A Press Democrat Blog


A fun place to rot your brain

What to play this weekend (June 18-20)

With the game industry’s focus being on E3 in Los Angeles and all the games we’ll be playing into early next year, this week was a quiet one for new releases. The most intriguing options for new pickups this week are the sales going on on various digital stores and a downloadable add-on for “Mass Effect 2.”… Read More »

What to play this weekend (June 4-6)

This week’s high-profile new releases, “Alpha Protocol” and “Backbreaker,” have been getting mixed reviews, so we’re gonna switch things up a little and go with a great game that just got a price drop, two games that got downloadable content and a couple of downloadable games.… Read More »

What to play this weekend (May 21-23)

All right, there’s been a lot of good stuff in the past two weeks, so I’ll just cut to the chase. I hit a lot of the major releases here, but I’ll still mention ‘em here briefly. “Super Mario Galaxy 2″ (rated E, $50 on Wii, due out Sunday), “Red Dead Redemption” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3), “Alan Wake” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360) and “Split/Second” (rated T, $60 on Xbox 360 or PS3): I… Read More »

Lessons for Activision in Microsoft-Bungie divorce

This week’s split between Activision and the president and CEO of “Call of Duty” developer Infinity Ward is shaping up to be a classic rift between creative talent and the people who cut their paychecks are a fact of life. But for an example of a smooth gaming divorce, let’s look at the negotiated split between Bungie Studios, developer of the Xbox 360’s “Halo” games, and Microsoft, back in 2007. Microsoft bought Bungie, previously a developer of Mac games, back… Read More »

What to play this weekend (Oct. 2-4)

“Wii Fit Plus” (rated E, $20 as standalone game, $100 bundled with balance board): If you already own a balance board and are still enjoying the first “Wii Fit,” plunking down a mere $20 for the sequel seems like a no-brainer. The exercise game includes everything you’ll find on the original “Wii Fit” (meaning there’s no reason to buy the first game anymore unless you get it with a balance board for a cut-rate price). Plus, it adds several exercises… Read More »

Game ‘addiction’ further debunked

Last week, I blogged about (and The Press Democrat carried an article about) a new study that suggested children between the ages of 8 and 18 were capable of becoming addicted to video games. To briefly recap, I (and most folks who cover the game industry) found a whole mess of things wrong with the study, the most significant of which was that it was using questions designed to detect gambling addiction in adults to diagnose video game addiction in… Read More »

It’s too soon for ‘Six Days’

Despite real-world locales and arsenals, realistic first- and third-person shooters tend to shy away from too much realism. Shooters set in modern times, such as “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” or “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas,” steer clear of the headlines and revolve around fictional stories of terrorists threatening to topple unstable regimes in often unnamed third-world nations. It’s up to the player, often taking on the role of an American soldier or Marine, to clean up the mess.… Read More »