers an engrossing story. A game with a world a player can get lossed in and characters with substance could be worth your money. These are games that you can quest to your heart’s content and include story archs that dissapear from the choices that you make.

    Dead Rising 2 (PS3/Xbox 360)
    Fable III (PC/Xbox 360)
    Fallout: New Vegas (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)

Maybe you’re more of an action game person. You enjoy combos, multipliers, and maybe a little story. The following games will lead you down a path of at least a different story, but you can take them out however you want.

    Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)
    Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (PS3/Xbox 360)
    Disney Epic Mickey (Wii)
    Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (PS3/Xbox 360)
    Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II (PS3/Xbox 360)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just want to stab and shoot guys. Give me an assault rifle, pistol, and a combat knife and I’ll wreak HAVOC!!! If that’s what you’re into, you might want to check out these titles.

    Blacklight: Tango Down (PS3/Xbox 360)
    Call of Duty: Black Ops (PC/PS3/Wii/Xbox 360)
    Halo: Reach (Xbox 360)
    Medal of Honor (PC/PS3/Xbox 360)
    Vanquish (PS3/Xbox 360)

“Wait, what if I have a wife and kids and might not be able to get any of the previous games if they can’t partake?” Well if this is you, I introduce to you the Playstation Move and Microsoft Kinect. Whether you want to wave an ice cream cone in front of your TV while looking like an idiot or just want to look like an idiot (albeit with family and friends), you can try a few of these games.

    Dance Central (Xbox 360)
    EyePet (PS3)
    Fighters Uncaged (Xbox 360)
    Kinectimals (Xbox 360)
    Kinect Adventures (Xbox 360)
    Kinect Sports (Xbox 360)
    Kung Fu Rider (PS3)
    Racquet Sports (PS3)
    Sports Champions (PS3)
    Your Shape Fitness Evolved (Xbox 360)

Lastly, if you’re feeling kind of nostalgic, these two Wii games might hit the spot.
P.S. I didn’t have a category for these games.

    Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
    Kirby’s Epic Yarn (Wii)

So, which ones will you choose? Talk amongst yourselves in the comments below.

Does your wife or girlfriend hate it when you game??

Hello all, I wrote this in 2007 but the facts remain the same today.

When you and the fellas get going on some Gears of War, NBA Live, Madden. . . people just need to understand, WE NEED THIS.
Ladies we love you but sometimes we need to sit back and be men… so understand we need our time.

In Tyler Perry’s “Daddy’s Little Girls” Gabriel Union’s character says she’s looking for “a black man with good credit, who speaks grammatical English and who doesn’t play video games.”

Ok, wow….What’s the problem? That’s like saying I’m looking for a black woman who doesn’t like shopping and/or fashion. Don’t get me wrong I know it can get bad… fellas if you want to play XBOX360, PS3 or Wii more than you want to be with your lady then you need to take a look at your life and get your priorities together. A form of affection should be higher priority than beating the Heat on your NBA Live Season. Please ladies AND men give your loved ones just a few hours to get some gamage in . . .

Yes, ladies game too.

The average age for a video game player is about 30, a number slowly increasing as people that were kids playing the first arcade, console and home computer games continue playing now on current systems. The gender distribution of gamers is reaching equilibrium, according to a 2003 study showing that 57% of gamers are male and 43% female. (ESA report on the sales, demographics and usage data of the industry)

Wow 43 percent, that’s a lot of women. If you’re out there reading this ladies… Will You Marry Me? Haha, I’m just kidding I’m married,  but seriously its just a sign of the times… 20 years ago men got together and had poker night. Now . . . we game. It’s not just another night of the week… it is the very fabric that keeps man sane… the comraderie and competition mends all wounds of the world and act as catalysts to propell the patrons of gamage toward a better mood… a better state of mind so we can deal with the weight of life, work and relationship.

To all my gamers out there, men and women alike, keep gaming. . . Maybe I’ll see u out there on XBOX|Live


My Pile of Shame – Smoov LT

With every new game that comes out there is the urge to get enveloped in the story and become the character/avatar that you are controlling. However, at least for me, life gets in the way and the time I used to have to divulge myself neck deep into a game is not the same as it once was. Adding to my difficulties is Xbox Live. Turning on that box and seeing those notifications of everyone online tugs at my social fiber. And even though I might not be able to talk (my voice travels and I have a sleeping family), I still want to be able and here my boys cry over being left down-but-not-out.

So those two impediments have led to an interesting pile of shame. Some of these games I have been itching to play, but just haven’t had the chance to really give it the time that it deserves, and some I just don’t want to play them for one reason or another.

So without further ado I present to you, MY PILE OF SHAME!
***chronological order from most recent release dates***

  • Alan Wake (Xbox 360) – Released May 18, 2010:
    Now this game is the reason why I started this post. I had to force myself to remove Halo: Reach. Alan Wake is a ‘pshychological thriller’/survival horror game. But in my opinion, it’s more a shooter, a la Resident Evil 5. Bright Falls, the setting, is this game’s Twin Peaks. There are plenty of big trees, lakes, streams, and broken down cars to get in your way and force you out of your car. The core of the game, and where the surviving happens, is at night in the woods. This is where the game’s engine is at its best. While walking through the woods with just your flashlight and a gun, you can see light from a nearby checkpoint peering through the trees. But just once you think you’re getting close, the wind starts to blow back and forth, light bulbs will shatter, darkness seems to move, and enimies arrive. That’s when the survival starts.
    Reason that I stopped playing Alan Wake: See next game.

  • Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360, Playstaion 3) – Released May 18, 2010:
    Rockstar’s return to a sandbox of the old west is a classic game. I purchased this game because of the way it looked on a friend’s TV. Yep, sure did. But I’m glad I did. The story seems compelling so far, and the ‘gameplay’ is solid. You play as John Martson who is somekind of an outlaw that has a nagging feeling to kill his old friend. The multiplayer for RDR is pretty good; as good as any other Rockstar game. So I stopped playing it after a week. I had fun trying to catch a better horse and get off the donkey they start you with. And going to enemy hideout to enemy hideout with a ‘posse’ was good. But after a while, that also got stale. I never did ask my ‘posse’ if they played the single player game…..guess Xbox Live got them too.
    Reason why I stopped playing RDR: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

  • God of War 3 (Playstation 3) – Realeased March 16, 2010:
    Now if you’re into gaming you’ve probably heard of the God of War series. If you haven’t WAKE UP! So I’m not going to go into the reasons why Kratos is mad again, but I will tell you where I am in the story. Now if I remember correctly, I’m in this HUGE hall of a room that has these big cubes hung by chains oscillating to some end with no floor (“There’s a floor, there’s a floor Monte.”). I don’t know why I’m doing what I’m doing; this game’s story seems disjointed compared to the previous two. Anyway, I’m fighting this big spider on one of the cubes with the Chains of Olympus (or whatever they are calling the main weapon that’s been in all the games) and these heavy tiger gloves strapped to my fists. And for some reason I can’t kill this spider and my pride won’t let me turn the difficutly down a notch.
    Reason why I stopped playing GOW3: Frustration!

  • Yakuza 3 (Playstation 3) – Realeased March 9, 2010:
    Now I have never played any of the Yakuza games…..and I still haven’t. This game is still in its shrink wrap waiting to be opened. I saw a few gameply videos on various sites and it kind of piqued my interests, so I picked it up with God of War 3. End of story so far.
    Reason why I stopped playing Yakuza 3: Never Started

  • Final Fantasy XIII – (Playstation 3, Xbox 360) – Released March 9, 2010:
    Now I have to preface this game with a few details. After watching some videos of Persona 4 I actually got interested in turn-based Role Playing Games. Before that, I would never have touched it. Yeah I said it! Also, before I purchased FFXIII I did some research to find out what previous games of the series I should try out. I picked up FFX from the bargain bin and purchased FFVII from the Playstation Network. I started playing FFVII first, got to the point that the black guy killed his friend and stopped playing. Those graphics were terrible! I have yet to touch X because XII came out. I still don’t know how anyone would have been able to play VII without FAQ’s. So I finally started XIII. I enjoyed the handholding, contrary to the complaints on most message boards, because I hadn’t had too much background with previous games in the series. And since I was fairly new to the series, I was overwhelmed with the size of the map when I got to Chapter 11. After I got my mind right, I made it to the second battle with the overseer of the ‘planet in the sky’ (bear with me since it’s been almost 6 months since I played the game). I played this boss fight five times. Ok, most people with my gaming background might say that this number would be normal, and usually they would be right. But five times isn’t normal in Final Fantasy terms. This particular boss battle averaged about FORTY-FIVE minutes. FF veterans might say that I probably had the wrong combintation of team members and abilities, but I feel like if I’m working that hard for forty-five minutes I should be able to beat it. That’s just too long!
    Reason why I stopped playing FFXIII: Multiply forty-five by five and then ask me again….

  • Red Faction: Guerilla (PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360) – Released June 2, 2009:
    So here is another first of mine in a series. I actually didn’t purchase Guerilla; I purchased another THQ published game called Darksiders. THQ gave me a reason to buy Darksiders; buy it and get a free copy of Guerilla. So yeah, I bought Darksiders over Dante’s Inferno.
    Reason why I stopped playing Red Faction: Guerilla: Darksiders/Never Started

  • Far Cry 2 (PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360) – Realeased October 21, 2008:
    Now we’re hitting 2008 and my reasoning for not playing certain games has pretty much been forgotten. But I am constantly reminded about Far Cry 2 because of the online communities that I am a part of. People online tell about the visceral aspects of the game (before Viscreal Games). I just remember the long car ride in the opening of the game and trying to pull a bullet out of my arm. I will return to that island???? Can’t remember if that game was on an island or Africa…..oh well.
    Reason why I stopped playing Far Cry 2: I’m sorry, what game?

  • Army of Two (Playstation 3, Xbox 360) – Released March 4, 2008:
    NICE!!! No, not really. But I’m sure I heard that word a few times in the bro-tastic co-operative thrid-person shooter (more like third-person shi…well, you know what I mean). I don’t know, but it’s something about this game that rubbed me the wrong way, no pun intended. Army of Two’s ‘thing’ was the Aggro system. It’s used to tell the enemy AI to focus on one guy while the other guy turns almost invisible and flanks to the sides to dispatch of enemies. Basically, one guy shoots while the other one moves. But wait, you can ‘bling’ out your weapons with weapon and shield attachments, different colors, and even have the guns made out of gold and diamonds and this adds to your Aggro meter (????). Shall I go on????
    Reason why I stopped playing Army of Two: Blinged out Aggro Bro!!!

  • No More Heroes (Wii) – Released January 22, 2008:
    I didn’t purchase No More Heroes back in ’08. I got this shortly after Father’s Day 2010 because my wonderful wife bought me a Wii. I was looking at the back log of games available and this one looked fun to play. However, because of the next game I have yet to open No More Heroes.
    Reason why I stopped playing No More Heroes: See next game.

  • Super Mario Galaxy (Wii) – Released November 12, 2007:
    The third of three games that I’ve played on the Wii (Twilight Princess from my first Wii that I sold and Super Paper Mario that i finished after Father’s Day 2010) is probably one of the best games that I’ve played in my life. Uuuh huh, yep (King of the Hill). After I got used to being upside down and running towards myself, I realized how GREAT this game is. The gameply is fluid and it’s just FUN. In my opinion, this game opened my eyes like the first time I had to blow into a Nintendo cartridge. With a good group of my online friends playing and being mad at Gears of War 2, I felt good being happy playing Galaxy and actually enjoying myself. However….
    Reason why I stopped playing Super Mario Galaxy: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2/Gears of War 2

  • The Orange Box (PC, Playstaion 3, Xbox 360) – Released October 10, 2007:
    Now I’ll probably get the most heat from the internet because of what I haven’t finished in this group of games. Namely, the Half Life series. Not sure where I am in this City 17 campaign, but I do know that I am not on either of the episodes. I am still in Half-Life 2 proper. And I’m sure some will be upset with the reason shy I stopped play the game.
    Why I stopped playing The Orange Box: Call of duty 4: Modern Warfare.

    So, when it’s all said and done there is one question, why am I not finishing games?
    Answer: Multiplayer Made Me Dot IT!!!!!

TheImpetuousOne tries XBOX360 Kinect

So I’m sure you all have been following the tour for Xbox360 Kinect. If you haven’t you can check it out here.  The XBOX360 team and the Kinect team were out in Piedmont Park in Atlanta, GA this past weekend and I got the opportunity to try out Kinect.


TheImpetuousOne w/ Guest Pass

I’ll start with the good.   First of all the controller-less action is just as new and exciting as that first strike you got playing Wii Sports bowling.  The extent of detail that Kinect tracks is amazing; not perfect but impressive. It followed my every move, if I lifted my arm slightly, the character on the screen did the same.  I was captivated just at the loading screen that prompted me to lift my hand and move a zipper from left to right (iPhone slide to unlock style) to start the game.  I think Kinect will get much more of a response than Playstation Move has received.  I mean has PS Move even launched?????  Talk about under the radar!  But lets face it Sony, Nintendo did the remote ( Wii-mote) thing already, it’s a bit too late.

My wife and I chose to play ‘River Raft,’  part of Kinect Adventures. The X360 Kinect team explained that this would be one of the games that came with Kinect out of the box.  We were able to play the game together, another advantage over Playstation Move. With no need for an extra remote we were both loaded into the game and ready to go.   I applaud any game that can get my wife to play Xbox360, so needless to say, I’m looking forward to having this in our home.
The art festival was great and all but naturally the Kinect tour was a big hit here. The lines moved fast and the demo area, once inside, was air-conditioned.  On a hot summer day in the ATL, AC was like dry land in Waterworld (  excuse the nerd moment ).


We got there early so the lines you see here were pretty short but by midday and once others were seen walking around the park with their xbox360 guest passes around their necks the lines grew within minutes.


Left: Kinect Adventures Right: Dance Central

What we didn’t get to try was “Dance Central” in the other Kinect demo room.  It was the more popular of the two, however only one person could play at a time.  Your friends were welcomed to come in as back up dancers. I’m not sure my wife would have wanted to be my back up dancer so we skipped it.

Then there are the cons.  I really like this product and its hard to find many things wrong with it. However, controller-less gameplay seems pretty cool but it does present somewhat of a limitation in game types. Can you imagine playing a shooter and having to stand the entire time pretending to hold a gun?  Or how do you control a 3D environment?  I hope Microsoft has given this some significant thought.

The other issues I can foresee include glitchy responses. We’ve all seen it with the Nintendo Wii launch title Red Steel the first time you died because the Wii-mote didn’t respond quickly enough you considered throwing your Wii out of the window. SENSE THAT MOTION NINTENDO!!!!!!   But seriously folks, the Kinect will open up a new world with Wii like (if not better) controls and HD/Next-Gen graphics.  To the casual gamer anything is acceptable but to those Halo or Gears of War players who count on split second accuracy, the Kinect will have a lot to live up to.

Another cool feature of the demo rooms was that they recorded you playing during your session.  The guest pass included a personal number to enter at to watch later and you’re able to leave a message to show on the guest book if you chose to do so.  I was so excited to share the video of me and my wife playing kinect here but sadly Its been 3 days and the code still does not work.  Microsoft, you lose a few cool points on this one.  Why offer something and give away guest passes that may or may not work??  Quality control anyone?? I can see if this was an isolated incident but I’ve seen on other blogs that I am not the only one to be disappointed and greeted with this screen:



Overall I’m EXTREMELY excited about Kinect and the potential it has to take gaming to a completely new level. It’s innovation like this that makes me dream about what our grandchildren and their children will be playing in 2102. I hope you get to try Kinect in a city near you. Keep gaming and maybe I’ll see you out there on XBOX | Live!

Gamertag: TheImpetuousOne