Archive for November, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

What a nice Holiday season we are having….skip that…I take that back…what a great YEAR we are having in 2008 as  gamers.  I thought 2007 was the best year possible as a gamer…but 2008 has surpassed it in my eyes…

We have the NXE (New Xbox Eperience)

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This is me….and this is my wife….getting our game on!

Well here are some titles I added to my collection this weekend…(there are some great deals out there…I didn’t pay full price for a single game!)

Dead Space…

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Left 4 Dead…

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Call of Duty: World at War

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Fable II

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Fallout 3

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Oblivion Game of the Year Edition

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…possibly getting some more as well with all the deals going on this weekend….well I do love great games!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

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Xbox360 vs PS3…at this point who really cares?

***I know the Wii is selling like hotcakes going out of style but when your average person buying the system looks like this…

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I will leave them out of the discussion. (it was a joke…not just elderly people buy the wii!)I know other gamers play and own the Wii, but seriously, the real games are on PS3 and 360.

Really Sony and Microsoft should have no beef with Nintendo, and I believe they realize they are not competing with the Wii.  They each know their true opponent is each other.  Nothing is wrong with Nintendo and the direction they have taken…I want a Wii and will own one soon…but it will never be home to the hardcore games of today….here are some killer titles for the Wii

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  1. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
  2. Mario Kart Wii (with wheel)
  3. Wii Play
  4. Wii Fit (with Balance Board)
  5. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (with guitar)

Fun Casual games….

Probably every hardcore gamer secretly cares who wins this console war.  The true winner will be who delivers the goods on the games! I believe in good quality games.  It doesn’t matter which system I play it on.  Sony doesn’t pay me to play their games neither does Microsoft. Yet we as gamers forge some sort of unofficial alliance with these large multi-billion dollar companies like they care about us.

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They care about the dollars we shell out for games plain and simple.  Look at the roles we gamers play in the larger picture of console wars.  When gamers buy a system at a high rate, it creates an installed base that publishers look at.  When those developers see a system selling hundreds of thousands of units more than the competitor they will spend more time, money, and effort in getting games into the hands of those gamers.

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Look at the advantage of the PS2 over the original xbox and game cube. Developers made games for the PS2 system and ported them over to the xbox and game cube.  Not all developers, but most developers.  The graphics showed  many games looked like ps2 games on all three consoles.  Even though the xbox was more powerful it didn’t matter.  It didn’t have the power where it mattered most, and that was the in the number of gamers who purchased new products.

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Fast forward to this generation and roles have been reversed.  You have the xbox 360 in one corner dropping hits like crazy with mind blowing graphics and delivering heavy-weight-classics on a yearly basis.

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Then you have the PS3.  It dropped in 2006.  Killer machine, powerful, blue ray built in…yet they were the red-headed step child to the gaming schedule.  Releases were coming to the 360 first, then were ported to the ps3.  So you have games built based on 360 architecture being turned over to the more “powerful” system but sometimes lacking muscle of it’s 360 cousin.  They have had some killer titles release.  The problem is…it still didn’t turn the ship for Sony. These titles shown below should have helped Sony…but did little to raise awareness for Sony’s cause… both are great titles by the way.

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We gamers decide the winners of each console war.  Not the gimmicks or crazy plots or grand ideas of companies.  Numbers don’t lie, take a look at these.

Most current taken from www.vgchartz.com

36.61 Million units sold.  47.9% market share (hardware)
22.93 Million units sold.   30.0% market share (hardware)
16.89 Million units sold.  22.1%  market share (hardware)
Now like I said before toss the Wii out of the picture.  They will get their money.  If you are a hardcore gamer and you have a Wii, you will also have a PS3 or a 360 (maybe both)  Nintendo is drawing a lot of new gamers to their system.  But if they bought the system to play Wii-fit…I doubt they will be purchasing games on a regular basis.
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Last thing about the Wii~besides Mario galaxy, Smash Bros, and Resident evil 4 what games are good on this system??? Really I don’t know!
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Ok moving on…you have around 22.93 million 360 owners. (more after this Holiday is over) and around 16.89 millions PS3 owners (not bad they are closing in on 360 sort of) Here is the thing gamers need to understand.  These companies make their money off of games sold.
I will take a third party publisher for example…Activision and their Call of Duty franchise.  Since moving the next gen (our current gen) Call of Duty games have made their mark year after year in every Holiday since 2005.
Call of Duty 2 for the 360.  It was the biggest game of 2005 for next generation of gaming. It sold 2.25million games to this date.  That isn’t too bad for being xbox 360 first ‘true’ next gen experience.  It made Activision a ton of money and Microsoft a ton of money.  Sorry Sony….no Call of Duty 2 for you that year.
Call of Duty 3 came out a year later.  Done by a different developer it still sold fairly well for the 360. 2.14 million copies isn’t bad.  This helped Sony get a chance to taste some of the action to the tune of 560,000 copies sold.  Not close at all to the 360 version. Still however Activision made some money.
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Fast forward to last year 2007 holidays’ hits.  A year where Halo 3, Bioshock, The Orange box, Assassin’s Creed, and Mass Effect all dropped.  Yet who stole the show?  Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. It sold 6.58 million copies for the xbox 360 alone…and an additional 3.71 million for the PS3.  Activision knows it has a cash cow on it’s hands with the Call of Duty Franchise and they milk it each year rotating developers to churn out a new game a year.
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Since 2005 Activision has made a game that produced: 15.24 million units sold on current gen technology.  With that in mind think about that in dollars.  That’s $914,400,000.00 dollars.  With 360 gamers spending $658,200,000 of those dollars over those three years…activison knows where to send games.
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That is not even including this year’s World At War. (which sold 1.35 million units on 360 and 800,000 units on ps3) These numbers are great on both systems.  (I think the ps3 are really nice actually to be so close to the 360 version in sales)
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But don’t count Sony out just yet.  With Little Big Planet and Metal Gear Sold 4, and Resistance 2  in 2008, also a Blue Ray built in…they are a few hit titles away from scoring gold.  BUT!!! They need to change 2 things that they are currently doing.
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1.  Stop making hand me down games from Microsoft.  Dead Rising, Lost Planet, and Bioshock are some games that made a 360 worth while…in the past!  Now this holiday Sony is showing off Bioshock a year too late….Same with Dead Rising and Lost Planet.  While microsoft has moved on to new titles like Left 4Dead and Fable II.  I know Sony also has Resistance 2…but that game is not really turning any heads:350,000 units sold so far…Call of Duty: WAW has this title beat soundly…
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2. Stop losing your exclusives!! Sony made a killing on having exclusives in the past. I remember Final Fantasy VII was the hotness back in the day. Same with Metal Gear Solid, and the Resident Evil Series. Imagine if Assasin’s Creed was PS3 only? You would have a Killer title for Sony…great way to show gamers thier system means business. Now as things stand they even lost FInal Fantasy XIII !!
Many gamers feel that as of right now the “cool” games are on 360.  There are many third party popular games available for both systems, but that game will sell more for the 360.  Take the mega popular GTA IV release this year.
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Xbox 360 had 6.18 million takers and the PS3 had 4.84 million buyers (not bad at all!) But you are talking about a game the PS2 made famous (or is that the other way around?) and Microsoft not only getting in the mix but taking it over.  They bo-guarded thier way to two downloadable adventures yet to be released. (February 2009!)
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That is business done right. Even though it had the RROD (xbox360) that crapped out on nearly everyone who bought one…(myself included!) and I’m sure they are kicking themselves on the billions they lost on the repair program, but they still have the strongest library of games out there. It makes sense for them to fix their clients system so they can play more games!
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Gamers voice your opinions…who is winning…who cares right?  As a gamer I will say this; WE are the true winners with all the above mentioned gaming experiences out there right now!!
Enjoy!

Getting your girl into gaming…renewed!

A while back ago I wrote a post about getting your girl into gaming. (link)

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Here is a follow up on that post.  Since I got my wife into gaming on the xbox360 her gaming IQ and knowledge of the genre has grown. So has her interest in games.  Since gaming on the xbox 360 can be such a social experience it has been a blast to see her meet fellow girl gamers.  But guys listen up.  There is another side, so to speak about getting your girl into gaming…not a bad thing just something to be ready for.

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Let’s say I wanted to play a single player game…my wife would be left out with nothing to do.  Not because she wanted to play with me…it’s just that we have 1 360 system.  I have over 45 xbox 360 games and a lot of them are single player.  Or there would be times where she wanted to play one thing and I wanted to play another.  She loves Halo 3, I do as well, but Call of Duty 4 ws calling my name recently and there is no split screen options on that game.  So she would be left out.  This didn’t lead to any arguments but there were times when I wanted one thing and she wanted another.  Two gamers one system go figure.

The solution: BUY HER OWN SYSTEM!

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I got her a xbox 360 system pro (20 gig) with a controller, wifi- adapter to go online from her studio, and her own copy of Gears of War 2.  (So that makes 4 copies of that game I bought!) I tell ya…it was one of the best purchases I made in years.

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I may have bought a 360 for her…but in doing so I got me a 360 as well.  I have my own system again…not that sharing one with my precious wife was a bad thing…but gamers you understand, you need your own system…I know my wife is happy to have hers.

Here is a link to her latest post on gaming.

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So guys listen up…getting your girl into gaming may lead to more expensive purchases down the road.  Now I have to get 2 copies of games that we want to play together.  The gaming experience is so much richer for us now though…when we played Gears of 2 last night she got to play with 1 group of friends while I played with another.  We played together, but we also have the choice to get our own gaming experiences as well.

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Well I really looking forward to all of the co-op games coming out in the future especially Resident Evil 5 which will be perfect.  I character is a Girl (Sheva) and the other is Chris.

Happy gaming to all!!! (to you of all babe!)

We all are cogs in the Gears of War…

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So, who all bought Gears of War 2 the day it came out? I did.  I bought three copies actually, 1 for me, and 2 for the last two contest winners…  A LOT of my friends bought it…everyone in the gamestop I was at bought one.  Well it turns out a lot gamers wanted to sign up and the continue the fight against the Locust Horde…Gears of War 2 did pretty good for a day one release on a Friday to the the tune of 2.1 million copies sold on day 1.

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Like a Brumak busting out the gates Gears stole the show for game sales this Weekend!

Gears of War offers an experience to Gamers of many different skill levels.  The team at Epic Reeeallly put a lot of effort into making this game fun and enjoyable. I have to start with Horde…

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If Horde released by itself (with more levels than 50) it would have been a nice addition to anyone’s xbox 360 game library.  In fact, if more shooters had a “horde” mode; (hint) halo series fans would be going nuts for that as well.  Imagine starting with fighting grunts in any of the multiplayer maps on Halo 3 in level 1. By level 4 you are fighting more grunts and jackals, then by level 15 brutes and Hunters show up.  With each level you pass the enemies would adapt to your fighting styles and change their plan of attack. By level 50 your team would be fighting all levels of Covenant and Flood with Vehicles intact…that would be nice….but Epic made it a reality.

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In Horde you and up to 4 friends face off against the on-coming forces of Locust Soldiers.  In each battle you are scrambling to help your team defend an area by taking down an incoming squad of Locust.  What I loved about this mode of the game is that after each Wave you beat they will adapt to your teams battle tactics.  Lets say you cruise through 5 levels pretty easy.  The game has a unique spawn system and enemy selection that will counter your actions.  Team work is essential in this mode.  Stray to far from the group to get some ammo you may need to be revived…in a hurry.  I have played it by myself, with my wife, and with up to 4 others.  Nothing beats having 5 people on a team together working to take down the Horde…

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Horde is what a lot of gamers have been asking for.  It is really fun to play against other people in death matches and other modes, but Horde is something else.  It combines a brand of teamwork against a common enemy without the pressures of playing Gears of ‘Pro’ players.  The Multi-player modes are interesting as well, but Horde is a different breed of fun that is a fan service done right!

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Gears of War 1 = pretty cool but short campaign…Gears of War 2 = Answers the basic question of why we are fighting, and gives a lot of moments to look and say let’s kill those Locust!  The campaign is really roboust this time around.  I would say between campaign and horde alone Gears of War 2 is the best shooter on the 360 this year. The best thing about the campaign are the large battles.  Gears of war 1 was nice, but the battles never got out of hand in size.  Gears 2 opens the world up to gamers to see the size of this war.  This is one war I wouldn’t wish upon any nation.

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I won’t go into details of specific events…but gamers will love the battles and overall story direction in Gears of War 2.  Single player is nice, but the game is really made to be played Co-op.  There is nothing like going to war with a buddy by your side.  Some people may be dissappointed that it is not 4 player co-op, but I think a lot of the battles would have been watered down if two other players joined this battle.

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As you can see from these screen shots..Gears 2 is the best looking game on 360 right now.  I would go on to say one of the best looking game in this generation on any home console.  It doesn’t have the complex story from Half-life or the art direction fron Bioshock, but to find a better action shooter will be hard to find.

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The controls for this game are spot on.  If you played a shooter before you will pick this game up and hit the ground running.  This game is near perfection in every way possible.  BUY THIS GAME if you have the ability to do so…it will be worth your money and time.  The Holiday season of gaming has started and Epic has struck the first and possbly the strogest blow this season.  Finding a better game this holiday season will be hard to do.  If you don’t own a 360 yet…what are you waiting for!!!  

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Meet Chase-SC2!!!

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When are leaves more than just leaves?  There is a lot of discussion about traditional art and it’s place in the modern world of digital arts.  My personal belief is that without a basic understanding of traditional mediums, you will be limited as a digital artist.  Take this artist for instance…~Chase-SC2 he has some amazing traditional rendering skills and it carries over into his traditional work as well.

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Hey Chase, could you start off with a brief bio about yourself? This could be your
name, age, what you do besides art, if you are an artist by trade (full
time job) or not. Anything really so the readers can know a little
more about you.

My name is Chase Stone, I’m a 19 year old student majoring in
illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I don’t have a job
in the industry yet but i think I’m getting there, and thanks a lot for
your interest in my gallery!

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Looking through your gallery, you have some killer pieces left and
right. But the ones that stand out to me are your simple ones. Your
color pencils of the string, the leaf, etc. How important is
traditional art in the growing digital work place?

I think traditional art is still very important in the growing digital
work place, as the skills one has on paper translate directly to their
skills in photoshop. While the computer has made the process faster in
a lot of ways, and does make some things easier, you still have to be
able to draw and that’s the bottom line.

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What is your background in art (education/training etc.)

I’ve been drawing all my life, and most of what I’ve learned over the
years has come from practice and trial and error. I’ve gotten
professional training in the past year at FIT, but i still believe that
practice in your own time is the most important way to improve.

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Where do you draw your inspiration from as an artist? What keeps you
going to improve and keep your attention to realism so high?

Working artists like Craig Mullins are always great for inspiration,
guys whose work just really blows you away. I guess that’s the main
thing that drives me (and I’m sure most other artists), the want to
create an image that really floors people and sticks with you. To make
something on that level is always something o aspire to. As for
realism, it’s really just what appeals to me the most.

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What video game systems do you own if any? What are you currently playing?

I own an Xbox 360, and as of now my favorite games would be Halo, Call of Duty 4, and Gears of War.

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Who are some artist that you look up to? Also name your top 3 artist.

Like i said I’m a big fan of Craig Mullins’ work (whose stuff is just
plain awesome), I also like Justin Sweet (he’s got a really nice style)
and James Hawkins (does amazing concept art, a field I hope to get into
in the future).

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Your level of realism in your art is amazing. How important is
reference to you when working on art. How much time do you give an
illustration before it is time to move on? (How long did it take you to
finish your slick Halo piece) (side note: nothing wrong with fan art!!
Make more halo art!!!)

Thanks man! I think reference is very very important. the simpler
pieces in my gallery are all done from life, and for the more
imaginative ones i try to get as much reference material as possible.
As for time, I’ll basically try to work on something as long as i can
until I’m either totally satisfied, loose interest, or simply run out
of time. I don’t know how long the halo piece took exactly, but i know
it took a while, working on it on and off over the course of a few
months. And hahah thanks man, I’d like to draw more stuff from Halo,
once i get some more original stuff done maybe I’ll go back to it!

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(Holy Flippin’ batman…crazy sick skillz on display… only 19 years old…)

If you weren’t an artist what would you do to fill your time in the day that you use for art right now?

If i couldn’t draw i don’t really know what I’d do, I guess I’d find
something else I’m good at and work at that…In the big picture if i
couldn’t make art I probably would’ve joined the army hahah!

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Are there any projects/companies (film, music, comics, video games) that you wish you could work with TODAY?

Hmmm if i could just pick, working for Ubisoft, Bungie, Weta, Epic
Games, and any of the projects they’re working on would be awesome.

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First video game experience ever? Favorite game ever?

I’m pretty sure my first video game experience ever was on the NES, and
I think it was Super Mario Bros. As for my favorite game of all
time…thats a tough one, i want to say Halo but theres a certain
nostalgia about the N64 Zelda that i think gets my vote.

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Thank you again for your time!

Thanks again for offering this interview man i hope i answered with enough information.

Awesome interview Chase and fantastic artwork! Many thanks bro and good luck in school!

I’m as cool as my wife…sort of…

Remember back when my lovely wife 179611333_10780619f0 was in gameinformer with some awesome art?

It was the August 2008 Issue.

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Her illustration was featured on top of the page but they never disclosed if she was the winner…that sucked…but at least it was in the magazine!

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Well I guess I am following in her foot steps.  I know I didn’t win anything, but at least I made it as well.

I made it in the November 2008 issue.

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Same character as her (I drew mine first!!!) Good ‘ol Kratos.

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Well thanks Gameinformer for showing off our Kratos’ pics!

Here is a sketch of Kratos that I am working on right now to prove I AM getting back into some art!

LaTeRs!

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And the winner is…

Lukedenby!

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A larger version of the creepy image of characters from the Silent Hill series.

He did an awesome job in showing the creepiness of these characters through each character’s body posture and stance.  Great colors and just a fantastic job Luke!  I really dig his art style.  Check out more of his work here!

And what game is he gonna get…

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He chose (to no surprise) Gears of War 2!

The piece that didn’t win was no slouch either.  It was done by Jordan Kendall aka Madman.

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This kid is young but has great potential!  Check out some more of his work.

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Here is a link to more of his work jordankendall.

Thanks again Jordan for participating! Keep up the good work! And big thanks as well to Luke for participating in back to back contest!

More interviews and other gaming art coming soon!