My Gaming 2011, or The List That Will Make My Fiancee Cringe


So another year has come and gone, and now that it’s over we can all go back and see what we played and what we missed. In writing down my list, I realized one major thing: sweet Jesus Christ I played a lot of games this year. Granted, I didn’t finish them all, but I played enough of them to know what they had to offer. Some of these games I’m still playing, and I probably will be for all of 2012. I always thought I was behind the curve, but seeing my list in writing is…wow, it’s unreal. Without further adieu, here’s everything I’ve played this year, in release date order:

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
LittleBigPlanet 2
Dead Space 2
Bulletstorm
You Don’t Know Jack
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation
Marvel VS Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds
Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together PSP
Homefront
Pokemon Black and White
MLB 11: The Show
Dragon Age II
Crysis 2
Dissidia 012: Final Fantasy
Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition
Nintendogs and Cats: French Bulldog
WWE All-Stars
Final Fantasy IV: Complete Collection
Mortal Kombat
Portal 2
L.A. Noire
inFAMOUS 2
Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition
Child of Eden
Alice: Madness Returns
Duke Nukem Forever
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
NCAA Football 2012
Catherine
Bastion
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Dead Island
Warhammer 40K: Space Marine
Gears of War 3
FIFA Soccer 2012
Ico and Shadow of the Colossus HD
Dark Souls
Professor Layton and the Last Specter
Dead Rising 2: Off The Record
Batman: Arkham City
Battlefield 3
Disney Universe
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Super Mario 3D Land
Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary Edition
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
Rayman Origins
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy (3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The King of Fighters XIII
WWE ’12
Mario Kart 7

Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh, that’s a metric shit-ton of stuff. Hard to really wrap my head around it, to be honest. Although, to put things into perspective, here’s a brief list of what I’ve yet to play!

Killzone 3
Okamiden
The 3rd Birthday
Arcana Heart 3
SOCOM 4
Brink
Red Faction: Armageddon
Dungeon Siege III
FEAR 3
Shadows of the Damned
Earth Defense Force 2017: Insect Armageddon
From Dust
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
Madden NFL 2012
Disgaea 4
Driver: San Francisco
Resistance 3
NHL 2012
X-Men Destiny
Star Fox 64 3D
Rage
Spiderman: Edge of Time
Forza Motorsport 4
Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
Kirby’s Return to Dreamland
Goldeneye: Reloaded
Lord of the Rings: War in the North
Sonic Generations
Need for Speed: The Run
Saints Row: The Third

A couple of those on the not played list really stick in my craw (Saints Row, Rage, Kirby, and Star Fox 3D, for starters) and I’d like to remedy that as soon as possible. However, I think I did pretty good with getting my 2011 gaming on.

Did I miss anything?

 

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New York Comic-Con 2011: Sea of Humanity

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People…people EVERYWHERE…

New York Comic-Con is always crowded. When a show is open to the public, you have to expect some sort of gathering. Last year there were plenty of people to push your way through, from the normally dressed to the cosplayers and more. Crowds don’t usually bother me, as I’ve dealt with my fair share of conventions, but something about the crowd this year was just UNBEARABLE. I don’t know why, but people were EVERYWHERE.

Maybe it was the selection of games being strong. Maybe it was because of the way the floor was laid out. Or maybe it was because I decided to head up to NYCC on Sunday, also known as Kids Get In Free Day. Whatever it was, that place was super-packed.

There were two places in particular where the crowds were at their worst, one a result of the floor plan, the other being the fault of the booth owner:

-Capcom’s booth was located directly in front of the main entrance to the hall. Seeing as how they had some of the most hyped games of the show before it even started (Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Street Fighter X Tekken, and more), when the show opened that booth went from empty to OMG CRAZY CROWDS in mere seconds, creating a major choke point in front of the gate. Capcom gets crazy crowds every single year. Not preparing for it is preposterous. Put them in the back, so convention goers have to walk through the convention to get there. Makes sense to keep people in there for as long as possible, right?

-Nintendo had a booth in a perfect square shape near the center of the main show floor. Wii consoles lined the outside of the square, while 3DS kiosks made up the inside. Skyward Sword, easily the most popular game at their booth, lined a entre side of the booth…the side that faced giant bookshelves filled with comics from another booth. Not only that, each of the ten kiosks playing Zelda had its own line. Ten separate lines, ten people deep, pressed up against bookshelves. Chaos, utter chaos. Why wasn’t Zelda inside the square with one line letting people in ten at a time? It might have been more manageable.

Now, these are not con-killers. I still had a blast being able to play and see what’s in the near future. I just wish that they found a way to make things less hectic.

Despite their numbers, the public is what makes NYCC so damn fun. E3, the spectacle that it is, feels like it’s all business due to it being strictly industry. NYCC feels like a giant party. There’s excitement in the air, and fans with wide eyes traverse the expo floors looking for the next game to try. Of course, there’s one thing the general public does that you’ll never see at a show like E3:

Costumes. Lots and lots of costumes.

Like every con, costumes are hit and miss. For every great effort, like so…

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…you get the people that really make you want to scratch your head…

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“Eclectic” does not even begin to describe the group of people who descended on the Javits Center last weekend. One word can, though: fans. At the end of the day, these are the people who keep the exhibitors at these cons going. Without them, the companies, and the convention, just don’t exist.

But enough about the attendees, here’s what I was able to do in my 7-hour NYCC shift:

Played: Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, Street Fighter X Tekken, Asura’s Wrath, Skyward Sword, Rayman Origins

Saw: Max Payne 3, Mass Effect 3, Dragon’s Dogma, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations multiplayer, Halo: Anniversary Edition, Prototype 2, Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, Just Dance 3, Dance Central 2, Black Eyes Peas Experience

People Met: Jason Leigh, lead producer of Dead Rising 2: Off The Record, WWE Legend Virgil (though is he a legend?)

Previews a-plenty can be expected throughout the week. If you want to know about a particular game, comment below or hit me up on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/PhillyGamesBlog …we’re official!) or @PhillyGamesBlog on Twitter.

Look for those previews, the first ever Philly Games Blog review, and Episode 1 of the Gaming Wiz Wit Podcast COMING SOON to your favorite Philly gaming blog!

Take My Actors, Artists, and Athletes, But Leave My Game Characters Alone

At first, I saw the above commercial and thought “Hey, that’s pretty cool, sneak Nathan Drake in there, let people see it and wonder why he’s there, then they mosey on in to Subway and find out. Not a bad strategy.” I was perfectly fine with the commercial, I rather like ol’ Drake getting some time in a broader spotlight.

But my opinion quickly changed when, while watching TV just before bed, I saw this:

My heart sank. I felt the bile rise from my stomach to my throat. What did I just watch? Was that really Nathan Drake, a fictional character, shilling for Subway? Sid my eyes deceive me?

No, they didn’t. That was indeed real, much to my dismay, and I don’t like it one bit.

Look, I understand the reasons behind it. It’s the same thing as an endorsement deal with a celebrity: they appear in the commercial, talk about the product, get paid for it, done. I also get that the young gamer crowd will be able to identify game characters more often than celebrities (which is bad in its own right, but that’s a discussion for another day), and that identification (plus the bonus of playing Uncharted 3 early) will lure the gamers in. However, I find something inherently wrong with a video game character selling me real life products. Nathan Drake is a product himself, a product of Naughty Dog and the PlayStation brand. To have him holding and talking about 30 oz Subway cups while hanging from the back of a plane makes me ill.

Maybe I’m just being a curmudgeon. Maybe this is me channeling my inner “in my day we walked to school 15 miles in the snow” elderly man. But when I saw that commercial on my screen, a part of me died. You’d think this would be something I’d take pride in: gaming has come so far that big companies want to use the main characters in TV commercials. This should be something to celebrate, but I just cannot endorse this endorsement.

What’s next? Mario pitching Papa John’s? Commander Shepherd calling Target his favorite store on Earth? Kratos in a PSA for the Suicide Hotline? I don’t mind actors or sports stars coming on my television and pitching products. It’s been happening for years, and it’s a tactic that wil never go away. But I implore all of the advertising agencies out there: please, PLEASE stick to having real people in your ads. Leave game characters to their own devices (or in their own devices, as it were).

Because the last thing I want to see is Frank West pitching a Polaroid.

Three Things I’m Looking For At New York Comic Con 2011

THANOS REIGNS!

New York Comic-Con 2011 is right around the corner, October 13-16 (that’s this coming weekend, for those unaware). Last year was a hell of a good time, but sadly this year I must watch from the outside as all of the gaming madness goes down in the Big Apple. NYCC was an excellent source for big news last year, and I can only imagine it will be so again. As companies start to announce their show line-ups, the thoughts of what to expect become clearer and clearer. Here are three things I feel will rise from the Javits Center this coming weekend:

COSPLAY GALORE!

DAT MYSTIQUE

I know, saying that there’s going to be cosplay at a comic convention is like saying Andy Reid is going to screw up a winnable game (too soon?), but last year’s selection was mighty good (see above). I saw great efforts pretty much everywhere I looked, though like every convention, there were some missteps (that Jewish Joker guy from last year comes to mind). Cosplayers from near and far will be all over that show floor this weekend, and I’m sure plenty of galleries will pop up for those unable to attend. Just…stay away from the furries. They’re not cosplaying…they’re on the prowl.

MAX PAYNE 3 WILL BE THE BEST GAME ON THE FLOOR

A 30-minute demo of Rockstar’s next big thing, Max Payne 3, will be presented at Rockstar’s booth on the show floor. If it’s anything like the 30-minute demo I was told was shown to the GameStop managers at this year’s Managers Conference (or even if it IS the same demo), then there’s no way Max Payne 3 won’t be a heavy favorite for Game of the Show. What was described to me by my manager at the time (I’ve since left, not him) was nothing short of incredible, and long time Max Payne fans will FINALLY have their moment in the sun. I mean, just look at the launch trailer if you haven’t already. The character detail is excellent, the animations are solid, and the environment looks bright, inviting, mysterious, and dangerous all at the same time. Plus, the end of the fantastic-looking video has my favorite trailer quote of all time: “This Trailer Made Entirely Of In-Game Footage.” Be ready for a lot of “HOLY SHIT MAX PAYNE 3” reaction, I know I am.

CAPCOM WILL REVEAL CHARACTERS AT THE UMVC3 PANEL, JUST NOT WHO WE REALLY WANT

Though I'll have no objections if I'm wrong...

Anyone whose liked Capcom for as long as I have knows that if there’s one thing they’re good at besides making games, it’s COCKTEASING. Capcom will be ALL OVER NYCC this year, bringing games like Asura’s Wrath, Dragon’s Dogma, Dead Rising 2: Off The Record, and the massive fighting one-two punch of Street Fighter X Tekken and Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. The SFxT crowd are expecting six characters this weekend, as those three teasers I posted on Saturday all suggest Street Fighters to be revealed, no Tekken characters. UMvC3 crowds have a distinct advantage: they know that there’s only four more characters to be revealed, AND they know who those characters to be revealed are already (Frank West, ol’ Phoenix Wright up there, Nova, and Rocket Raccoon). Since the general public already knows what to expect, you’d think that Capcom would just reveal the last four characters and get it over with. For some reason, deep in my gut, I don’t think it’s going to happen. I think Capcom will reveal two of the four: Frank West and Nova (based on how they were grouped in the TGS trailer). There may be other morsels of info to feast on (perhaps that brand-new DLC mode executive producer Ryota Niitsuma teased not too long ago), but character-wise we’re going to have to wait for everyone’s favorite defense attorney.

Regardless of what’s actually unveiled, New York Comic Con is shaping up to be a great show once again. I know I’ll be pressing the refresh button over and over again, waiting for the big news to hit. Keep an eye here at PhillyGamesBlog throughout the week for all of the pre, post, and during NYCC news action.

Philly Mo(u)rn: Achilles (Won’t) Heal

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I know that I’ve advertised a video games blog here. This is supposed to be gaming news, previews, reviews, etc. I get it. However, this is also a blog from Philly, and as a Philadelphian, I cannot ignore what happened but 10 hours ago.

This morning hurt. I’ve waken up from disappointment before, and never was it particularly pretty, but this is a whole new level. We as a fanbase were circlejerked for ten months, each month creating a new catch phrase for our beloved baseball team: The Four Aces, R2C2, and more. People started looking to Philly as the gold standard of baseball. We were the NL Yankees all of a sudden, and it was incredible. One Sports Illustrated writer even called us “baseball heaven.”

Well if this is heaven, I want no parts of Hell.

How does one of the most potent offenses in the league, an offense on a franchise record 102-win team no less, put up a goose egg in the most important game of the season? The top ace of those Four Aces just pitched the game of his LIFE, 1 run on 5 hits or whatever it was, and the offense can’t score one measly run to back him up?! IT’S ABSURD. To top it off, the last image we get of this 2011 dream Phillies roster is their cleanup guy on the ground writhing in pain. Early reports indicate a torn Achilles tendon, which means his 2012 campaign is over before it began.

I don’t know what to think…I haven’t been this affected by a sports team loss since Tampa Bay closed the Vet by beating the Eagles in the ’02 NFC title game, and even THAT didn’t hurt as much as this. I was always worried about the Eagles in those years, but I NEVER worried about the Phila. I always thought they would pull it out. I always believed in these Phillies until the bitter end. Now…I just don’t know what to think. From the ’08 playoffs: World Series win, World Series loss, NLCS loss, NLDS loss. So what, next year we’ll be fighting for the wild card?! I just don’t know…

I’ll tell ya one thing though (and this is for the non-sports fans who stuck with me on this post), nothing helped my grief more last night that turning on the ol’ PS3 for some Marvel vs Capcom 3 action. Went into training mode, set the computer to Hard, and fought until my fingers hurt. Fuckin’ Sentinel didn’t know what hit it.

If you’re from Philly, I know it’s a tough day. Take this Saturday off, watch some college football, or if you prefer, power on your favorite stress-relieving game and have at it. Want to drive Niko on a crazy spree through the streets of Liberty City? Fine. Need to jump on CoD or Gears and shoot something? Have at it. Let it out Philly, just do it on your games. Get all that bad mojo out of your system, and start next week off right…

…as long as the Birds beat Buffalo.

Welcome To Gaming With Brotherly Love

Hello there…welcome to Philly Games Blog.

This will be a place where the gaming industry can be viewed through the eyes of a citizen of Philadelphia. Now, if you’re a sports AND gaming fan, I can hear your thoughts: “Great, he’s an asshole, Philly guys are always assholes. He probably doesn’t even know what he’s talking about.”

Not true, my friend. Let me give you a bit of background about myself.

My name is Jason Fanelli. My mug is in the header of this site, so you can put a face to a name. I’ve been playing video games since the tender age of As Long As I Can Remember. Gaming has had a huge influence on my life…just ask my mother, who likes to tell a story about how her 3-year-old son taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune: Family Edition on the NES. I’ve owned NES, Super NES, Sega Genesis, Sega 32X (along with the other 9 people that bought it), Nintendo 64, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation 3, and countless handhelds. Needless to say, I’ve been playing a looooooooooog time.

Now you’re thinking, “Yeah, you played games, big deal! Doesn’t mean you can write about them!” Au contraire, mon ami, that’s not true either. The journalism degree from Temple University can attest to that (Broadcast sequence notwithstanding). I started my games writing career by writing for GamingTarget.com (a fine site, I suggest you visit it), then I was brought on to GamerNode.com (another fine site well worth your time) in January of 2009, and I’ve been writing for them ever since. There’s one other site I’ve written for…but that’s a post for a different day (and believe me, there will be).

Writing for The Node has not only allowed me access to the craziest industry in the world (try and say it’s not), it’s given me access to some big industry events and allowed me to see more of this country than I ever had before. I’ve been to Boston (PAX East 2010), New York City (New York Comic-Con 2010), Las Vegas (THQ UFC 2010 event), and Los Angeles for the Holy Grail of gaming,the E3 Expo (2010, 2011). I’ve met and interviewed many of the top industry faces, including Katsuhiro Harada (father of Tekken), Warren Spector (Deus Ex, Epic Mickey), Ed Boon (father of Mortal Kombat), and Keiji Inafune (father of Mega Man). I’ve been around the block, no question.

Why am I telling you this? Why do I feel the need to toot my own horn so loudly? Simple: to prove you can trust me. I’m not some Internet message board troll spouting opinions because I have the medium to do so. I’ve experienced the industry first-hand, I’ve been in the same room with people you’ve seen on other gaming sites, and I’ve learned what makes the greatest industry in the world tick.

I hope you enjoy my ramblings on my little corner of the Internet, and here’s to your next great gaming session.

Keep playing!