Netflix Ships & Mario Gets Art!!

Spring is here and it’s brought not only warm weather, but the realization that I still don’t get to go to PAX. Yup, yet another convention is coming and going even though I’m not there. I guess they didn’t get the memo to wait till I got there to start. I refuse to believe that they got the memo and chose to ignore it. Surely TheSpin has earned more respect than that. Nah, they didn’t get the memo; I guess I should do a better job of remembering to send these things out before E3 starts…

If you are one of my faithful followers, then there’s no way you missed the news that Netflix is coming to the Wii. Well, I have good news for the thousands of you that have been patiently waiting beside your mailbox for that little red envelope to show up, your wait is almost over. Netflix officially started shipping out disks today so yours should be coming any day now. If for some reason you forgot to register for the disk, or aren’t a member of Netflix yet, follow the link to sign up and request your streaming disk today.

Look at Mario up there gleefully skipping along with his Netflix disk in hand. He’s such a lovable little plumber. Everything about the guy just exudes happiness and joy. Even the box art that is used for his games can make you smile. I bet when Reggie and Cammie show Mario the art for the first time before each game he exclaims, “It’sa Me Box Arttt!!” I’d love to be their for such an unveiling…I’m not going to lose too much sleep over it though, I can always find the box art and post it up here for the world to admire. In fact, I think I’ll start that tradition now with the box art for Super Mario Galaxy 2. Enjoy, and stay thirsty my friends.

The Forgotten Sands Trailer!!!

I feel ridiculously exhausted right now and don’t really have the energy for our usual banter. I promise I’ll make it up to you all tomorrow. Now that I’ve given you my lame-ass excuse, let’s get right into it. One of the games that I’ve been talking a lot about lately is Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. Ubisoft has stated that the game is pushing the Wii to its limits as far as graphics are concerned. We’ve seen screens that prove that the Prince’s true sequel to Sands of Time definitely look good. Another fact that we know so far is that the Wii version is being designed from the ground up for the console to include specific gameplay mechanics; this game isn’t simply a port of the one being released for the HDC’s. The only problem has been that there hasn’t been a trailer for the game, and we’ve definitely not seen any actual gameplay of it in action. Well, the wait is over and you can sleep soundly tonight my babies. IGN has posted a trailer/developer diary for Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. The video is about 3 minutes long and looks amazing. No, it’s not on par with the HDC’s, but it still looks damned nice. If you’re the type of person that needs to see something to believe it, then you should watch the video below at least twice. Enjoy, and stay thirsty my friends.

When Mrs. Mike and I first got together I was kind of your typical 20 year-old single guy. I had a job in a restaurant that paid well and with no responsibilities other than rent, I could pretty much waste away as much as I wanted to. Then came the announcement of the PS2 and it’s Gran Turismo 3 bundle. I was so hyped over getting this, even though it was somet like $400 or another stupid amount, and she probably thought I was crazy. Especially when I actually bought it and then told my roommate at the time to stop bitching about rent money and she’d get it when I had it. Ahh, to be 20 again… Anyway, one of my favorite games for the PS2 was Dynasty Warriors 3. The chaos on screen was awesome and I loved every second of it. If you’re like me, then you should be thrilled by the news that Samurai Warriors 3 is coming exclusively to the Wii. I know that that the Warrior franchise has pretty much exhausted itself on the HDC’s, but this is Wii’s first title in the series. (Side-note: Seriously, you can’t go 3 months without hearing about a new Warrior game. I’m pretty sure Barbie Warriors 37 is about to come out for the 360…) The game will feature 2-player online & offline co-op modes as well as a fleshed out story mode. Samurai Warriors 3 has a vague release window of Fall 2010, so it can’t be that long before your screen will be filled tons of ancient asian soldiers looking to rip your face off. While you wait, check the trailer for the game below.

One of the things that comes with writing a blog as immensely popular as TheSpin is the fact that your inbox will get flooded with offers for advertising. Typically I’ll just toss these into the spam box with no thought because it just doesn’t fit. Every now and then something comes up that is a bit promising and I may pass it on to the powers that be. (Side-note: As far as you, dear reader, are concerned I am the powers that be. However, when it comes to making actual real life adult decisions for TheSpin, I’m lucky in that I don’t have to deal with that stress. I can just sit back and enjoy writing for you to enjoy reading.) Where was I? Oh, recently I got an invitation to predict the winners of the BAFTA Gaming Awards. The BAFTA’s are a British thing, I’m pretty sure, not that it really matters because games are universal. Whatever, if my predictions are spot on the site running the contest, Vouchers.co.uk, will hook me up with some nice Amazon cash to blow on games. (Side-note: The site is one of those you can go to if you’re looking for good deals from Amazon or Play.com, which is also a Brit site. This was my shameless plug for the contest holders. Sorry.) I’m in. I love contests, especially if it means I’ll win something I’d actually use. So, right down there will be my predictions for the winners. I’m also going to post an awesome video from IGN that goes a bit into Red Steel 2. You know, just for kicks. Enjoy, and stay thirsty my friends.

Best Action Game: Modern Warfare 2
Artistic Achievement: Flower
Best Game: Modern Warfare 2
Family & Social: New Super Mario Bros.
Gameplay: New Super Mario Bros.
Sports: FIFA 10
Strategy: Plants vs. Zombies

We Be NBA Jammin’!!!

I have a confession to make: I’ve read all four of the Twilight books and I kinda liked them. In fact, I kinda liked them a lot. I liked them so much in fact that I read the entire “saga” in about a week and entirely using the Kindle App for my iPod Touch. Now, there are times when I feel completely vindicated in the week-long obsession that I experienced not too long ago. You know, I can point out that, as an aspiring writer, it’s essential to read as much variety as possible. Then there’s the fact that everyone has these guilty pleasures that they try their damnedest to keep to themselves. Who doesn’t have something they love that is completely embarrassing? I mean, 658 people bought the album by that super annoying plastic-blonde chick and her trash-stache sporting husband that starred on the MTV crapfest The Hills. But then I see a blog or video made by and for other Twilight fans and I realize that 98% of them are 11-15 year old girls. Yeah, it’s during those times that I hope no one ever finds out that I’m also a fan. Which is why I’m writing about it here; it’s the only way I can get it off my chest while being sure that no one finds out about it. (Side-note: It made me sad to type that dig at TheSpin. I know there are some readers out there. Right? Surely me and Mrs. Mike aren’t the only ones who are fans of my wit…*Sigh*)

Last week I wrote about the upcoming trailer that Spike was going to debut for Wii-exclusive NBA Jam. I even posted a sort of teaser trailer courtesy of the fine folks at Kotaku. I tell you right now that teaser had nothing on the ridiculous epicness that is the full trailer. If BA Baracus kidnapped me and then had Ivan Drago threaten to punch me in the face if I couldn’t do justice to the trailer, I’m not sure I’d have it in me. I could say that I believe this game, if EA marketing does it’s job, has the potential to be a console seller. I could say that the thought of Shaq shoving Jason Kidd down to the ground, stealing the ball in the process, and then driving full court in Turbo mode before going up for a rim shattering jam only to throw an alley-opp to ‘Bron-Bron at the last second may be as life changing as Phoebe Cates was. (Side-note: I try to keep TheSpin PG-13 at the most, but any male born between like 1979 & 1983 should have an appreciation of Ms. Cates that may be severely underrated. While Samantha Micelli & Winnie Cooper were the first childhood crushes of a massive portion of the males in my generation, there’s a good chance that Linda Barrett represented another significant first…) Or, I could say that NBA Jam represents what could be the Wii’s best chance to make the HDC’s fanboys all over the world drool with envy prompting them to write angry letters to EA demanding the title be ported over. I’m fairly certain that at this point BA Baracus would say he pities the fool who’s about to get punched in the face by Drago and then he’d wink at the Russian Monster who would then crush my face while muttering, “If he dies, he dies.” So, let’s pretend that I didn’t attempt to convey how retardedly and stupidly awesome NBA Jam looks, and allow me to just show you. Enjoy, and stay thirsty my friends.

High Voltage Grinds My Heart…

I want some Girl Scout cookies, like bad. I’ve been craving some Samoas or Thin Mints for weeks now and am suffering because it’s impossible to find Girl Scouts selling them. I don’t understand why they don’t have stores selling them year round, or at least let me order them off the internet. Seriously, I’d imagine their sales would explode if they had web ordering year round. I mean, what are the positives of the way they do it now? Is there a point in making me hope some young girl knocks on my door selling some cookies? Do they really think that’s the best option? I know they love their whole “randomly set up tables in Wal-Mart parking lots” version of Russian Roulette they play with my cookie pains, but I think it may be driving me insane. The only explanation I can come up with is that the Girl Scouts is run by a Julia Child-esque old lady who’s never heard of the internet and every time someone suggest online sales she accuses them of witchcraft and then burns them at the stake. (Side-note: Okay, let’s take the whole burning at the stake bit out of that equation and you’ve got to admit, it kinda makes sense. More importantly, it’s effing hilarious to think that’s the way it is. I can just imagine the old lady getting super pissed any time some young troop leader mentions Google or anything else that came about after the year 1965 and orders them to immediately turn in all her badges and never talk about Scouts again.)

I’ve never hid the fact that as far as game developers go, High Voltage Software has the key to my heart. The Conduit is, IMO, the best FPS on Wii and could easily hold its own against most of the big boys the HDC’s could throw at it. When the company announced their four player co-op shooter The Grinder, I was here hyping it up. When the company made the announcement last month that the game was now being developed for all the next-gen consoles, I stood by them like Bonnie would for Clyde. But now I’m afraid they may have gone too far. They held a private showing of the Left 4 Dead style game showing off a level for the 360 at GDC this week. No, I wasn’t there to see it and, frankly, I’m glad of it as I’m not sure I could have contained my emotions. Apparently they have decided that since the 360 & PS3 have an exorbitant amount of FPS’ for gamers to choose from, they needed to make The Grinder a top-down shooter. I KNOW!!! Apparently all the love the company has had for the Wii has gone out the window thanks to the new girls and their shiny graphics. They don’t care about the massive amount of Wii gamers who love and respect the company and expect them to be one of the companies pushing the console to its limits. (Side-note: I’m writing this in a hair salon as I’m waiting for Mrs. Mike to get finished, so let’s blame that for the melodramatic tone this paragraph has taken on…) Look, I’m not at a point right now where I feel ill will towards High Voltage, but I am disappointed. I expected The Grinder to be an amazingly fun experience and one that is unique to the Wii. Sure, it may still be unique, but I also expected them to try their best to deliver a FPS that would be worthy of taking the crown away from The Conduit. While the company has made no statement on the Wii version of the game, I can’t imagine them developing the FPS that we deserve at the same time as the top down abomination that they showed at GDC. Even if they have chosen not to deliver the game we originally saw, it pains me to know that they’ve done so for the sake of Sony & Microsoft fanboys. You cut me High Voltage, you cut me real deep.

I don’t want to end the week on a depressing note, even if it is raining in The A and I feel like the sun is mocking me high above the clouds. Gametrailers has some footage of the monstrosity that has become of The Grinder, but since it’s running on the 360 and I’m pretty sure I’d need a rush dose of Prozac if I put it up, I’m not going to. Follow the link if you enjoy pain and suffering and heart ache. (Side-note: I’m going for an all-time high mark on the depressing post scale, FYI. We can do it!!) While the news of HVS’ possible betrayal certainly is something to be angry about, EA is here to cheer us up. Apparently Spike (the channel not Mr. Lee) is going to have some sort of major NBA Jam blowout tonight that is sure to show the game in action. Thankfully the awesome guys at Kotaku have no patience for waiting and have posted a clip that shows 10 seconds of the game in action. I’m not even sure I have the words to describe the sheer fury of epicness that these 10 seconds hold, so I’ll just let you watch for yourself. As soon as any more videos of NBA Jam show up, you can find it here. Enjoy, and stay thirsty my friends.

A Reaction to Playstation Move…

So, I was pretty sure I put this up yesterday, but I was in a flu/crappy weather induced fog and may have been imagining it. I’m not gonna treat you with one of my staple pre-news rants today, so let’s jump right in…

If you pay any attention to the world of gaming then you know that this week is the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. As with every major gaming conference, my invitation and press passes were lost in the mail. Luckily the interwebs, in all her Nobel Prize nominated glory, has my back. The biggest thing out of GDC so far is Sony’s announcement of Playstation Move, the company’s take on motion controls.

PlayStation Move VariousSee More PlayStation Move Various at IGN.com

A ton has been made about the obvious similarities between PSMove & Nintendo’s own Wiimote. Yes, the controllers do look a like. Yes, there is a nunchuck styled add-on that Sony has dubbed “the Subcontroller.” (Side-note: Nunchucks are cool and all but I’d be more afraid of a ninja who told me to hold on a second while he prepared his subcontroller than one who had me wait for him to get his nunchucks out. I mean, it sounds like something that could be easily be described as being at Defcon 4. Just sayin’…) And yes, they both are focused on party/family games despite the Kool-Aid each respective company wants us to drink. Basically, Sony realized they liked Wii flavored Skittles so decided to come out with their own flavor and call it something else. I’m sure you’re thinking that as a distinguished and well known author who focuses on the Wii that I’d be appalled by this. Hate to break it to you, but I’m not. In fact, I have high hopes that this will help, rather than hinder, both the Wii and the PS3. I’m gonna put it out there right now: Sony & Ninty will learn to play nice and may even become best friends, even if only for a bit…

I’m known more for being completely BA and a bit cynical than I am for making predictions, but I’ve got three predictions on how this will affect the Wii. (Side-note: I’m aware of the fact that my words carry a bit of weight around the internets, but neither myself nor WiiSpin feel comfortable enough putting any sort of guarantee on these predictions. In fact, let’s go ahead and say that it’s entirely possible that none of these come to fruition. However, if they do then you all need to recognize you heard it here first. Taste the rainbow son!)

1. We’re gonna see more cross platform games specializing in motion control and the number of ports is likely to explode. We already know that the previously Wii exclusive title, The Lord of the Rings: Aragon’s Quest, is being ported to the PS3 with full motion support, don’t be surprised to realize this is just the first of many games on either side to get that fancy port treatment.

2. Nintendo is going to step up it’s game when it comes to online multiplayer gaming. The amount of gamers that list MP support as their top criteria for buying a game is growing exponentially. While Sony’s PSN is not quite as fleshed out as Xbox Live, it completely rapes Nintendo’s lack of anything substantial. I highly doubt Ninty will feel the pressure to announce a Wii HD to compete with Sony, but introducing a plan to make a network that encourages online play could be the next best thing.

3. Sony & Nintendo are about to leave Microsoft in the dust. I know that MS is planning to release their own spin on motion gaming to the 360 via Project Natal, I just don’t think it’s going to have the impact they hope it will. In fact, I kinda think it will fail almost as hard as I believe the iPad is going to. Don’t sleep, MS will still be a major player in the gaming world, I just believe that PSMove & Wii are made by superior companies with a track record of releasing quality products. If you’ve ever been attacked by red rings or blue screens of death you know what I’m talking about.

Well, that was my nearly 700 word reaction to the only keynote from GDC I’ve seen so far, who knows how I’ll react if Ninty responds in a major way. I don’t think it’ll happen, but there’s still a lot more to come from San Fran, you can count on me giving you the best of what’s revealed. Since this post was extremely picture heavy, and stupidly wordy, let’s wrap it up with a brand new video from Big Boi of Outkast. Dude is ridiculous and the absence of he and Andre 3000 have left a gaping hole in the landscape that is hip-hop that will only be filled if and when the duo that put Atlanta on the map get back in the studio. Enjoy, and stay thirsty my friends.

Max & His Marker…

So, I had some friends come up a couple weeks ago for a bachelor party and one of the things we did was go to a Hawks game. After showing up like halfway through the second quarter due to poor planning, we kinda started to enjoy ourselves. That is, until the ridiculously obnoxious pack of 10 year old hyenas two rows down became almost unbearable. Ugh. I mean, is there anything more annoying than a group of 10-12 year old boys? I really don’t think there could be. If I was like terminally ill and got accepted to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, I’d wish that I could beat up an 11 year old boy. Don’t get freaked out, I don’t want to like cripple him or break his nose or do any kind of permanent damage. I’d want it to be like a videogame or something. Probably more Tekken than Mortal Kombat, even I may feel bad when I “FATALITY” an 11 year old. (Side-note: If the whole fight thing wasn’t allowed I’d wish that I could take an 11 year old to his favorite place or game or whatever and buy myself every snack, hat, jersey and anything else he’d want while I didn’t get him anything. The look on his face would be priceless!!) I’d want it to be like nothing happened to him afterwards, but he’d sure as hell remember it and that would allow me to go in peace…

Yesterday was Monday, and on Monday we get new WiiWare & VC games to download. The cream of the crop this week is Max & The Magic Marker. The game is your typical 2D platformer which stars Max as he uses his “Magic” marker to get around the world and defeat the bad guys. As you’d suspect, the Wiimote acts as the marker and everything you “draw” shows up in the game. If Max needs a bridge to get over a gap, just draw it. If Max needs a hill to roll down, just draw it. It’s that simple really. The game, and it’s developers Press Play, have received tons of awards and accolades for this innovative title, so you may want to go ahead and drop the 1000 points on this one. If you’re interested in checking out what the game looks like in motion, just look below. And, just for fun, here’s a link where you can see everything that’s new on WiiWare & the VC this week, which includes the SNES classic Final Fantasy 2. Finally, because I’m hyped over their return, I’m gonna give you the newest video from Reflection Eternal whose album is set to drop April 6. It rarely gets better than Kweli & Hi-Tek teaming up, and I can’t wait to hear the rest. Enjoy, and stay thirsty my friends.


Reflection Eternal - In This World (Official Video)

Reflection Eternal | MySpace Music Videos

Amazing Red Steel 2 Video!!!

All day long the heavens have been dumping this horrible rain/snow/slush mix all over The A. It’s almost like it can’t decide what it wants to be, or exactly how much it wants to inconvenience me. I mean, snow I can handle, and we’ve had a bit this year. Sure, I won’t be getting off early or have a day off, but at least it looks nice. Rain is about the same, only without the pretty, though it is nice to curl up on the couch and stay inside on cold, rainy days. This, though, is about unbearable. I bet the weatherman have no idea what to do since it’s snowing in parts of what they call “The Atlanta Area” and other parts are probably only getting cold rain. (Side-note: Am I the only one who lives in a metro area who doesn’t give a damn what happens in the suburbs? Seriously, I don’t even know where some of these places are, yet I have to hear about a tree falling in someone’s yard, or a sinkhole eating someone’s house. I’m watching a news station based in Atlanta, just give me Atlanta news. Let those other places handle themselves. I mean, I really don’t care what happens in Kennesaw unless it’s like they found Santa Clause and he wants to give me the winning lotto numbers…) Maybe one of the “meteorologists”, I use this term loosely because I feel like they probably got their degree from Devry “University”, will get so confused his circuits will cross and we’ll find out he’s really a robot spy sent by the Decepticons to lead the first wave of attacks.

As I’ve mentioned here a ridiculous amount of times, I am retardedly hyped over the upcoming title, Red Steel 2. The sequel to Ubisoft’s launch title flop is more than just a game; it is, in my humble opinion, a measuring stick for the future of Wii gaming. The fact that Ubi has made WiiMotion+ a necessity to play the game is a bold move that many developers are sure to follow, especially if it’s a gamble that pays off. We all know the original Red Steel was a bit terrible, but RS2 looks like it will make us completely forget its flawed namesake. Not only is the game going to be stupid fun to play, it is also looking to set a major bar for game design and graphics. Everything I’ve seen of the game I’ve loved and shared. I truly believe that when Red Steel 2 launches in a few weeks, gamers everywhere will take a step back and realize how good the Wii is, and how amazingly fun it can be to play a game that incorporates motion control in an engaging manner without feeling like a dumbed down title, or even worse, a tech-demo. If you want to get a true feel of the graphics, there’s an amazing new video which shows the process of fleshing out one of the characters, Tamiko. It’s a speed drawing that, in my opinion, is jaw-dropping. Playing at 200% speed you can see almost the full process of the developers drawing out the badass love interest in the game. I will embed it in SD, but I highly recommend you checking the video in 720p, it’s absolutely gorgeous! There’s also a fairly new video showcasing some ridiculous gameplay elements that I’ll post for you guys too. Enjoy, and stay thirsty my friends.