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If video-game companies want 2008 success, they should look to 2007 failures

50°
351w ago - Usually I round up the worst video games of the year. But why should I bash "Transformers" and other lackluster titles at this point? Most bad games don't sell well, or they're already forgotten.

What's more important now, the slowest period of the year for new releases, is to look ahead at 2008 and to chronicle disappointing moments of 2007, in hopes that game makers will stop doing stupid stuff.

•Maddening fumbles: "Madden NFL 08" looks beautiful. It plays sweet, mostly. But "08" came with more fumbles and interceptions than ever. Defenses are beefed up. Offenses have buttery fingers. This makes things more realistically challenging, because you can't toss ill-advised passes without repercussions. Fine. Sure. Whatever. I haven't played "Madden" much. Don't plan to.

•Game testing fell short: Before a game is released, testers play through them, of course. But not only did testers drop the ball on "Madden" fumbling, they didn't find troubles with a few other big titles. (Or, possibly, game designers didn't listen enough to testers' complaints.) The most disappointing experience of 2007 came in "Spider-Man 3," a downfall that should have been caught during the testing process.

It's great fun until halfway through, when it becomes unfathomably...
 

'Dracula: Origin' - 4 New Screens

200°
351w ago - Frogwares' Dracula: Origin is a gothic adventure game, where you, as Professor Van Helsing, are devoted to the elimination of Dracula. Preventing Dracula from finding and using the antediluvian manuscript; you must help everyone who crossed paths with the count and refused to serve him.

How did Dracula become a vampire? He was a passionate, deeply religious man, but was broken by his wife's suicide; the soul of the woman he worshipped was damned! Crazy with grief and rage, he damned himself by choosing the Devil. He hid the profound suffering of the loss of his love and became an immortal monster, devoted to destruction. His inconsolable sorrow and his infinite hate carry him to search eternally for revenge; thus, he discovers that there exists somewhere an antediluvian manuscript with the details of a ritual , a ritual that would show how to awaken the infernal souls. At last, Dracula thinks he has found the way to bring back to life his love from beyond... for starters.

You are Professor Van Helsing, and your life is devoted to the elimination of Dracula. You must prevent Dracula from finding and using the manuscript; you must help everyone who crossed paths with the count and refused to serve him; you must eliminate Count Dracula.

Using conventional point & click gameplay, Dracula: Origin...
 

Sony’s sexy new tube: TV of the future?

50°
351w ago - Gadget guy Paul Hochman can't get enough of Sony's OLED TV.

Hey, harried parents! As the new year approaches, prepare for a brand-new technology to rock your world. Ready? Here it comes: it's called the "television."

Wait – has the TODAY's gadget guy lost his marbles? Hasn't black-and-white TV been around since July 1, 1941, and color TV since Jan. 1, 1954? Well, sure. But that doesn't change the fact that once you read what I have to say below, you'll agree that soon, TV will never be the same again.

Here's what's happening: it's called "OLED" TV. OLED stands for "organic light-emitting diode." You pronounce it "oh-ledd."

Here's what you will say when you see this Sony OLED TV (there are only 2,000 in the world, most of them in Japan): "Oh, my."

The picture is stunning. Absolutely amazing. There are no superlatives that can do the thing justice. It's not TV. It's a window. Or a looking-glass. The clarity of the image on this new kind of television is difficult to describe, unless you've seen one.

Remember, even with existing technology, or any technology for that matter, the test of a truly great picture is tied to an idea called "contrast ratio," which is just a fancy way to say, "There...
 

Phantasy Star Offline, Xbox version goes dark in Japan

50°
351w ago - Sega is finally pulling the plug on the Xbox version of Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II in Japan.

The last day online play will be available is January 31, 2008, five years after the initial launch date. When this happens Phantasy Star Online: Blue Burst Episode IV will be the only version of original PSO that gamers in Japan can still play online.

Please note that this announcement is only for Japan. Sega has made no announcements about shutting down Xbox servers in other regions yet.
 

PlayStation Store Cards Already in the Wild!

50°
351w ago - Any of you lot spot the new PSN cards in stores yet?

Aerfox has, as he's spotted them already for sale in stores on the US Army base in Aberdeen, Maryland. Early 2008 indeed.

Aerfox notes that the $20 cards are the only ones as yet on offer, and picked one up as a Christmas present for, well, we'll just presume himself.
 
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